There is no better time to write about Munich and beer than October. These are my memories from a 24 hour visit to the city five years ago.
On our way back to the USA from visiting our family in Poland, my husband Jakub and I had a scheduled layover in Munich. We arrived from Gdansk in the afternoon and checked into our impressive 5 star Kaminski Hotel, today Hilton Airport Munich, right at the airport.
Our next step was a train to Marienplaz – the heart of the city. It was a cold and rainy day. With not enough time for major sightseeing, we just wanted to experience the city by walking around, watching people, and of course eating and drinking.
It was October, but official Oktoberfest festivities were already over. We would never guess judging by what was going on the streets. Despite ugly weather, the city was in a party mood. Streets were packed with people, some of them visibly drunk, but behaving orderly.
After some basic sightseeing and brushing elbows with the crowds, we decided it was time to look for shelter inside. Our choice was Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall, one of the oldest beer halls in Germany founded in 1589 by Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V.
The inside was impressive. It was as traditional as it could be – a huge hall, huge tables, German band playing, and tons of people, many of them wearing their traditional German costumes and singing along with the band. There were pretty waitresses carrying multiple beer mugs and showing their cleavage – a poster image of a German beer hall!
The crowd was a melting pot of visitors from around the world. Everybody was your friend there. These huge tables are not designed for privacy. They are to meet strangers and have a conversation with them.
At first we were sitting with a group of students from Switzerland. They came for a weekend practically to indulge themselves with beer. They were doing a good job towards their goal. Still, they were nice and polite. They spoke three languages! Europe and its level of education – how annoying!
The real party started when the youngsters left and the next group arrived at our table – Irishmen! Irish and Polish have a lot in common and it ain’t praying the rosaries! They were about our age, friends from college living at different parts of Europe. It was their annual reunion. There were very easy to talk to and a lot of fun.
It was almost midnight when we left the hall. Sometime on vacation, it is OK to skip sightseeing and simply get a taste of your destinations. Now we know how Munich tastes like – it tastes like beer!