Most intense building ever: The Rathaus

The weekend was here, the sky was a crisp blue…what better to do than go check out the birthplace of Oktoberfest? Munich! Katja, Daniel and I packed into the car and hopped on the Autobahn. Now let me just take one sentence or two to discuss this amazing feat of German engineers. The autobahn is by far the coolest highway traveling experience ever. We were buzzing along at 160 km (100mph) and it was perfectly legal! I couldn’t get over that. And it wasn’t like we were the only ones driving that way, many of our neighboring motorists were as well. And the amazing thing about German highways was, if you’re coming up on someone putzing along in the left lane, they won’t hesitate to get over, they move right away. It’s not like in the USA where if you’re cruising along at 80mph and come up behind ‘Joe-slow’ who’s too stubborn to move even if he’s got a trail of frustrated fellow motorists behind him. Of course, Daniel and Katja didn’t think anything of their speed, but I was in the backseat reveling in it!

Autobahn! Ja Mann!

We parked about 15 minutes outside of Munich as the city is very expensive to park in. But not to worry, thanks to the smooth operating machine that is the German rail system, we hopped on an U-bahn that took us directly to the Marienplatz, right in the heart of Munich. Exiting the U-bahn, we walked upstairs, but not on actual stairs, on an escalator (I was still in awe of Germany’s public transportation system, it was just brilliant). When we got to ground level, we were looking up at a massive, towering, Gothic building. I flashed back to the Munich chapter in my travel guide, that had to be the Rathaus I assumed…I was right.

Looking up at the Rathaus

The building definitely had presence, that’s for sure. You could not walk around the city of Munich and not be in awe of its grandiosity.  Built in the 1800’s, the Rathaus serves as Munich’s government building. There’s a restaurant in the basement called the Ratskeller and a few businesses inside. I couldn’t get enough of this building, it was just an amazing, architectural feat. It had me from hello.

Me inside the Rathaus courtyard...

Me, Katja & Daniel: Rathaus courtyard

After wallowing in the splendor of the Rathaus, me, Katja and Daniel began checking out the city, on foot of course. What better way to experience a city right? There was strong influence of Munich’s reputation as a beer manufacturing giant of Germany. Every beer distributor has their own brauhaus(beer house) as well as a restaurant where you can sit down, have a meal, and of course savor one of their house beers. One of my favorite German beers, Spaten, and their brauhaus is pictured below…

Spatenbrau. Jaaaaa!

Munich was not lacking for beer gardens, they were everywhere. And I really admired how people sat outside sipping their beer in 50 degree (but partly sunny) weather. The Germans liked to be outside, at whatever opportunity.

Bier garten

Walking around Munich for a few hours, I decided it was time for a much needed beer break instead of my usual coffee break, I mean, I was in Munich, I had to sample my favorite German beers right here in the city where they’re manufactured! We came upon the Franziskaner restaurant, I was jumping for joy. Although a lover of many German brews, this one took the hot seat for my tastebuds. Runner up being Tucher hefeweizen. We checked the place out. Typical German style, lots of wood, dim lights, wall sconces, warm and cozy inside. The place was busy with an interesting mix of clientele, businessmen, teenagers, families, young women. The food was pricey, being that we were in the heart of Munich I expected that much, so we just opted for some Franziskaner hefeweizens. Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaa 🙂

Ah, my precious Franziskaner in a signature Franziskaner weizen glass!

Me and Katja’s tastebuds were happy. See pic below for proof…

Lecker!

Daniel and Katja…

Daniel & Katja

After basking in some hefeweizen delight, we headed over to the most infamous of Munich brew houses, the Hofbrauhaus.

Hofbrauhaus

The Hofbrauhaus has had a popular seat in Bavarian history for quite some time. It was founded in the  late 15th century by the Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V., who claimed it as the royal brewery of Munich’s residenz. Hitler and his socialist cronies utilized the beer hall in the 1920’s as a meeting place to talk politics up in the Festsaaal (festival room) on the third floor. While living as an exile in Munich in the period before World War I, Vladimir Lenin became a famous visitor, frequenting the beer hall with his wife.

The Hofbrauhaus is the most celebrated beer hall in Munich, and also the most sought after. Locals and tourists alike associate the Hofbrauhaus with Oktoberfest.

Inside the Hofbrauhaus

Me & Katja inside Hofbrauhaus

The interior of the Hofbrauhaus features ceiling and wall murals and the loud, boisterous chatter of friends enjoying a beer. There’s also a live band playing Bavarian folk music. Although I was visiting off- Oktoberfest season, many men were dressed in traditional Bavarian Oktoberfest garb, complete with the suspenders, lederhosen and hat. I loved it! The place was packed with people, so we didn’t stay long, but I snapped a few pics along the way…

Hofbrauhaus beer mugs...

Munich beer steins. Sehr teuer (very expensive)! €59,00 or $85.00!

All over Munich, you could see how much the city played up its reputation as beer capital of the world. Everywhere, in storefronts, on street corners, there were gift shops galore, reaching out to the tourist traffic, selling everything from beer mugs and steins, postcards and traditional men and women’s Oktoberfest garb…

Dirndls!

Walking around the city, I snapped some of my favorite photos…

Restaurant outdoor seating

Katja, Daniel and I headed back to the Marienplatz to catch the U-bahn back to the train station where we parked. I thoroughly enjoyed Munich, a beautiful city full of history, culture and beer. Lots of beer. Although we walked quite a bit through the city, I feel like there was still so much more to discover. Not to worry, those to-do’s would be added to my Munich bucket list for the next visit.

Having reached the Marienplatz, we rode the escalator downstairs to the U-bahn.

Hello, U-bahn!

On the busy train home…

Me & Daniel...

Daniel & Katja...

Gute nacht, Munich.

Nightfall in Munich

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