Munich – Schnitzel, Sauerkaut and A Stag Party

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Flughafen Munchen – Munich Airport

We spent 4 great days in Munich, out of which 1 day was spent travelling to Neuschwanstein Castle. That will be my next post. Today I am devoting it all to Munich.

We were there in June so the weather was perfect. It was breezy but not warm. We arrived in Franz Josef Airport and took the S Bahn (electric rail transport system). We purchased the Airport-City-Day-Ticket , which took us to the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) of Munich, which is near our hotel. This took 35 minutes and costs €18.80 for each of us.

S Bahn

S-Bahn München (Munich’s suburban rail), ET 423 244
Image from Wikimedia Commons, taken by Florian Schütz

I found the train trip very smooth, quiet, clean and fuss-free. Along the way, we saw a lot of low rise houses and every time the doors opened at each station, a nice breeze swept in.

Our holiday has begun.

When we reached Hauptbahnhof, we alighted and were pleasantly surprised to see that it is actually a very nice big train station, with lots of food. The train station was spectacular to us. In Singapore, we don’t have train stations anymore. Following an agreement between the governments of Singapore and Malaysia, railway operations at the 1 and only train station in Singapore ceased operations from 1 July 2011. And as much as I know, our train station did not have nearly as many tracks as this one. Munich Hauptbahnhof has 32 tracks. We see passengers buying food and walking toward their tracks.

We bought some snacks too.

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Deciding what to buy is a big problem…

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A raspberry-filled ‘tart’

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Exterior of the Hauptbahnhof

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Walking towards the hotel from the Hauptbahnhof

Armed with the information that the hotel has provided, we crossed the road and walked 15 mins to the hotel. We bought fruits from a stall for further snacking too.

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Lugging our luggage on the cobblestones all the way to the hotel was quite an experience. All we could hear was ‘tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk’. I kept on praying that the wheels would not come off from the stones on the floor. And that the locks on the luggages are secure. Imagine the horror and embarrassment if the locks broke and everything spilled out on the road on our 1st day in Germany. I can also imagine us quarrelling with each other over this, especially after a long flight like ours.

I would strongly recommend anyone going to Munich to stay at the hotel that we did.

Hotel Jedermann: Hotel garni Jedermann, Familie Jenke, Bayerstrasse 95, 80335 Muenchen
It is certainly not the fanciest hotels that we have stayed in. In fact, when I first saw it, I was a little surprised at how old it looked from the exterior. The check in was smooth and efficient. The counter staff were friendly, informative and spoke good english. The beds were also super comfortable and soft and the rooms were a decent size. I remember opening the windows in the room and feeling the cold breeze come in, as we rested after our long flight.

On our 3rd day at breakfast, I remember sharing with the waitress that we were going to Neuschwanstein on the next day and I wanted to confirm directions with her as we are not going with any tour groups/ day groups etc. She was extremely helpful and gave us the confidence that we could do it on our own. She said many tourists do it on their own and there is no reason why we could not. It might sound complicated but it is not. I have read a lot about travelling to Neuschwanstein before our trip and with her assurance, I felt sufficiently confident that we can venture there on our own. And guess what, because we had to leave for Zurich at 5am on the last day in Munich, the kitchen staff came in early to prepare breakfast just for us. We had checked out the night before and the counter staff had asked if we wanted breakfast earlier than 630am. I agreed, thinking that it could be a simple breakfast like cereals and milk or bread but we were very happy that it was like the usual breakfast spread of ham, eggs, plenty of cheese, sausages bread, jams, fruits, milk, juices etc. The kitchen staff even came out to chat with us and ask about our stay in Munich and where we were headed off to next, on our Europe holiday. When we were leaving, they even gave us paper bags to bring along some food for our train trip. I was unsure if you can eat on the trains but the kitchen ladies shared that we can.

Sometimes hotels that touch us are the ones that go the extra mile. I will always remember Hotel Jedermann for its warmth and hospitality in Munich.

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Exterior of the hotel – not very fancy but service was outstanding!

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Our room, cosy and enough for 2

Here are 2 interesting observations that I must point out:

– During our time there, one fact is evidently prominent – there are a lot of BMWs on the road! I recalled that Munich is home to BMW. Did some googling and Venere.com shares this:

The number of BMW’s on the streets is immediately obvious and is disproportionate even for a city with the wealth and prestige of Munich. Other high class German car brands are noticeably absent from Munich.

This is true – we saw A LOT OF BMWs. And not much less of other brands of cars.

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English: BMW Tower and museum, Munich, Germany
Picture by Diego Delso, on Wikimedia Commons.

– Oktoberfest actually takes place mostly in September. I realised this when I read it in flyers in Munich while they were promoting for Oktoberfest. Anyone would have ASSUMED that it takes place in October right? not September.

Here is what I remember fondly from our Munich trip

1. EATING

We ate a lot! We went to quite a few beer gardens & really enjoyed our meals there! We can drink beer by the mugs by lunchtime!

Below are pictures of what we ate at Augustiner Braustuben for dinner on our 1st night. This restaurant was very near the hotel & I had read good reviews about it so we went to try. We were famished and food was plentiful and delicious. We sat on the 2nd floor of the restaurant and the crowd was slightly quieter than the rowdy fun bunch downstairs and we were able to really kick back and start our holiday. The sausages were good and meaty and portions were big. I remembered that almost everything comes with huge ‘balls’ of meat/ flour and I found out they are actually potato dumplings. It is not as touristy as Hofbrauhaus and very homely.

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Clear soup that we had for sharing

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Half pork grilled with dark Biersoß with potato dumplings

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Half a chicken with potato salad

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My favourite sausages! And Sauerkraut!

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Wiener Schnitzel – it was very good!

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Apfelkücherl with cinnamon-sugar and whipped cream (Apple Strudel)

We also ate at Hofbrauhaus – which is the most famous beer garden in Munich. When we reached the restaurant, we immediately knew we had come to the right place. It was crowded and very lively. There were a lot of tourists and locals alike. We had a good time there too. We sat at the courtyard and as the sun set, it was beautiful. We were astounded every time the beer ladies (super strong) came by the tables, juggling 8-10 jugs of beer and balancing all of them perfectly.

On the way out, my mum blocked one of the ladies without realising and one of the beer ladies screamed and shouted at us for blocking her. We all jumped back to let her pass…

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Exterior of the restaurant

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Directly opposite the restaurant is Hard Rock Café – Love all, serve all.

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Interior of the Hofbrauhaus – look at the gorgeous murals on the ceilings

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Beautiful courtyard setting

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A fish dish that we had – I know, to order fish in this restaurant seems like a crime.

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Hofbräuhaus Kaiserschmarrn home-made and oven-fresh
glazed with raisins and sugar, with apple sauce

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The crowds at 9pm, when we left the restaurant

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I ate a lot of schnitzel, sauerkaut, bockwurst (smoked sausage), wiener sausages, crispy roasted knuckle of pork, escalope “Vienna style” & my favourite dessert in Munich – Apple Strudel.

I always have a hard time deciding which sausages to order! The only one I didnt fancy was the white kind (weisswurst)- it is made from very finely minced veal and fresh pork back bacon.

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Münchner Weißwurst, a bavarian sausage
Image from Wikimedia commons, by Rainer Z

We also drank a lot of beer. Our favourite is Radler, which is actually beer with lemonade. Very refreshing. We drank it like water!

2. Beautiful buildings

During the 2nd and 3rd day, we strolled and shopped along the busy ViktualienmarktThe Victuals Market, only a few steps from the Marienplatz (what Times Square is to New York) , is Munich’s most popular open air market. While we walked here from the hotel, we enjoyed the beautiful buildings with colorful murals on the walls. It seemed like everywhere we turned, another building made us smile with the gorgeous colors and creativity.

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The Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s top place to shop for fresh produce, dairy, bread, and Bavarian specialties. In every country that we go to, I love to go to their farmers market to look at the produce and sample their fruits and cheese. In Singapore we do not have farmers markets and even when they do have one periodically, our weather is too hot here to really enjoy the atmosphere or the food. And we do not have much farms left in our urbanised city, so not much of a farmers market to speak of either if we have them here.

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Honey wine

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Cheeses

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I wish I bought these back.

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3. Stag Party

I have saved the best for last – this is the most unusual memory that we had in Munich.

We were a little jet lagged from our trip and on the 2nd day while we were shopping in Maximilianstraße, we sat down near a building that was in the shade and took a breather. A group of Germans came up to the 4 of us and wanted to know where we were from and we found out that they were in fact, having a stag party! They were extremely friendly and interested to  know where we came from and to help the groom with his ‘assignment’ – he had to find 30 tourists to draw 30 maps of their country in his notebook before his friends can let him off the hook for the day. They were very excited to find that we were from Singapore and my mum excitedly drew the Singapore flag in his book for him.

After that he even gave my sister a kiss!

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My mother drawing the Singapore flag for the bachelor – he was very excited that we came from so far away!

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In Germany, this event is called Junggesellenabschied – I just googled this! I see. I thought it was a Harley Davidson sort of shirt… friends of the groom!

It is true what they say about Munich – With its busy shops, roaring beer halls, superb german cuisine, the vibrancy of this city and its people, it is very easy to see why it has been voted one of the most liveable cities in the world before.

Something interesting that I read about Munich from NYTimes:

– Work-life balance seems to be the city’s mantra. Make no mistake, people in this city work hard. With some of the highest apartment rents in Europe and all the shiny BMWs on the streets, they have to. But with high prices comes high quality, so it’s no surprise that Munich has one of the fastest-growing economies and lowest unemployment and violent crime rates in Germany. The city works hard to promote innovation. “This city got biotech going in Germany,” says Professor Axel Ullrich, 63, a leading international anti-cancer researcher and director of molecular biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried. The city is also home to corporate giants such as BMW, Siemens, Allianz, Microsoft, and is the center of the German film industry.

For more on my travels, go here, here and here.

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8 comments

  1. Davie Hurst · · Reply

    thank you for your post, we are going to Munich in september and I printed out your directions for Neuschwanstein-castle, I look forward to the challenge of traveling like you do.

    1. hi davie, you are most welcome! That is why i write and created this blog, to help fellow travellers. Otherwise all my research goes away. I hope you have tons of fun like we did and prepared to be in awe as you see the castle. If you like, walk up or down to the castle rather than take the horses, we ran down the roads and it was fun!

  2. Munich is about an hour to drive for me , so not to far or strange. It’s so adorable how you share your visit there and to try consider Munich through the eyes of a visitor from a different continent it’s a very interesing experience. Thank’s for sharing!

    1. You are so lucky to stay so near Munich – i love Germany.

  3. As i read the part about the stag party, i was almost sure in my mind that alicia would not be able to draw a map of Singapore. How true, when you mentioned that it was your mum who drew it in the end.. haha! 🙂

    1. Yes you are right – she asked huh, this is our flag ? haha!

  4. seriously!You can even remember how much the train tix were. Indeed a planner when it comes to holidays, making it such a joy and breeze to travel with you. Yes i love Hotel Jedermann for the super comfy bed that i didnt want to get up in the morning.

    1. Of course, wrote them down! Yes i bet you could not remember the hotel’s name right?

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