Sunday, August 15, 2010

Munchen Glad-to-be-bach 3: Too Much Luxury

On the morning after the wedding we again managed to make it up just in time for breakfast at the hotel. I think I wasn't feeling too bad, although there was definitely some hangover there. At around midday we left the hotel and got taxis back to Plattling - not everyone who'd been with us on the way out was heading back at the same time though. Our return train to Munich was huge - a double decker with loads of carriages - so we had plenty of space to spread out. Why they'd not put on such a train on the Friday afternoon when we'd been travelling out I don't know! This time there were no unexpected stops.

For the next couple of days in Munich we were going to be staying in the Sofitel - a very fancy hotel (if you left your shoes outside you room at night someone would take them away to be cleaned overnight!), that my girlfriend had managed to get on a cheap deal from lastminute.com and which a some other friends had also decided to stay at. It was right next to the hotel, so was easy to find when we arrived. We didn't get too much time to indulge in the luxury to start with through, as a couple of my friends had to leave for the airport that afternoon and wanted to see at least a bit of Munich before they left. We wandered into the centre of town towards the Frauenkirche (Munich's main cathedral) and found a place to have lunch next too it. Most people had the roast pork, but I decided to go for a wurst dish that sounded quite nice (as far as my translation of the menu went), although didn't realise until it turned up that the sausages were boiled in a bizarre oniony vinegarette - it was ok, but not something I'd go for again. Luckily one of my friends wasn't able to finish her pork and crackling, so I was able to clean her plate.

After lunch our two departing friends had to head back to the station, so the rest of us went back to the hotel. Getting back there we realised how tired we still were after the exertions of the wedding the day before, so managed to fall asleep for a couple of hours on the extra large and comfy bed. That evening those of us that were left met up again and headed to the Löwenbräu beer garden, which is set in a pretty park (it's pretty if you can avoid the few local alcoholics that hang out there). It was a nice evening, warm with clear skies, so we were able to sit outside for a couple of hours with a Maß or two and a flammkuchen.

The next day my girlfriend and I decided to go exploring on our own by hiring a couple of bikes. Last year during Oktoberfest I'd done a bike tour, so I basically followed the same route we'd taken in that tour. After taking a slightly convoluted route we got to the Englischer Garten and had a look to see if any surfers were about again - there weren't any. We headed up back passed the Chinesischer Turm and out the north of the gardens. We then headed along towards the Olympic Park (home of the 1972 Summer Olympics). We had lunch (I had Currywürst) at the restaurant at the base of the Olympic Tower and then went up the tower itself, which has a great view of Munich. By this time the weather wasn't great - it was overcast and had started raining lightly, so we actually didn't get that great a view (the postcards seem to suggest that on a good day you can see out to the Alps) - last time when I went up it was similar weather.

From the Olymipic park we travelled further west to the Schloss Nymphenburg, an impressive Palace with massive gardens. We briefly wandered into the gardens and had an ice cream (not that the weather had really improved to make ice cream particularly appropriate), but didn't stay long as we needed to get our bikes back and meet up with others. We headed back toward the station where we'd hired the bike, taking a brief detour through the Hirschgarten (the biggest beer garden in Munich) - last year we'd stopped here for a drink, but this time decided not too (it was very quiet anyway, and the rain didn't make it that appealing).

After returning our bikes we decided to take advantage of the spa in our hotel. It was all very fancy with a bizarre shaped swimming pool. We decided to avoid the sauna though, being as it was
in the "Nude area" and us being prudish Brits.

The evening we decided to try to complete our visiting of the four major Munich brewery pubs (Hofbräu, Augustiner, Löwenbräu and Paulaner) by going to the Paulaner bräuhaus. This place had a reasonably small beer garden (although still massive by UK standards) and was described in our guide books as being "cosy" - it wasn't what you might term cosy, i.e. small, over here, but was very nice inside. Despite speaking pretty much no English the waitress managed to tell us that we were in on the all-you-can-eat buffet night - almost everything on the menu was done in buffet form for only €12.90 (or there abouts). We all decided that was the best way to go, along with another Maß. It was all very good - roast pork, wurst goulash, beef, fish, chicken and even plenty of vegetables - but general overindulgence from the previous few days meant none of us quite made the most of all the food on offer. However if you are in Munich on a Monday night I'd very much recommend it as the place to go.

The next day was my girlfriend and my last day in Munich - our flight was about 6pm that evening - but we tried to see a bit more of the city before we left. We walked from our hotel to the River Isar, where we'd previously been to the Deutsches Museum, and crossed to the Müller'sches Volksbad - a public baths - were we had lunch in the cafe. We then walked through a park along the Isar towards the state parliament building - the Maximilianeum. From here we walked to the Friedensengel (Angel of Peace), and then headed back across the river towards our hotel. We did get caught in quite a downpour on the way back, but managed to shelter in a department store. We got back to the hotel and sadly said goodbye to the luxury to head back to our normal lives.

That was it for our trip. We had an uneventful flight back and no-ones bag got lost. It was really nice to be able to see Munich again (and not with the Oktoberfest crowds about) and of course the reason for the trip, the wedding, was fantastic. The next holiday will be to Nice next month (although, airport strike willing, we're going to another wedding in a couple of weeks time in Cork), which I'm very much looking forward to.