Tag Archives: Germany

Munich: The Best of Times, The Wurst of Times

24 Jul

If this isn’t already starting to sound familiar, I am sitting on a leather couch in my hostel, thinking about the past week.  On the bright side, all these hostels have leather couches.  On the down side, I might be getting set in my ways.  I’ve spent the last week in Munich, once again getting to know a small city slightly too well.  Most people come here for a couple days only, but I’ll leave Friday and arrived last Friday.  It’s been fun.  Overall, I’ve experienced more food and beer in quantity, and the social scene has been a little more happening.  Also, the German culture is pretty different from the culture I experienced in Brussels.  Since I’ve enjoyed Munich so much, I will begin this post writing about the bad and the goofy of Munich and then proceed to reveal what I liked most about the place.  It’s only right, right?  You’ll see.

Some of the main awkward and bad things about Munich are very strange:

  • I’ve noticed an oddly high number of single-leg amputees around here, including a dog.
  • I’ve also noticed quite a few people rocking gout ankles.  They may make up the pre-amputee crowd, but I don’t know.  Just a guess.
  • Germans are allowed to walk around with open containers and serve alcohol to 13 year olds, but no one will cross the street until the little man on the traffic light turns green.  Even if a car hasn’t passed in two whole minutes.
  • Germans will run you over with their bikes, no matter how obvious it is that you don’t know they’re coming.  (I have not been run over yet, but I’m guessing there’s some kind of 9-lives style expiration on my luck, since I’ve almost been hit about six times.)

Therefore, anyone who doesn’t want a high likelihood of having a leg amputation or getting run over by a bike…or having to wait to cross the street…should not stay in Munich for a very long time.

On the other hand, there’s something about Munich that has kept me in the city for the past five days; I could have done some day trips, but I seem to have a hard time leaving.  Now, that may be because the German language makes so little sense to me that I can’t fathom looking at a map for fear of getting a headache, but I’m not sure.  Most street names appear to sound something like Flabbergabberbundergartenstrasse.  That is slightly paralyzing.  I might have stayed here, though, because it’s kind of awesome.

Overall, Munich is a busy city with a very relaxed vibe.  I made friends with an Aussie dude from my hostel, and when we went to Munich’s English Gardens to grab a beer and stick our feet in the river, we noticed there was an alarmingly large German population lounging around like they were on vacation.  Did they have jobs?  Was it a national holiday?  We weren’t sure and never figured it out.  But if they were all employed, wouldn’t we all like to move to Munich and spend most of our time in the sun with a beer in hand?

 

People straight chilling in the English Gardens.  Don't forget a bottle opener!

People straight chilling in the English Gardens. Don’t forget a bottle opener!

We weren’t sure about Munich’s workforce in general.  When we went to Hofbrauhaus one afternoon—one of the most famous biergartens in Germany—we got beers in somewhat of a timely manner, but when we decided to get food, it took about twenty-five minutes to track down a waiter.  Most of them averted their eyes and ignored us or promised they’d be right with us before heading for the hills.  One dude seemed to only be in charge of emptying ash trays but then took another table’s order right away.  Was it because those dudes were wearing lederhosen?  I bet it was.  But we couldn’t afford those sexy pants-and-suspenders-in-one.  It wasn’t our fault.

sneak shot of a dude in lederhosen with a sick feathered hat who got served before us

sneak shot of a dude in lederhosen with a sick feathered hat who got served before us

 

Conclusion?  Move to Munich and get a job as an ash tray-emptier for four hours a day and spend the rest of your time at the English Garden drinking Helles lager and floating downstream with the current.  Over time, get very out of shape and start wearing less and less clothing to the park until one day you are old and jaded and don’t care that you’re naked and drunk all the time.  That might be the Munich way, or else I have it all wrong.

I’m not kidding about the lederhosen though.  People wear those bad boys around here like it’s totally fine.  And I would love to bring that don’t-give-a-shit-ery to the US, but I don’t know if paying two hundred dollars for embroidered suede Bermuda shorts with straps is a good idea.  Instead, I got a really long feather to put in one of my fedoras.  It’s not the same, but beggars can only choose so much.

Regarding the food of Germany: it is good.  I have eaten more here than in England and Belgium combined, possibly.  Day one, I got very drunk on a beer tour with my hostel and ate a slice of pizza that easily equaled two actual slices in real life.  Day two, I drank a lot of wheat beer and survived mainly on a big hostel breakfast.  Side note: for some reason, the Germans missed the memo about not having to dye all the hard-boiled eggs.  They are all so bright.  Why.

Day three, I ate a pretzel and the sketchiest curry wurst in Munich in addition to a plate of cured meats and cheese at Hofbrauhaus.  Day four, I kind of just drank beers and ate some dry-cured sausages from a local charcuterie store.  And then had this really dank braised pork platter at the Schneider Weisse beer hall.  Yesterday, day five, I recovered from the worst hangover of my life eating kinder eggs and pizza from across the street.  And today, I tried another version of curry wurst to try to give curry wurst one more chance.

 

bad curry wurst.  did i happen to get served someone's half-finished plate?  I couldn't row a boat across that much ketchup.

bad curry wurst. did i happen to get served someone’s half-finished plate? I couldn’t row a boat across that much ketchup.

Pizza: get in my hungover belly right meowww.

Pizza: get in my hungover belly right meowww.

The highlights of this week of feasting include dry cured sausages, the braised pork dish from Schneider Weisse, and the pizza.  Why have I eaten pizza three times in Munich, like a crazy, American heathen, you ask?  Because this pizza joint up the street may serve the best goddamn pizza I’ve ever tasted.  So much so that I went back twice in one day.  The poor dude working there told me when he got out of work, not realizing I was just back for some more of that crispy, chewy crust they had going on there.  First, I had one slice covered in vegetables.  I don’t even think it had cheese on it, and I gobbled it up like a wild animal in about two seconds flat.  Second, I got this ham and mushroom calzone and ate the whole thing.  Really, I still have a ball of pizza in my stomach, and it’s been about eighteen hours since I’ve used.  I don’t know why this place isn’t on our hostel map.  Maybe because it’s two feet away.

 

The Peasant Plate: braised pork, pork sausage, bread dumpling, roasted pork.  AKA the Jewish special.

The Peasant Plate: braised pork, pork sausage, bread dumpling, roasted pork. AKA the Jewish special.

About the curry wurst situation:  it’s not what it should be.  Curry wurst could probably be a lot more than a hot dog with too much ketchup and curry powder on it.  But it’s not.  And it’s served with this ubiquitous fucking stale role.  Why!  I so wanted it to be good, but it’s overly sweet and kind of doesn’t go as well with a pint of Helles as could a sausage with mustard or a pretzel.  It almost has a gingerbread flavor altogether, and that’s slightly awkward.

 

Stupid stale-ass role.  Stupid everything with the highest glycemix index out there.  Still beats the first curry wurst.

Stupid stale-ass role. Stupid everything with the highest glycemix index out there. Still beats the first curry wurst.

When I was eating my curry wurst today, I thought, I wish I got weisswurst instead. And then some people came and sat at my table with weisswurst.  And I was like, staring at these awkwardly pale links, wondering if it’s possible for German men to eat weisswurst without getting chills.  And then I saw a dude casually knifing the shit out of a weisswurst link, and there’s our answer.  They’re too busy thanking God it’s not curry wurst to have their mind in the gutter at all.  Pardon my unabashed review of the German sausage situation.  I appreciate their encased, emulsified meats as the art they are, in all seriousness.

As for the beer situation: I have not found the majority of the beers available here mind-boggling.  But in the way that English cask ale was tame and quaffable, so is the German lager.  Even if some of it might be more mass-produced.  The major difference is no one thinks anything of grabbing a mass (a liter glass) of Helles lager to start the night.  That is like two pints of a regular strength beer.  And although my one-mass test proved that a petite woman (albeit with a high tolerance) will be fine after a mass, it also showed strong evidence that the one mass will encourage the purchase of a second beer and then possibly two rounds of cocktails.  And then drunk pizza.  So although a mass won’t kill, it really begins the slippery slope to poor health, gout, and, ultimately, becoming a single- or double-amputee in Munich.  Just saying.

 

But you can always count on Schneider Weisse Hopfen Weisse beer for a good time :)

But you can always count on Schneider Weisse Hopfen Weisse beer for a good time 🙂

I do have one more day here, and my only real goal is to load up on kinder eggs before I leave.  Today, I walked all around and ended up sitting in a church for a good hour.  I don’t know why.  It almost got depressing, thinking that people construct such crazy, huge, ornate buildings for a cause that isn’t proven.  But it was a peaceful place and very impressive nonetheless.  When you travel alone, you get to thinking too much.

 

Very impressive building.  Good place for conjuring up dark philosophical crises.

Very impressive building. Good place for conjuring up dark philosophical crises.

The moral of this story is: if you live in Munich, you should hit up the fruit stands along the main drag to attempt improved health and avoid da betes and gout.  Also, wearing lederhosen is a lifestyle.  And even though German lagers tend to be lighter than Belgian beers, you will spend more time hungover in Germany.  It’s just how it is.  Deal with it.

 

When you say 'prost,' you better look those damn people in the eye...Otherwise you're a suspicious drinking buddy.

When you say ‘prost,’ you better look those damn people in the eye…Otherwise you’re a suspicious drinking buddy.

Prost!