The year was 2000. B. J. and I were on our second European tour. The countries and territories included in this extensive tour were Germany, Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Count Dracula’s hangout, Transylvania. (Yes, Transylvania is a real place.)
We were in Munich for a couple of days. A bus tour carried us around the city while our astute English-speaking German tour guide pointed out and lectured on many of the historic sites. Then he dropped us off downtown for an extended guided walking tour conducted by another leader.
Munich is the capital city of Bavaria (Germany). Within the city limits, Munich has a population of more than 1.3 million, making it the third most populous city in Germany.
We walked to the site of the unsuccessful attempt by Adolf Hitler to start an insurrection in Germany against the Weimar Republic. On Nov. 8, 1923, Hitler and his men pushed their way into a right-wing political meeting in a Munich beer hall and obtained agreement that the leaders there should join in carrying the “revolution” to Berlin. The next day, some 3,000 Nazis marched toward the Marienplatz but were met by police gunfire. Hitler was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison for treason; he served only eight months, time he spent writing Mein Kampf.
Also included in our walking tour was the house with the balcony where Hitler stood to observe the big troop parades when he visited Munich.
Not far outside the city was the German extermination camp Dachau. We did not go to Dachau because it was closed the days we were in Munich. Several sites of the destruction of WW 2 have been deliberately left to remind the people of the terrible devastation brought on Germany by WW 2. Otherwise, Munich, Germany is a lovely city with distinct Alpine architecture.
We had walked up a humongous appetite. Germans love to eat. Munich is notorious for its eateries—many of which are on the big sidewalks. Some reports say that there are around 1500 restaurants in Munich. Some of the restaurants go by such names as: Rusticana Inh Eist Jutta, Nymphenburger Hof, Dallmayr, Wirtshaus in der Au, and La Brasserie. Our tour guide told us that the La Brasserie was good for romance and real special occasions and would probably not be suitable for church groups.
We followed our affable and informed German leader along the comely sidewalk. (B. J. kept wondering when we were going to get to go into some of the attractive shops.) Nonetheless, our escort kept us moving along.
Finally, we turned a corner and Klatt, our conductor, pointed to a large imposing three-story edifice on the corner across the street. “There,” he said with a chuckle, “Is where we will do lunch; that is the world famous Hofbrauhaus.” Noting that Adolf Hitler often dined here, he proudly assured us that we would be treated to exciting Bavarian entertainment including music and a lavish lunch. The three-story structure was wall-to-wall restaurant and could accommodate 3,000 people at one time.
We were greeted by a tall, slender, handsome host who spoke passable English with a heavy German accent. Smiling, he escorted us through the crowded café to some long tables, ever so brightly decorated, that had been reserved for us. We were provided menus. Our menus were in English (if you could pronounce the German/English names). They had a long list of interesting salads such as a large plate of mixed salad served with luke-warm potato dressing, roasted corn kernels and crispy bacon bits, and the Munich sausage salad.
Then there were the Hofbrauhaus specialties: Roast pork from Bavarian production with cracklings in natural gravy served with a grated potato dumpling; suckling pig roasted crisp, in natural gravy with a grated potato dumpling; crispy roasted knuckle of pork in natural gravy with a grated potato dumpling; cream ragout, made of Bavarian veal with fresh mushrooms and spaetzie; half a Bavarian style roast chicken with homemade potato salad; calf’s lung with a bread dumpling, ad infinitum.
I guess they gave us the menu for our reading amusement because shortly they were loading our table with piles of the fare. We could feast to our hearts content on a wide variety of foods and if we didn’t see what we wanted on the table, all we had to do was call a waiter and ask for it.
While we dined, there was dancing and music by a big brass band to keep us delightfully entertained.
After dinner, we returned to our fabulous hotel in downtown Munich to refresh.
Later that afternoon, we were on our own to browse and shop till we dropped. B. J. liked that. “Just don’t get us lost,” she cautioned me.