So before today I had not booked any city tour guides of the sort and kind of just explored on my own, going wherever I felt was interesting to me. But in Munich we thought we would try a ‘3rd Reich Tour’ of Munich which would take us to all the significant sites and explain the history behind them.
Now this was a Sunday or Saturday I believe and there was an Orchestra giving a free public performance in the New Town Hall at Marienplatz. I would normally have loved to just go and listen to them for the afternoon but we had already committed to the tour. I have very mixed opinions; the whole time I felt quite bored with what was going on throughout the tour, yet still interested by the information and history of Munich.
For example I was intrigued to learn that the site of the Hofbrauhaus, the famous beer hall was found in 1589 and was the site of many celebrations throughout the years, eventually being used by the Nazi Party for political events and commemorations. The blue and white flags you can see painted on the ceilings of the hall below were actually to cover up what used to be swastikas.
But at the same time, I felt like going off to do other things, like go and drink a few steins and eat some pork knuckle. While in Odeonsplatz here was a live concert going on and all I wanted to do was go and enjoy the festival rather than listen to the tour guide talk about the history of the theatre there. When walking through Hofgarten there was a violinist performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, I would have loved to stop and listen but it was time for the guide to talk about the heroics of some university student’s during Hitler’s rise to power.
It’s not that I don’t think what the tour guide has to say is worthless but I feel that I enjoy much more experiencing the culture; the sights, smells and sounds of a city rather than worry about echoes of its past.
Now straight after the tour was over, it was straight to the Hofbrauhaus! You simply cannot tease beer and roast pork belly and then tell me it’s time to move on with the tour. We headed straight back, and I had the best pork belly slice in my life. I gobbled up all that sauerkraut and potato dumplings like a madman. You will also be please to know that the Apple Strudel is perfect; warm and soft yet does not fall apart, sweet but not too sweet.
The dünkel beers were also delicious and lucky for us, you can also get a pint or litre of the good stuff back in Sydney and the Bavarian Bier Cafe, an affiliate of the original Hofbrauhaus. The food and drink is not only fantastic but the atmosphere is something else entirely. The cosy beer hall is filled with the sounds of a live Oom Pah Pah band performing right in the middle of the floor. Everyone is lively, occasionally singing along and banging the tables to the beat. A classic German experience you cannot replicate anywhere else in the world. I can’t imagine what this place must be like during Oktoberfest.