Friday, January 2, 2009

What to do in Munich for an afternoon

What to do in Munich for an afternoon
Story and photos(C) 2009 by Christopher J Davies

Darcy and I had the good fortune of staying a day in Munich on our return from a cruise of Eastern Europe. Since our connecting flight to Denver was early morning, we decided to stay close to the airport. To our delight we found the 5-Star, Kempinski Hotel Airport München on line. Cost was $200 USD on The hotel is located in the middle of both terminals, making it extremely convenient. After picking up our luggage, we had a short 5-minute walk from the terminal through an outdoor courtyard to the hotel.

The Kempinski Hotel Airport features unique and modern architecture from Helmut Jahn. Its stunningly soaring glass roof and grand atrium lobby provides a friendly welcome for the dreary traveler. The staff is friendly and expedient. The rooms are well appointed with modern bathrooms, comfortable bedding and desk areas. The pool and spa were exceptional and included with the room rate.

The Hotel has two restaurants, Charles Lindberg, which showcases buffet service. Our favorite was Restaurant Safran, a gourmet Thai/Mediterranean restaurant with an emphasis on Seafood.


Munich’s Town Center is located only 35 minutes away by train from the Airport. It is an enchanted, bustling city with many retail shops and outdoor markets.

Hofbräuhaus- a must stop for lunch!
If you are looking to experience authentic German food and beer, the Hofbräuhaus is a must visit. An institution for more than 100 years, it’s building was not spared from the wrath’s of WWII. This historic beer hall was quickly rebuilt back to the way it was erected in 1897.

HB is massive, with a capacity for up to 1,300 guests. And when we arrived for lunch the halls were jammed packed with locals many of which were retired gentlemen gathering with longtime friends. Many old timers keep their mugs in the coveted status symbolic HBH lockers. And when the uniformed, Heidi like waitresses brings their next beer a simple hash mark is drawn on their coaster. In the distance a 5-piece band plays traditional Ompah pah pah music, setting a load & up beet ambiance for the entire beer hall.

When in Rome they say do as the Roman’s do. But when in Munich, you better drink the beer! HB offers Dark Beer, Original, Münchner Weisse, Radler - light beer with lemonade, Dark Radler - dark beer with lemonade and Ruß'n - white beer with lemonade. Prices range from 3.65 to 7.30E for a 1 L mug. My favorite was the Radler with Lemon!

Wines by the glass ranged from 3.10 to 4.10 E. Wines by the bottle range from 14.90 to 20.00 E. Germany stables such as Silvaner & Riesling are offered in addition to surprising International selections from Italy and France.

For lunch we tried several HB specialties.

•Beef Bouillon with a Large Homemade Liver Dumpling € 3,80.
I am a liver lover, but this was colossal in size and could sink a U Boat! The soup and liver combo was awesome. But I think this would be much more practical if you can share it amongst several people.

•Bread Basket (2 pretzels, 1 roll, 1 slice of bread)
The Pretzels are big and soft, served steaming fresh from the oven. € 2,20

•Original HB sausage platter with Viennese & pork sausages
and grilled sausage with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes € 7,60.
Germany is a sausage lover’s paradise. And this combo platter provides a great representation of Germany’s popular sausage types.

Escalope "Vienna" style from pork loin with home-made potato salad € 8,10
A traditional German dish done to perfection.

After eating this typical heavy German lunch we were stuffed. While we did not try the desserts, but we did take notice!

•Ice Cream Cup - 3 scoops of ice cream with fruit sauce and whipped cream € 3,50
•Apple Strudel from the HB bakery
with vanilla sauce and whipped cream € 3,90
•Munich “Dampfnudel“ (sweet yeast dumpling)
home-made with vanilla sauce € 3,50
•Bavarian Cream
with marinated wild berries € 3,90

Hofbräuhaus am Platzl Platzl 9, München Tel. 49 89 221676 Website:

After enjoying the beers and food, it was time to work off our meal and explore the city by foot. The blocks within Munich’s City Center are jam packed with retail shops and outdoor markets. We found several stores with Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks ranging in price from 150-1500 €.

There were a great amount of butchers and meat stores, each with their front windows jutting with hanging meats. Cooking accessory stores and appliance stores also populated just about every block. Let’s me believe that Germany is almost as passionate about food as France!

At the outdoor markets we discovered typical Farmers Market settings with local farmers displaying their seasonal fresh produce. Happily there were no special signs identifying Organic produce. My guess is that everything was organic anyway.

We found a unique spice vendor selling pre-packed supplies of popular and rare, hard to find spices. Several well-stocked cheese vendors displayed more than one hundred different cheeses cut to order. We were also elated to see vendors merchandising valued-priced (5 Euro) French wines in wooden bins carefully positioned in the customer’s line of site. Wine as an impulse item…what a concept! .

And since we were visiting in November, we could not miss checking out Germany’s famous Christmas Markets. Germany draws quite a bit of international shoppers during the pre-Christmas season. Munich’s Christmas vendors have a lot to offer. Handmade tree ornaments and decorations from Germany can provide an everlasting memory of your visit!

There are many Museums and attractions to explore in Munich. The city hosts many festivals during the year. The biggest is Munich Oktoberfest, September 19 to October 4, 2009.

For more visit the official website of the Munich Tourist Office.

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