The end of the trip is upon us!
We left Bad Tölz in two shifts – I took the early group and Vonia followed an hour later. MB finally bought that dirndl she always wanted and it was due back from alteration at 9 AM, so part of the group had to wait. Meanwhile, I took several of the guys back to Munich on the BOB. We exited at Harras and grabbed the U3/U6 direct to Goetheplatz – nice and easy. After dropping our things at Hotel Herzog, we were on our mission: To retrieve George’s cellphone he lost last Saturday night at Paulaner’s Starkbierfest.
We took the subway one stop to Sendlinger Tor and caught the tram headed to Ostfriedhof – a short walk from Paulaner am Nockherberg. It was shortly before 11 when we arrived and people were already lining up for the festival. We went into the main restaurant and grabbed a table near the bar. I spotted the restaurant manager and asked him about the cell phone. He said he would look into it and to relax and have a beer. Good advice.
We started with a round of Weissbier and some pretzels. Paulaner am Nockherberg burned down several years ago and the new incaration is modern, yet still some how traditional. Big copper beer vats are behind the bar area and the wood colors range from blond to a red-ish brown. Last summer, I spent several great hours here with Stuart and he was amazed at the way the barman handled his trade. The glasses were washed and cooled to the correct temperature and stacked very neatly with the labels all facing the same way. Everytime he filled in order, he was careful to check the glass temperature, match the glass with the beer style, and he took care to turn the Paulaner label towards the guest when he placed the beer in front of the customer.
One beer quickly turned into two and it was taking a long time to track down this phone. I enlisted our waiter for help and another manager turned up to tell us that the Lost & Found was closed until Monday. I informed him we were flying home before then and he ran off to see if anything could be done. He returned to tell that, indeed, the office was open and we should go upstairs. Well, not so fast…we needed an escort because the access was closed due to the festival. The waiter talked to a security guy who radioed ahead and we were met at the door. At first, the guy in the lost and found said there were no phones in that office and we should go to a different office. Happily another guy interceded and the phones we located. They had two like George’s – the first was not it. but the second was in fact the missing phone. George was thrilled that he recovered his phone and we returned to our table triumphantly.
We walked down the staircase across from the restaurant and past the brewery on our left. At Maria Hilfer Platz, we ran to catch the 58 bus direct to Marienplatz. This transit system is awesome!We met up with the rest of our group at Vonia’s favorite restaurant, Zum Spoeckmeier. Several of us wanted to have one last Wiener Schnitzel before leaving Bavaria (we even seriously contemplated taking the train to Steffi’s!). Since Spöckmeier has its own butcher on site, the meat there is always very good. Almost everyone got the Schnitzel and it was awesome!
After lunch, a few of the gang returned to the hotel for a nap – can you believe that?
The rest of us went in search of a beer garden. We first tried the one at Viktualienmark, but it was packed. Der Pschorr was also filled and we contemplated our plan of action – Hofbräu was deemed too shady, Chinese Tower was deemed too far. Hofbräukeller might not be open…Augustiner Keller? Our favorite beer and worth the chance they might not yet be open for the season. We walked to Sendlinger Tor – I gave George a quick peek in the Asam Kirche and then we caught Tram 17 to Hopfenstasse.
As we approached the Augustiner Keller we were glad to see a lot of people heading the same way. The beer garden wasn’t really open, but they did have some tables set up and they were pouring beer and serving small snacks. We grabbed a table over near the small hill – formerly the hangman’s gallows and currently the kid’s playground. We sat in the sun and ordered a Mass – it was a beautiful afternoon!
After finishing our Mass, we went back to Hotel Herzog, retrieved our things and
went to our rooms to change for the festival. About an hour later, we all met in the lobby and most of us were wearing our Tracht.We took for Stiglmaierplatz and emerged on the street in front of the Löwenbräukeller. Triue to his word, Karl the butcher was waiting for us with 5 others from Böbing. Frey’s were on their wan, Dan from Seattle was expected to join us and Chris was bringing two of his local friends.
We entered the Festsaal and were pleased with our table location – we were on the main floor, but in the rear of the room. Many of us decided last year that being right in front of the band can be a tough way to spend the whole evening.
We ordered our beer and then our food while a traditional om-pah band played. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many good friends at such a party. After a few hours, the Party band, Barfuss, came out on stage and the place really started rocking. We were all up on the chairs jamming to the Fliegerlied, Cowboys and Indians, and even Que Sera Sera. Jersey Bill manager to acquire a Bavarian Flag and we all took turns posing for photos and having fun with it.The fun wrapped up at midnight and we made our way back to the subway and, eventually the hotel.
Thankfully Vonia had all my stuff packed for the trip home. I had some coffee downstairs, rousted George out of bed, and the two of us took a taxi to the Hauptbahnhof to leave our things in a locker. After that, we zipped down to Marienplatz and into the Weisses Brauhaus. Sure enough, our friends were there and we occupied to tables right next to the Stammtisch. Eventually, the rest of our gang trickled in and soon we were drinking that great Schneider Weiss beer and eating Weisswurst. We had some great stories to tell and many laughs were shared. Simone also passed out our new Stammgast cards for us regulars.
George and I left at Noon and I was able to let him watch 15 minutes of the Glockenspiel before we went back to the train station. We jumped on the Lufthansa bus, checked in for our flight and then visited the airport Brewry – Airbräu.
I can’t wait to return to Munich again – who’s in?