Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Munich x 3

This was our 3rd time visiting Munich.  Twice to take in their Christmas markets and once at the start of Biergarten season (May). 

Here are some of our observations this time around:
  • Increased numbers of people (especially young adults) smoking -- Disturbing considering all we know.
  • Road rage from Audi drivers!  Not sure what is going on there.  Normal vehicular experience is quite quiet due to the type of cars on the road (mostly luxury sedans vs scooters and small cylinder vehicles in say, Paris or Rome) so honking really stands out.
  • Increased numbers of beggars -- Non German.
  • We found it overall to be busier than last year.
  • Popular street food trends this year include the crepe and flatbreads with various toppings.  We stuck with the traditional German selections such as Reiberdatschi, lebkuchen, spatzle, knodel, schupfnudeln, leberkase etc. etc.  We were surprised to see a plethora of places offering Currywurst as well.
  • Noticed prices have gone up slightly compared to last year.  Each snack/item/alcoholic drink costs in the 4 - 5 Euro range this year.  A plate/entrée (still talking street food portions here) will be in the 8 - 10 Euro range.  Small bottle of water 2 Euro+ depending on where you are.  And you won't find people drinking water either, which is totally opposite from Canada.
  • We continued to stand out amongst everyone else because we shared dishes and drinks.  People just don't do that.  I can't imagine eating or drinking one of everything on my own as there is just too much food to choose from and to do so would mean gaining many pounds.  Considering how many hours of walking we did each day, I still managed to gain a pound. 
  • It took us a couple of days of visiting and tasting various markets treats to develop a list of favourites (and about 3 days before we were thinking in basic German -- pretty pathetic, I know).  I can't imagine being there for 2 weeks.  Just too much food!  Temptation is everywhere!  I think 4 - 5 days is the ideal length of time to hit all the highlights and to go nuts trying everything. 
  • From a food allergy perspective, this was my best trip.  No nasal congestion or itchy eyes post wheat/egg/sugar/dairy exposure as I didn't hold back.  Just noticed a drop in energy.  I will take it as a sign I am healing.  Good thing as we will be spending New Years in France (last minute bonus trip courtesy of sheer luck with finding decent flights and Skymiles).
  • Did you know their Ice Tea is sparkling?
  • Few things help complete a meal laden with meat (mostly pork) better than a skewer of dark chocolate covered strawberries.  D really took to the chocolate covered grapes (yuck -- not for me).  Tasted so refreshing.  I also enjoyed the dark chocolate covered hazel and macadamia nuts.  Most people walked around snacking on candied nuts of one sort or another.
  • If you enjoy looking at and buying beautifully displayed gourmet food, head to Dalmayr -- Simply gorgeous store.  Reminded us of the food floor at KaDeWe in Berlin.
  • If you like riding style leather boots, you will find a lot to chose from -- Won't come cheap.
  • We loved how if you order a fresh waffle with chocolate, one side is actually dipped in a chocolate that dries/hardens so when the cherries and whipped cream is added on top, it prevents the warm waffle from becoming soggy in a hurry -- So Smart!
  • It still hasn't failed to surprise us just how quiet the Munich airport is.  It is literally almost silent.  People are so respectful.  Love it!
  • Speaking of airports, AMS and MUC are offering real food for "good" prices.  Airports are notorious for bad quality food at high prices.  I actually had an organic hamburger made fresh with salad and fries for 10 Euro in Amsterdam!  Usually I am paying 17 Euro for about 8 pieces of sorry looking sashimi and a bad green tea or 6 Euro for a small freshly squeezed fruit juice.  That was just earlier this year too.  And in MUC, you can get a plate of leberkase, potato salad and a Weissbier for 10 Euro!
  • Another point about European airports -- WiFi has improved in AMS and MUC.  If you do not have a data plan for outside of your home country, be cautious as roaming fees can be exorbitant.  Check with your provider as to how to disable roaming on your phone.  Case at point -- My new android phone uses more data than my old BB.  I was able to email D from Hawaii over the 2 weeks I was there and incurred only about a $4 charge (no package).  In Sept, when I was in Bar Harbor, I noticed a "R" by the bandwidth strength sign up top but not before getting charged for roaming -- $7.03 for 2.34 MB (think I just managed to receive 2 emails and was starting to check the weather)!  My new phone needs to be in flight mode as well as disabling the data while roaming and mobile data settings in order to be able to use WiFi without roaming.  Found this out in AMS after a few minutes of surfing...We'll see if I'm dinged anything shortly.  I had time to burn as we got there 1 hour ahead of schedule (due to high winds).  Add to it our usual 1 hr 40 min layover between flights and 1 hour subsequent delay as the winds were wrecking havoc for other planes. 
  • Starbucks is serving up an Orange Mocha coffee this season in Europe...Too sweet for me but I had to try.
  • We discovered a really fun store -- Manufactum.  There is this toy horse I wanted for myself --  Video below. (Turn your sound on)
  • Should you find yourself with extra stomach room and energy to burn after regular market hours, head to Tollwood as the fun there goes till 1 am daily.
  • I'm going to take this opportunity to Wish You All a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!!! May your lives continue to be better than you imagined.


  1. One of my closest friends is German and they are the same at home. Nothing is shared, really nothing. Its very odd.
    The beggars I would are Eastern European. There is a lot more free movement between EU countries than the 'rich' countries can absorb, just at the moment.
    The smoking I think maybe indicates an in door smoking ban. Suddenly everyone is out on the streets. That is the case here. I don't like it at all but I think now it is lessening/

    1. Smart, smart Lizze! I hadn't come up with an indoor smoking ban. We've had that for so many years in Canada, I think I just assumed it has already happened.

      The first time people looked at us when we were sharing food, we thought maybe it was just a coincidence but after 3 visits and your experience, it makes sense. I wonder if it is an independence thing or a germ thing? It is so natural for us to share here. When we order different desserts etc. we'd try each others' out. I'd be drunk if I had to finish my own gluhwein!.

  2. I actually have an old one of those ramp walkers from the 1930s. But mine is an elephant, not a horse. It's a nice conversation piece.

    1. I am too embarrassed to admit how many times that horse went down the ramp...The video was from my 2nd visit to the store... To my defense, I believe I did help sell a number of them because that clop-clopping sound is contagious! Plus the weight of it is great -- Handmade with maple wood.

      They do have a blue elephant version of the toy. It has a small block of wood on a string that is attached to the snout so when hung over the edge of a table, it can walk horizontally. If I had kids, they'd be getting them for Christmas and would probably end up having to fight me off in order to get to play with them!