Thursday we left Rothenburg and headed to Ingolstadt to visit the Audi museum. We had a fabulous lunch at their cafe (I mean really delicious!). We are headed back to Ingolstadt on Monday for the Audi factory tour so my son – an avid Audi fan – can get a behind-the-scenes look at things. He also wants to visit a school there which he hopes to attend after graduating college (he wants to design car engines for Audi…). So this is a big deal for those of you wondering why we are spending so much time in Audiland…
Munich was our next stop. We arrived late afternoon on Thurday, and after a brief snafu with the hotel (they had one room reserved instead of two), we were checked in. Before I delve into Munich, let me tell you a little about this hotel. First, it is one of Munich’s newer hotels, set a little on the outskirts of the city center, so not bad pricewise. I chose it because it looked a bit artsy and fun (oh, ok, and because it was one of our cheaper choices!). Little did I realize that the beautiful artistic wall mural featured online was actually a glass partition between the shower and the room! Not so bad for a married couple (ie. my husband and I), but not quite as exciting for our boys who are sharing a room…Other than this minor detail and some internet connection issues (and two twin beds joined as one for my husband and me), it is not a bad little place, and it is very conveniently located near both the train and bus stations.
Once the check-ins were complete we headed into the center of town for drinks at the famous Hoffbrau Biergarten, a huge beer hall filled with people (mainly tourists), lagers of beer and pretzel wenches dressed in lederhosen. Also present were handlebar-mustached men clad in German attire and an oompah band keeping the masses entertained with their jovial German music. And of course there were plenty of the US younger crowd who are of drinking age here (yet not in the US)…one of whom I was lucky enough to hear in the bathroom stall next to me after she had partaken of a bit too much of the lager. Ah, but I digress! We enjoyed our liters of beer – Dunkel (dark beer) for me – as well as a platter of various sausages served with sauerkraut and mustard, and a pretzel from one of the beer wenches.
We consulted our handy-dandy Rick Steves ‘Germany’ book for a dinner recommendation and found Jodelwirt Pub. Upstairs there is a small area to eat and drink. You can eat/drink downstairs, too, but all the good action is upstairs. They speak little to no English here, and there is an older, heavy set man playing the accordian, singing and telling jokes in German (at least everyone seemed to be laughing, so I assume he was telling jokes…). Here, we enjoyed a noodle dish with bacon that was absolutely delicious! Between the food and the entertainment, it was a very ‘Bavarian’ experience. After dinner we headed back to the hotel in the pouring rain, drenched but sated and happy.
One final note regarding Munich’s public transportation system…it seems to be more or less on the honor system. We bought a group ticket which covered the four of us on the train and bus system over a three-day period: all this for the quite economical price of 22 Euros (group rate meant we had to travel together). This gets us all over town and even to Dacchau and back(another post to come on that later…). However, not once has anyone made sure we had a ticket, and no one seems to be policing the station to make sure riders have paid. Our 3-day ticket only needed to be stamped on the first use (by machine), but no one made sure it was stamped, and there is no stile for us to pass through with our ticket to verify its validity…seems odd to me….