Friday started with a rather splendid breakfast in the dining room of the Marc Munchen hotel. Again, the relaxed German approach to things meant that we were not asked for a room number but simply wandered in and started filling our boots. After several huge platters, Simon balanced the scales with a restorative green ‘health’ shot of dubious origin, which apparently also tasted of dubious origin.
My Passepar-two didn’t seem excited by a return trip to the golf. He claimed he wanted to experience the cultural side of the city, but I knew that he was really worried about bumping into his new best friend Igor, the Serbian drug trafficker and surreptitious armpit stroker.
So I planned a tour around the finer sights of Munich, starting with the renowned Victualienmarkt. Simon was unimpressed so I got him a stein and we eased into the morning in the market’s Biergarten which was already doing a roaring trade.
The good people of Munich like to eat. And drink. Often early in the day and persistently thereafter. Breakfast of a stein (litre) of lager and pork knuckle is followed by midmorning snack of a stein of lager and giant doughy pretzel, and then lunch of a stein of lager and platter of sausages and dumplings. This process then repeats on a loop until about midnight, when things quieten down before resuming at about 8am.
Extraordinarily, they have a healthy rotundness to them but without the British pear-shaped obesity. Perhaps sitting on wooden benches helps engage the core muscles? I’m using this flimsy evidence to once again support my theory that my body shape is governed solely by my genetic heritage.
The Germans don’t seem to do care homes where the old decay in front of daytime TV in stuffy dayrooms. They are out in the fresh air, looking at life unfolding anew around them, smiling at children, chatting with strangers, and of course drinking steins of lager at 11am that their gnarled hands handle with familiar ease.
The country also doesn’t seem to do litter, or flies, or pigeons. Everything is, unsurprisingly, efficiently run and spotlessly clean. I’m sad to report that the whole scene really did put our own country to shame.
But we couldn’t stay in a Biergarten all day could we (could we?) so I suggested a cultural diversion to the Bier & Oktoberfest Museum. I’m not normally one for museums, and this one reinforced why. Four euros to look at some old maps and ceramic steins – really? The best bit was a selection of photos from previous festivals, which contained more life than the rest of the place put together.
We opted for a late lunch in the Paulaner im Tal Biergarten, attracted by the life-size pig statue and a recommendation from the guy who had just fleeced us out of eight euros at the museum, and lovely it was too. Simon went for the trough of sausages and I chose the slices of cow with potatoes and onions.
Simon likes to flex his intellectual inferiority by pedantically challenging his friends on their pronunciation. My “mischievous” and “cadavers” copped some flack, although I can’t now remember in what context they were used.
Our afternoon then became a heroic journalistic quest for the perfect Biergarten. Simon befriended a tour guide who gave us the inside story, both of his suggestions being beyond the old town and more touristy zone, so we started by S-bahning and walking to the Augustiner-Keller near Hackerbrucke. The vast scale of the place was something to behold, but if anything dissipated the atmosphere somewhat, so we went further west in search of outdoor drinking nirvana.
The Königlicher Hirschgarten was not easy to find but appeared from behind some trees in a pretty park like some Narnia oasis. There were literally thousands of people in a biergarten that represented almost perfectly a cross section of the demographic – grandparents mingled with groups of men and women, couples, and families with young children.
There were no bouncers on the entrance. No ID checks when buying beer. No tickets barriers for the trains that guided us safely and smoothly there and back. No car parks. No cars really. No litter. And significantly not one hint of trouble. As beautiful summer evening seeped seamlessly into night, we stumbled back through quiet suburbs, marvelling at the simple pleasures of life.
On returning to Marc Munchen we saw that the hotel opposite had its bar in full-swing, and decided that our brilliant investigative work deserved a nightcap. It was then that we encountered our only bouncers of the trip. The exchange went something like this:
“Are you staying here?” one enquired.
“Yes.” I declared confidently.
“Could I see your room key?”
Hmmmm, a tough one that, and a question that could only be answered by a pantomime patting down of my pockets followed by a hospital pass to my dear friend.
“Simon, do you have our room key?”
Simon did his best to perform a similar but subtley different pantomime patting down of pockets routine before the bouncers took pity and cut to the chase.
“You are not staying here, are you?”
And with that the game was up and Day 2 drew to a close.
To be continued…..