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Published: February 16th 2008
This is where the Nazi's had their first meeting, but we just had beer...
On the train from Switzerland to Munich we passed through the edge of Austria and made a stop so we both jumped out to say we've been to Austria. We arrived in Munich to find they were finishing off the Fasching festival. It's a bit like a massive fancy dress party that goes on for 6 weeks.
Since we hadn't made it for Oktoberfest we thought we'd have our own Beer Hall crawl and see the main sights along the way. Our first beer hall stop was the Braunauer Hof which must have been an old person's venue as the average age was about 60. From there we walked through Viktuallenmarkt which was the centre of the festivities and packed full of people dressed up in crazy costumes and having a few brews (or champagne straight from the bottle). It was cranking well before noon. Hofbrauhaus was our next stop and this is one of the more famous ones. Mick got one of the standard 1L beers and we both got some solid German grub for lunch. We had to sit in the ballroom on the 3rd floor due to the crowds but this was the place where
It wasn't very nice
the first large meeting of the National Socialists (Nazis) was held in 1920.
After a few more sights and buildings including the twin domed church that is Munich's symbol, we visited the Seehaus beer garden which has a great spot on a lake in the gardens north of the main centre. We then trekked out to the site of the infamous 1972 Olympics which is a pretty busy and well used place considering how long ago the games were. Our final beer stop was the Lowenbrau. On our second day in Munich we went out to the site of the annual Oktoberfest celebrations which is just an empty block at the moment but you could imagine what a large party it would become.
On our way north we spent a night in the lovely little town of Bamberg. It was pretty much untouched during the war so looks like a little medieval village in spots. Our host told us to visit the Wirtshaus zum Schlenkerla pub that is a local legend. It is famous for it's Rauchbier which is quite nice despite smelling like smoked ham. The next day we walked the cobblestone streets looking at
Bamberg Town Hall
It sits on an island in the middle of the river
the lovely old buildings like the impressive Dom (cathedral), which is the burial site of Pope Clemens II the only pope buried north of the Alps, and the decorative town hall. Another highlight, of course, was Michaelsberg, a former monastery and now and old person's home. That afternoon, we caught the train to Dresden in the former East Germany.
In many ways Dresden is almost the opposite of Bamberg. It was heavily bombed in WWII and most of it's old buildings were destroyed. It was one of the major cities in East Germany and most of the buildings were built in that boring GDR style. The best building in the city is the Frauenkirche which was destroyed in 1945 and left as a war memorial until after reunification when they restored it from the rubble. Nearby we enjoyed a nice view on the promenade along the Elbe river called the 'Balcony of Europe'. We stayed in the Neustadt suburb over the river from the main city that is full of bars, cafes and live music venues. Germany's lower living costs have been a welcome change after Switzerland and we've been able to eat and drink well without
Frauenkirche in Dresden
Rebuilt from the rubble only a few years ago
breaking the budget.
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