Munich’s city centre comes alive at night, especially this time of year, as everyone starts preparations for Christmas. Each street is lit with Christmas lights in a different motif, and the whole atmosphere takes on a lovely golden quality. Street vendors sell warm nuts of various kinds, and the streets smell of cinnamon.
One evening, after a full day of city exploring, AN and I wanted some traditional German food and asked a woman at our hotel, who recommended the Augustiner Keller. Boy, did we get traditional. It was a 6-minute walk from our hotel – the woman was very specific (and very correct). When we arrived, very few of the host staff spoke English, so we kept getting passed along to different people. Until finally, a clearly harried woman said something to us in German and pointed emphatically. So we went where she pointed. Her point led to a spiral staircase that took us down and down and down… into a beer hall. The host staff down here did speak English, and they put us at a table that had been reserved for 6 but seats 8. So we made new friends.
Beer hall seating is bench seating, so it’s all very cozy. The female servers wore dirndls and all bustled around, looking stressed. The male servers just kept passing out giant beers (the standard size is a liter). AN ordered a pork knuckle, the local specialty. I ordered Munich schnitzel because I wanted to compare it to the Viennese schnitzel of which I’m so fond (verdict: Munich has mustard and horseradish in theirs). On the whole, it was a wonderful experience. I was only disappointed the drinking hadn’t gotten to the drinking songs stage yet at that time of night.
Title quote: Rachel Johnson