Munich, they know how to give you some Christmas markets

Last week started the personal quest to see some of the best Christmas markets, oh and see if I can follow the schedule I made up to.  First on the list was München (Munich).  Like so many of my friends, we love going to Munich.  It is a truly an international city, which as I found out knows how to do some Weihnachtsmarkts (Christmas Markets).

Going to check out this market was an idea by John, he mentioned it to me and our friend Anna.  He told us they have a lot scattered through the city, along with a gay one called Pink Christmas.  We were totally excited, I mean its Munich, who doesn’t love Munich, then you mention Christmas markets and a gay one, you know its going to be a good time.

The plan was to leave on Friday, maybe see a few things that night, do up the town Saturday, with a nice brunch Sunday, and finish by seeing some more, then come back in the early evening.  I was ready for this trip, we all talked it up, however I learned a very good lesson.  I need to stop being a slow ass.  I won’t go into the long story about how I missed my train to Munich with John, Mike, Anna, and Adam, but I learned that I need to always always run for a train.  In any case, I did make it to Munich, just not with group.   I had to buy a new ticket, on a slower train, that didn’t have plugs nearby.  By having to take that train, I did also run into the other people I invited on the trip.  Funny thing about running into them, that was the only time I saw them the entire trip.  I still need to find out what happened there.  I know it has to be a good story there.

With all of that done, the markets are the big story in it all.  It was a four man and a lady mission to see the sights and sounds.  Oh and probably eat, drink, and be merry.  Can you say Gluhwein?

The Marienplatz Market

The main market is in the Marienplatz.  This makes sense because this is the main street.  When you come to Munich, everyone has to go here, its almost a rule of thumb.  I’ve been to Munich three times in the last six months, been there every time.  One thing that is always interesting to me are the Christmas trees.  Every market in every city has a big tree.  I mean in our neighborhood, we have a big tree outside of our house.  Here in the Marienplatz you can buy ornaments, candles, clothing, various pottery (pictures below), along with some good food to buy as well.  They actually sell a fruit cake there that’s not your crappy American style.  You know the one, no one ever wants, but you get it for Christmas every year from someone.  We walked through it fairly quickly that day.  It was early in the day, but it was packed for sure.  Even though it wasn’t the best weather at all.  This doesn’t ever matter because Germans will be out for sure.

The Mittelaltermarkt (Medieval market)

Seeing a Medieval market is always a great time.  I love seeing the people in their period outfits.  Apparently Adam has multiple medieval outfits.  I think I’ve seen some pictures that confirm this.  What do you find here?  Well, you can get some pretty solid jewelry, real medieval clothing, do you want some weaponry to truly get medieval on that ass?  You can find it there.  Do you want some pork, then go find a nicely roasted pig on the spit?  Maybe fish is your thing, well, they are smoking various fish.  When I go to these things, I really just want to eat, like everything.  At these things, they sell Met (sounds like mead).  Its a honey wine, if you can stand some whiskey, then get a little of that, probably don’t really need it, the flavor is perfect on its own.  I am completely amazed to see the awesome food fire ovens, I am a bread lover, when I see these things, then see bread, I feel like I’m in heaven.

Pink Christmas

When John told us that Munich had a gay Christmas market, you have to go and see it for the pure intrigue of it.  It’s located in the Glockenbachviertel which is a trendy area in Munich, that is known to some as being the gay district.  It has a lot of shops, restaurants, and bars.  Pink when we first got there wasn’t impressive, but it did pickup for sure.  According to their site, yes they have a website, they do cabaret shows, and a lot of other events.  The night I got there, they just had a DJ.  Now Pink wasn’t the greatest thing in the world.  A friend of mine that went to it later the next week, said it was lame.  I thought it was a cool concept, pink Christmas trees, cool clothes, you can get some awesome items, John got some cool postcards, along with a few lanyards, rainbow colored of course.  Not to mention Anna got some pretty nice earmuffs.  I did meet two cool girls, who came out and hung out with us for the night, the one girl had a really cool boyfriend, who came out later.

I won’t go through all of the other markets.  Even though I only really had two or three more, but real quick we also went and saw the manger scene they have setup by Odeonsplatz, where they also have a Christmas market setup there.  You’ll hit the market first, then see the manger scene.  Now Germans do things really well, but they also odd things.  You’ll see in the video I’ll be putting up.  We also hit the English Gardens on Sunday after having brunch.  The English Gardens is also somewhere you have to go to.  Its nice during the summer, cold in the winter, but the crowd there on a Sunday isn’t surprising since the market was nice.  A lot of different items that I hadn’t seen at the other locations.  Nice little ornaments, interesting clothing for various things, and toys.

In doing the walk through the rest of the garden, I was introduced into just plain wildness.  As you can see below, that is a guy surfing in the rive stream thing they have there.  According to John this is normal.  They do in the winter.  I know I’m not a big swimmer, OK, I can’t swim well at all, but I would never do this.  Its the wintertime, the water is pretty much who knows how cold.

Munich was fun and it always is.  With this weekend down, if you are following my schedule from my last post, then you know what I have coming next.  Its not the warmest time of the year, but when you are living where I am, you know you can always find a good time.

Pictures from the trip

Less than 24hrs in Bamberg with a side of Smoked Bier

Over the Columbus Day weekend I decided to do something different.  That thing for me was to take a Friday off, which gave me a four day weekend.  I didn’t know where I wanted to go, I just knew it had to be a nice place, where I hadn’t been before, oh and it needed to have decent weather.  In October that’s asking a lot.

The first location was Basel in Switzerland, the second was Bamberg in Southeast Germany, in the state of Bavaria.  Not only would you find Bamberg, but Munich as well in this region of Germany.

The trip to Bamberg was spurred on by the fact that our friend Chris preparing to move back to the Michigan, so our friend John suggested Bamberg.  What’s in Bamberg you may wonder.  That’s simple, Rauchbier (smoked beer), along with other things.  If you ever wondered if it was possible to get a beer with a smoky flavor, the answer is yes.  In Bamberg you can get Rauchbier at a lot of different places.  They have multiple breweries, so the bier will be different, the atmosphere will be solid, and you will have some fun.

Drinking wasn’t the only thing to do.  Bamberg has a lovely area of shopping, the marktplatz (marketplace), which allows you to see great sites.  Like the shot I took as you are walking over the bridge towards the marktplatz.

I also ran into something I hadn’t ever seen before.  Locks on the wires as you walk across the bridge.  I had a friend tell me later that couples who are getting married put them on there.  I had never seen it before.  It was pretty interesting.

It was made more interesting listening to John come up with random stories on how the couples met that put the locks on there.  I could buy some of what he was saying.  I mean how in the world are we really supposed to know.

To get to Bamberg train is the best method.  In our case it was four of us that took a regional bahn train, on Deutsche Bahn.  It is about a 3 hour train ride, which cost about €10.  A very cheap ticket because Deutsche Bahn has the happy traveler ticket.  Probably one of the coolest things to use.

The ride to Bamberg allows you to see the beautiful country side of Germany.  Something I don’t think you ever really get to see in America.  This along with wondering at each and every station stop, “Where are we exactly?”

The time there wasn’t long enough, but it was a good trip.  We ran into four guys who were visiting from the states, oddly enough one of them was from Michigan.  I was wearing my Tigers hat, and for some reason John, who is also from Michigan to, Chris and I were talking either Tigers or Lions, so the guy overheard us.  It still amazes me the number or people from Michigan that I’ve met here.

If you are looking for a weekend or even a easy Saturday trip, Bamberg is the place to go.  I’ve included a link below that lists the various breweries in town.  I have to say you should try out the Brauerei Spezial as your first stop.  You will feel a little odd because when we walked in you are in a place with older Germans, but as I’ve come to figure out, no matter where you go, they are going to look at you weird, but that’s Germany.

Check out the rest of the pictures of the trip below.  Have a great week ahead!

The Bamberg Trip

List of Bamberg Breweries