Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Munich & Austria - Part 2 of 5

Today was our first full day in Munich. Luckily our apartment was in town, so we didn't have to travel very far to get to our first destination.

Our first stop was Nymphenburg Palace (included on our discount card).


The palace was pretty comparable to other palaces we've been in. A bunch of fancy-pants paintings & furniture.

My favorite part of the complex was outside. There were several out buildings to check out, and the gardens were wonderful (not *quite* as spectacular as Versailles, but nothing to sneeze at).

We didn’t have a lot of extra time, but we were able to check out a couple of the other buildings. First stop was the queen’s hunting lodge. She would stand on the roof of her lodge, and servants would walk out into the surrounding brush to scare up a mess of birds for her to shoot. Unpleasant. I did like the fact that the inside of the palace wasn’t trimmed in gold, but silver. I’d never seen silver work like that before. She also had a whole row of dog houses built into the walls inside of the cottage, for her hunting dogs.

Our next stop was the bath house. It was smaller than it looks in the picture, and really, the bath wasn’t *that* huge, either. But, I’d still take it.

Our last stop at the Nymphenburg complex was the former royal stables, which is now the carriage museum. And, oh good googly-moogly, you HAVE to go there if you’re in the area. Even if you think you don’t care about the other stuff at Nymphenburg (which would be sad), you have to go see the carriages if you’re ever in Munich. They were so much bigger than I thought they would be, and so much more ornate. The detail was crazy (why would you carve tiny baby faces on the spokes of massive carriage wheels, though?).

After we were all palace’d out, it was time to head to Dachau. It’s really not a place to get excited about, but it’s a place that everyone needs to see. Josh and I did Dachau last year (which you can read about here). However, last year we didn’t have time to watch the video or visit the museum. So, that’s what we did this time.

The museum was good, although it was mostly reading. The video was unpleasant, and definitely not for children. I'm glad we were able to see everything we missed the last time. Twice is definitely enough, though, and I don't really want to go again (unless, of course, we ever have family come visit & they want to check it out - which I will urge them to do).

After Dachau, it was time for a drink! Everyone ends up needing a glass of alcohol after visiting a place like that.

One of our favorite German beers is Erdinger. Luckily, Erdinger has one of the highest rated brewery tours! And, the town of Erding is only 25 minutes from Dachau, and Munich. I made reservations for us, but unfortunately, we were the only English speakers signed up - so we had to do a German tour. But, this was #1 on Josh's to-do list, so we decided to go for it anyway. For €9, we got a 3 hour tour that ended MUCH better than Gilligan's (please forgive me for such a corny joke - remember, I'm on meds for bronchitis).

Unfortunately, we had a problem actually getting to the Erdinger factory. I planned to give us 45 minutes to drive there. However, we got stuck behind the slowest tractor in the history of tractors. But, we made it to the town of Erding, and still had 10 minutes before our tour started. As we're driving into town, things just don't look right. How can a brewery be inside of a small town like this? Whatevs, trust the GPS. Finally, we see it! A three story building with "Erdinger" flags hanging all around. Unfortunately, we had to park several blocks away. But, whatever, we were here! We power-walked to the building, and went inside.

Crap. It was the Erdinger restaurant & hotel. Definitely not the brewery. Apparently I grabbed the wrong Erdinger address. The waitress gave us the correct address, and we walked back to the car, totally defeated. The tour was supposed to be starting right at that moment. But, we decided to drive to the brewery anyway, just to see if we could still make it.

Josh drove a little too fast to get there, but we were still 10 minutes late. I got kicked out of the car (well, I slow-rolled out of the moving car) to run up to the customer service building, while Josh and the cousins tried to find parking.

And MAN, were we lucky!! The beginning of the tour is a 20 minute video - that's all we missed! And, in between the time we had made reservations for the tour (two weeks beforehand) and now, enough people had signed up for the English tour, so that's what we got to go on! We all ended up being kind of glad we missed the video anyway - we all felt like we got as much information as we could have from the guide, and a video wouldn't have added much.

So, even though I did a typically Courtney fuck-up, all was well with the world again.

And, I gotta say - the Erdinger tour is FANTASTIC!! The next time we go to Munich, we will definitely do the Erdinger tour again.

The factory was highly automated, and it totally seemed like an adult version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

Awwwww, look how happy Josh is. :)

After the guided tour of the factory came the best part. Samples!! These are not your Sam’s Club samples. Included in the price of the tour (€9) is unlimited beers, pretzels, and sausages. Erdinger brews 9 different beers, and the “sample” sizes are either 0.33L or 0.5L. Did I mention you could have unlimited amounts? And maaaaan are unlimited pretzels awesome with unlimited beer. Josh didn’t really like the sausage (it was the weird, white, squishy sausage), but he didn’t care. He achieved beer Nirvana.

Interesting factoid - the nonalcoholic beer is drunk as a sports drink. It has all of the nutrients your body needs after a big workout. Tasted like absolute piss, though. Ick.
But, everything else was gooood. You MUST go to the factory tour if you’re in the area.

Once the tour was over (ours started at 6pm and ended at 9pm), it was time to go back to the apartment. The next day was our last day in Munich before heading over to Austria, so we had to get stuff somewhat packed up and ready to go. It was another great nights sleep, though.

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