Vacation Adventures: Germany

This has nothing to do with Baltimore but people keep asking where I went and what I did so here you go! I spent the last week in Germany, yay! It was my first time visiting. We spent a day in Munich and the rest of the time wandering around Bavaria in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district.

We arrived in Munich on a Sunday. FYI almost all stores in Germany are closed on Sunday. Plenty of restaurants open though, and that is really all that matters to me. A must visit in Munich is Hofbräuhaus. Hofbräuhaus was built almost 500 years ago and is the world’s most famous tavern. We went for some beer and schnitzel at 10AM; it’s never to early for beer and schnitzel in Germany.

While we enjoyed our beer and food we were pleasantly surprised to find a band setting up. We’d unknowingly visited Munich during Munich Unplugged, a citywide street music festival. So not only did we get food and beer, we also enjoyed a live big band performance.

After eating we needed to walk of some of those calories, so we wandered over to The Englische Garten, one of the largest urban parks in the world. We enjoyed seeing a wide variety of water fowl and “urban surfing”.

After walking around some more and taking in the sights, it was time to hit the road for Garmisch.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a ski town in Bavaria near the border of Germany and Austria. It was formed when the 2 towns united in 1935 in preparation for hosting the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. It’s a prominent destination for skiing and ice skating as well as hiking. The town lies near the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. Garmisch is considered the more modern section, while Partenkirchen’s cobblestone streets are a traditional Bavarian feel.

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We needed a short siesta after checking in to our resort. Upon waking up it was time for us to find some dinner. On my list of must eat places in Garmisch was Bistro Mukkefuck Café. We managed to snag a table in their beautiful outdoor terrace. Now begins my schnitzel adventure through Bavaria and Mr. Meat & Potato’s obsession with streusel. Also, they offered glasses of Prosecco with Rhubarb Puree, is this heaven?!

Our first full day in Garmisch centered around a visit to the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. But first, pastries!

“At precisely 2,962 metres above sea level, the Zugspitze is the highest mountain in the country and home to three glaciers and Germany’s highest ski resort. Right at the top, an impressive 360° panorama opens up to reveal extensive views over 400 mountain peaks in four countries.” Pretty cool! We bought tickets for the cable car which takes you all the way to the top. Once on top of the mountain there is plenty to do and see. There are shops, restaurants, and bier houses. The top is undergoing a huge renovation right now, it’s going to be an amazing destination when complete.

 

Instead of riding the cable car back to the bottom we decided to ride the train that goes through the mountain, yes, through it. And yes, I wore my Mr. Trashwheel shirt to the highest peak in Germany.

After a morning of wandering around on a mountain you need to eat a delicious lunch at Hoffmanns Bistro & Wafflehaus. This was not planned, but it was a wonderful discovery. This is when we started to learn that Germany is pretty obsessed with their Spargel, aka. asparagus. So I ordered the Asparagus Waffle which is a savory waffle with ham, fresh asparagus, bechamel, and grated Parmesan. Mr. Meat & Potatoes got the Hot Chicken and Waffle with hot roasted chicken breast, maple syrup, and Parmesan. A great view and delicious food? This place was a winner.

After a meal like that you need to do some shopping to burn off the calories. Garmisch-Partenkirchen has a large outdoor shopping area so we made our way through it looking so fun surprises and souvenirs. Needless to say, we found some odd things….

An afternoon rainstorm ended our outdoor shopping adventure. So we ran back to the resort for another nap. Naps are important to us on vacation. Our dinner this night was the one we were most looking forward to, Koch’s. Koch’s was recommended on the michelin guide, so you know it’s going to be good. It’s also the only non-bavarian cooking style restaurant we planned to visit.

We had the most amazing and attentive service. We were given delicious wine pairings with each of our dishes. We sampled unusual items like brüléed goat cheese and a candied asparagus dessert. 5 stars for sure! Our server was kind enough to write down the name of every wine we had that night so that we can (hopefully) obtain them on our own.

The following day, while Mr. Meat & Potatoes was otherwise occupied, I went on a tour with a group from our resort to Linderhof Palace. Linderhof Palace was built by Ludwig II beginning in 1869. The palace was influenced by his visits to France and filled with Baroque architecture with Rococo-style artwork. It was truly beautiful inside, but sorry, no pictures allowed!

After the castle was some shopping and lunch, more schnitzel with the addition of spaetzel! No, I did not buy the cat sign, but I wish I had. It says, “A spoiled cat lives in this house.” Also, I found some goats!

Later that day we stopped in the village of Ettal to visit the Ettal Abbey. The Ettal Abbey was completed in 1370 after forty years of construction. The baroque style church became home to Benedictine monks who are known for their distillery, brewery, and cheese production. Yes, I managed to bring some liquor and beer back to the states.

Another nap another meal. This night we decided to shake things up and dine at a Tapas Bar and Restaurant we saw during our wanderings, Alte Druckerei. They had a HUGE wine and cocktail list. Great selection too, but we decide to stick to strictly, if possible, drinking German wines on this trip. We partook of manchego, empanadas, shrimp tortillas, bacon wrapped dates, and more. The dessert was awesome! Deep fried bread pudding, churros, and rhubarb tart. Delish!

The next day I rented a bike and went on a food and wine procurement adventure. It was my first time riding a bike in 10 years and I didn’t wear the appropriate shoes. By the grace of God and Google Maps I made it to my destination, Wein Forum Welter. The shopkeeper helped me find some great German Pinot Noirs and I had fun picking out some sweet and savory treats. The rest of my day was spent in and next to the giant hot tub because riding a bike with a case of wine in tow is hard work.

Based off the recommendation from some people I made friends with during my travels we decided to see how well Germans do Italian. I wish I had taken a picture of the menu, it had more options than a Cheesecake Factory. Almost 50 different kinds of pizza and even more pasta/entrée options. It was REALLY hard to decide. So we started out with some escargot in a vodka sauce. Really good! I had the Paglia e Fieno Panna e Prosciutto, white and green noodles with cream and ham. Mr. Meat & Potatoes ordered the Filetto ai Ferri, beef fillet with herb butter. We were too stuffed for dessert that night, obviously.

The sun was still shining while we ate and it started to rain, resulting in this awesome double rainbow!

The next morning I went out with the tour group again. First we visited Wieskirche, The Pilgrimage Church of Wies. It is the home of the Scourged Saviour, which was said to have shed tears in 1738. The church was built in the 1740’s as a shrine for the pilgrimages of people who came to see the crying Jesus.

Outside of the church is a small cafe that makes awesome donuts so I had one and enjoyed the view of cows in a field and listened to the musical sounds coming from the bells around their necks.

Next adventure that day was a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle. The construction on Neuschwanstein started in 1868 and ended in 1886 when Ludwig II died. The castle was never finished but opened to the public for tours only few weeks after his death. While visiting the castle, Walt Disney was inspired to build Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Again, no pictures allowed inside but it looks plenty good from the outside too. It’s a 45 minute hike up to the castle (or you can pay 2€ for a bus) and then a ton of stairs inside.

It took me about 25 minutes to hike down from the castle and luckily our tour group had arranged for lunch at a cafe after. I cheated on my schnitzel with some cheesy spaetzel.

It took around 2 hours for us to get back to Garmisch after our tour and I cheated on my nap with the hot tub until dinner. It was rainy the afternoon but the restaurant we visited, Zum Wildschütz, was still seating people outside under giant umbrellas. We both ordered the wiener schnitzel and as you can see, we probably could have shared one plate. Another variety of streusel was enjoyed.

On our last full day in Germany we tried to fit in all the sites we had missed. We ate some delicious rhubarb pastries for breakfast and seemingly offended some cows in Ettal. They were sassy cows.

We drove up to Eibsee Lake at the base of the Zugspitze and rented a paddle boat. We floated in the middle of the lake and watched the cable cars ascend and descend the mountain. The water in the lake is beautiful and crystal clear.

We enjoyed lunch at the Eibsee Pavilion, which overlooks the lake. Mr. Meat & Potatoes diversified his order with 2 Bavarian veal sausages and a pretzel. I changed it up by ordering Schnitzel vom Kalb, which is made with veal instead of pork. It was by far my favorite version of schnitzel on this trip.

We rounded out our day with some more shopping in the open air town center. We bought a bunch of chocolate from Chocolaterie Amelie. After a day of trying to cram in everything we didn’t want to miss, we were exhausted. We took naps and pulled ourselves together for one last meal in Germany. We ventured out to Atelier Restaurant Bar. Atelier is not a Bavarian restaurant but instead focuses on European and International cuisines. We had a diverse meal of Smoked trout fillet & tartar from Graved salmon served with keta caviar and lime-ginger-dip, Beef Tartare, and Scampi grilled in the shell on wok vegetables with tandoori sauce and baked rice balls. Our meal ended with a flourish as our dessert of Crêpes Suzette was prepared for us tableside. The thin crêpes with Grand Marnier flambé and with creamy vanilla ice cream were delicious. Definitely a good way to finish our trip.

It was a great trip and a fun adventure. I can’t wait til the next time we can go back and explore other areas. My take aways from this trip? Bavaria is definitely a must visit destination and there is no such thing as too much Schnitzel.

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Oh, and God bless Wine Wings.

Until the next adventure…..

– Lindsey

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