We’ve been to Munich several times, but rarely for more than a couple of days, and not often together.
This time we went with the specific intention of really being in Munich – not jumping on trains to other nearby towns, or racing from one beer destination to another in pursuit of ticks and trophies.
We began by finding accommodation in the suburbs, partly to save money, but also because the best times we’ve had on recent trips abroad have been beyond the immediate centres of cities.
The neighbourhood we ended up in was one where people live, walk their dogs, drowse on benches, smoke behind school bike sheds, and use ten-foot plastic pluckers to pick plums. The houses were post-war but conservative (Bavaria is not a hotbed of modernism) with concrete lions on their gateposts and plastic elves in their flowerbeds.
Every corner had a political poster or two: BAVARIAN PARTY – CHOOSE FREEDOM! ÖDP – YOUNG, AND FIERCELY ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS! The only AFD posters we saw in our part of town had been either torn down or vandalised, the candidates given square black moustaches with swipes of marker pens.
We drank our first beer in Munich at a pub-restaurant above the tube station, on the main road into town, as rain hammered the parasols in the empty beer garden.
Ayinger Helles isn’t from Munich, it’s from Aying, and after a twelve-hour train trip, tasted great.
The pub was somehow both a bit too posh (tablecloths and ornaments) and nothing special – limp salad, service on the SCREW YOU! end of brusque – but the beer was served with all due ceremony. The glass, a simple Willibecher, was so clean it sang at the touch of a finger, and had plenty of room for a crown of foam.
Look at the room through the beer and everything seems clearer than without. It certainly looks warmer.
A touch sweet, a touch of corn, almost watery, and yet… Yes, another, please.
After all, as everyone knows, several thin coats rather than one thick leads to a more even, consistent finish.
A good start.