Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last Trip

We've had a little technical difficulty with our blog here on But now we're up and running again just in time to show you our last trip in Germany.  So, here it is.

Well, it's come to this. Our last trip in Europe during our stay in Germany. Where to go?  That's pretty easy for Jeff and I, our favorite city in all of Europe, Munich!!  Yes, we've been there plenty of times before over the last couple years; just to be there, to pick up a new car, to be a part of a number of different beer festivals, with friends, with family and by ourselves.  Every trip to Munich since we first visited the city in 1984 has been wonderful and that's what we got on this, our last trip.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

We're in Mannheim after the train from Kaiserslautern.  There's our train, the ICE 515, the high speed train to Munich. 

We're on board sitting in 1st class right behind the train's engineer; Jeff and I in a compartment of eight seats, all by ourselves. When you're on a train going over a hundred miles an hour what's the one thing that can make it even better?  A beer!!

Along the way to Munich we made stops in Stuttgart, Ulm and Augsburg.  Each stop was very quick and efficient, only 3-5 minutes.  Here's the weather we saw all day; very steady flurries.  Obviously, we're in Ulm.

From the train station here's an image to Ulm Minster which has the highest steeple in the entire world, 530 feet.  Another interesting fact about Ulm, the home town of Albert Einstein.

A video of our train to Munich.

See, these things go faster than the 100 mph mentioned in the video above.  This is about 125 mph.  Later we were going even much faster.

After we arrived in Munich we immediatly got on the S-8 S-Bahn that would take us out into the Bavarian countryside southwest of the city.  The last stop on the S-8 is Herrsching, a short taxi ride to the village of Andechs where we spent the night.

In all of Germany and Europe, this is one of our favorite hotels. the Hotel zur Post Garni in Andechs.

Our room was on the top floor and a self-contained apartment with kitchenette complete with dishes and utensils.

The other side of our apartment/room at zur Post in Andechs.

Out nest is built at the hotel and we're on our way to Kloster Andechs, one of our favorite places in Germany.

After a short, beautiful walk through the village of Andechs, there it is on the "holy mountain," Kloster Andechs.

Oh yeah, it's snowing outside and we're inside the warm, welcoming environ of the Kloster Andechs brauhaus.  Here's Jeff with two Kloster Andechs Doppelbock Dunkels; world's best beer.

Gotta have a BAB, Big Ass Brezel, too.

Now it's time for the main meal, Schwein Haxen!!!

The ultimate meal, Schwein Haxen, German potato salad with a liter of Kloster Andechs Doppelbock Dunkle.

Above one of the tables in the Kloster Andechs brauhaus is this sign claiming this to be a Stammtisch, a local's table.  This one, however, is only reserved for locals on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (Mi + Sa + Su) after 6PM (ab 18 uhr).  Gotta have a picture of Ludwig II to make it official.

Outside it was a winter wonderland, amazingly beautiful.  Prost!!

Back inside the warm and inviting Kloster Andechs brauhaus.  It's a long, narrow room that comes alive as the night wears on.

The heart of the Kloster Ancechs brauhaus.  Pay for your beer on the right, pick it up fresh poured on the left.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Next morning we're on our way back into Munich. It snowed all night and continued into the morning. This is from our hotel room.

Back in Herrsching, we're waiting for the train back into Munich.  Here's a typical German mailman's delivery bicycle.  These bikes aren't just something used in the quaint villages of Bavaria.  They're used by the German postal service across the country; big cities, towns and villages.

As you can see by this clock outside the Herrsching train station, in this part of Bavaria, Kloster Andechs is king.

We're checked into our Munich hotel so it's time.  Yes, the Hofbräuhaus!!

There's no place else in the world like it, the Hofbräuhaus.  Beautiful!!

Oh yeah!!

The band's unique tip mug at the Hofbräuhaus.

Now those are happy people!!

Heaven on earth.

OK, we can't spend our entire time in Munich in the Hofbräuhaus so we're on the move.  Here's a few scenes of wintry Munich.  The two domes of the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Dear Lady) and the tower of the new Rathaus (city hall) which houses the famous Munich Glockenspiel.

The maypole in the Viktualienmarkt.  Although the market was up and running the beer garden was not.  Beer wimps!

A closer image of the tower of the new Rathaus.  In front is the Mariensäule (Marian Column) erected in 1638 to give thanks for the withdrawal of Swedish forces.  What the hell were the Swedes doing down here?

We've taken this picture almost every time we've visited Munich; Jeff and the wild boar statue in front of the Hunter and Fisherman's Museum.

It is a Fisherman's Museum too so we might as well get a picture with the BAC, Big Ass Catfish.

So here's our destination after leaving the Hofbräuhaus.  If you've read our blogs or know your beers you might guess where we are.  The JW is part of the logo for one of Munich's favorite beers.

It's Augustiner.  The JW is for Joseph Wagner who purchased the brewery around 1880.  We're in the Augustiner Großgaststätte, another great beer hall in Munich.  Who would have guessed.

Jeff and I at the Augustiner Großgaststätte.

Some snobby folks think that these beer halls in Munich are too touristy but, really, that's a big part of the fun.  This is our new friend Len from South Africa.  We spent a great hour and a half with Len and his wife and two adult kids.  Great conversation!!

Walking back to the hotel through the beautiful snow covered Kaufingerstraße, one of Munich's main shopping streets that opens onto the Marienplatz.

Winter night in the Marienplatz and the new Rathaus.  You can see the famous Glockenspiel in the tower.

It's the end of another great day in Munich. We're back at our hotel, the Torbrau, right next to the Munich's medieval gate, the Isartor.
Saturday, 19 January 2013
Next morning we're taking a walk through the English Garden in Munich.  It's the largest city park in the world.  On that island is the Japanese Teahouse and garden.

The Monopteros, built in 1836, sits atop a favorite sledding hill in the English Garden.
 Beautiful scene in Munich's English Garden.

Me and the Monopteros in Munich's English Garden.

The Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) which is surrounded by a 7000 seat beer garden.  Not much beer sold here today but it was available.  The Chinese Tower was originally built in 1790 but was destroyed by fire in 1941 after an Allied bombing raid.  The present Chinese Tower was reconstructed in 1952.

After a beautiful walk through the wintry English Garden, what better place than the old standby to warm up.  Yeah, the Hofbräuhaus.  As you can see at the lower right, established in 1589.

Pretty big, and a very good, band playing at the Hofbräuhaus this day.

Awww, the perfect thing for cold lips.

The best Stammtisch (locals table) sign in the Hofbräuhaus.

The Hofbräuhaus kitchen.  It's an amazing and big operation.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

We're visiting the Deutsches Museum in Munich, just a short walk from our hotel.  It's the largest science and technology museum in the world.
The Deutches Museum actually sits on an island in the Isar River which is referred to as museum island. 

The main tower and entrance to Munich's Deutsches Museum.
There are some 50 areas of science and technology on display in the Deutsches Museum such as astronomy, bridge building, electricity, mining,  tunneling and much, much more.  But, our interest was the aerospace wing which includes everything from kites to gliders to planes to jets and on into to space travel.  I think that by far this is the most popular section in the entire museum.  Here on the first floor, in the ship/sailing section you can look above into the aerospace part of the museum.
I don't remember what type of airplane this is but it's an original, early 1900's German plane.  It was built to very closely match the shape of a bird.  Towards the back of the fuselage, not surprisingly, is a beer advertisement.
Although there were some replicas in the museum most of the planes on display were orginals such as this Wright Flyer and the Fokker Dr.I triplane.
This was a pretty cool display.  I sat at the controls of an airliner and all my inputs from the rudder pedals and yolk moved this model plane appropriately.
An impressive Fokker Trimmotor.  These planes were built in the 20's and 30's and used commercially and by the Germany military.  We've seen one of these more than once flying around Germany.
Germany's premier fighter plane in WW II, the Messerschmitt Bf 109.  Germany built almost 43,000 109's during WW II.

On the floor is the very first operational jet fighter, Germany's Me 262 Swallow.  The Me 262 appeared toward the end of WWII and was much feared by Allied pilots.  Hanging from the ceiling is the Me 163 Komet, a rocket powered fighter plane.  The Komet was an interesting plane, powerd by peroxide like rocket fuel.  It had a tendancy to blow up on takeoff.
A quirky German attempt to build a vertical takeoff and landing fighter, the VJ-101 experimental jet.  It's got jet engines at the end of each stubby wing.  The engines rotate to achieve the vertical takeoff and hover capability.  In addition, it was supersonic.  It never went into production though.

 Museum done.  Time for lunch.  How convenient, just  a short walk away is the Hofbräuhaus.  This is one of our favorite tables near the front entrance, although it was a bit chilly this day when the big entry doors were opened.  This table is fun to sit at and watch people walk into the Hofbräuhaus for the first time.  They almost always have a universal expression of WOW and a big smile.
Besides the location of the table we like to see this Texas A&M logo that our daughter Megan, Class of 2007, and her husband carved into the table top in December 2010.  Gig 'Em!
 This is an awesome picture of the Hofbräuhaus taken from our table where we spent the rest of the evening.  The band and the high vaulted ceilings put the Hofbräuhaus into a wonderful perspective.

Here's one of the Munich locals, the type that some folks say never go to the Hofbräuhaus.  I think on every visit we've made to the Hofbräuhaus during the last couple years, this gentleman was there.  He and his group of local friends.

As you can tell from this video, music played in German beer halls is not Polka.  It's German beer-drinking-let's-have-fun music.  And, that's what the Hofbräuhaus is, lots and lots of fun.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Time to get back and so the next morning we hopped on the train and after a relaxing four hours we're almost back to our German home and only days aways from returning to the U.S. and our Texas home.

Regretfully, that's it.  The next few days were spent out processing from Ramstein Air Base, packing up, tying up loose ends and saying good-bye to the great friends we'd made over the last couple years.  What wonderful experiences we've had and fantastic places we've visited.  We hope you've enjoyed our travels, gotten ideas for your own adventures and learned something along the way too.  Thanks for all the comments we've received from friends, family and folks around the Internet.  It's been so much fun doing this blog and share our memories with you and so, for one last time, PROST!!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Life goes on. We've just arrived back in Texas. Some chips, guacamole, queso and margaritas will help sooth the European separation anxiety.  But we can hardly wait to get back.  So for now, we're Rowdy In Texas.  Bye Ya'll!!