Thursday, 1 October 2009


Hardly begun my reports and already I've been lying to you. I promised these would be brief. Yet In my last I didn't manage to get past pub number one. Sorry. I'll try to speed up.

After my Doppelbock breakfast I was in high spirits. The minibus bumped along a country road, flat farmland to our right, misty mountains rearing suddenly to our left. The occasional onion-domed church sat lonely amongst the fields. Who could its congregation be?

We stopped at a seemingly random point. Then Andy pointed out the white fantasy castle of Neuschwannstein. It was photo opportunity time. Snaps snapped we bumbled into the village at the foot of the castle. I say village. Really it's a collection of hotels, restaurants and tack shops.

Surprisingly, this tourist hell had a fairly decent pub. The Schlossbräustüberl. Painted a jolly bright yellow, it had a very baronial interior. All stained glass and vaults. But I only saw all that on the way to the bog. We sat outside in the beer garden.

Unsurprisngly, Schlossbräustüberl sells König Ludwig Dunkel. Made at the brewery owned by a descendant of mad King Ludwig (who built Neuschwannstein). The beer garden is self service. One hatch for food, another for drinks. The bloke in charge of the booze had clearly made a bad career decision. His people skills weren't so much deficient as totally absent. Scowling and growling, he served customers with bad grace and not even perfunctory politeness.

"A Dunkles and an Obstler, please." The barman looked at me as if I'd asked for a chew on one of his testicles, but served me anyway. Which is more than he'd done for the poor Italian in front of me, whose coffee he'd poured down the sink when he dared to ask for it in a paper cup.

The Dunkles, though a bit fizzy, was still chewy fun. And went well with my pig sandwich. The Germany I love: pork and beer in perfect harmony. From my seat, both castles were in view. Showy Neuschwannstein and a garish yellow thing where the Bavarian royals actually lived. (At least that's what Andy told me. He usually knows what he's talking about.)

Andy and me were the nearest things to Germans in the beer garden. Italians and Japanese were in the majority. The latter looked somehow uneasy. What was it? Confusion or disorientation? I must go to Japan to emanate European confusion at their sights.

I stayed in the beer garden while the others did something or other vaguely cultural. I can't remember what. Mr. Grumpy was more friendly when I went for a refill. This time he only looked as if I'd stolen his wallet and shagged his wife. Given his character, he'd certainly chosen the right location to work. He'd lose his job in five minutes anywhere customers visited more than once a lifetime.

There. That wasn't too long, was it? Then again, still only one more pub covered. Still five more to go just on day one. But don't worry too much. My recollections of the latter part of the day are very vague. I doubt I'll be able to drag more than a paragraph out of events after 5 pm.

Alpseestrasse 24,


Mike said...

Ron, you're one of my beer & travel inspirations! Great post. I just got back from a European Pub Crawl with my wife, and your blog and pub/brewery guide were indispensable. I documented it on the blog below with various forms of media.

-Mike in Chicago

Ron Pattinson said...

Mike, glad to hear my guides were useful.

I see you like Augustiner in Salzburg as much as I do. It's been far too long since I was last there.