The final day dawns with me feeling a little shaky. That's what you get for drinking litres. A leisurely breakfast helps. And a lie down until 5 minutes before checkout. Checked out, I leave my bag and head in the direction of the Viktualienmarkt.
Just like in Salzburg, there's lots of tempting meaty stuff. I ignore it. My mission is simple: get some nice bread for Dolores.
"What do you want me to bring back from Germany, darling?"
In many ways she's the perfect wife.
I buy half loaf of a rusticy brown round thing. It's quite big. A whole one would have been the size of a wagon wheel. And I mean the wooden things wagons roll on, not the chocolate biscuit.
I'd considered hitting a few more beer gardens today. The persistent rain has ruled that out. Looks like I'll be inside most of the day. It's still quite early, so I wander up and down Munich's main shopping drag a bit. I nip into the Hugendubel book shop on Marienplatz. You never know. They might have a beer book I've not seen before.
I try the two most likely sections to find one. First, the shelves devoted to books about Munich. There is a book about the Oktoberfest I don't have. But it doesn't look like it contains anything of much use to me. Next I try the cooking department. There is a section devoted to beer. It has all of four books in it. Two are dedicated to homebrewing. One of the others is the German translation of a book I contributed to. It's weird seeing my words converted into German. Yet another disappointing visit to a German book shop. I don't know why I bother.
A chemist has an unusual display in its window. One that's fascinating and creepy in about equal measures. A glass jar full of leeches. The way they move makes my skin crawl. I'm glad there are two layers of glass between me and the little monsters. I'm sure they're eyeing me up, imagining sinking their teeth into my lilly-white flesh. You wouldn't want my blood lads. You'd be pissed for a month.
Augustiner Großgaststätte. Not been in there yet. And it's open. I'm soon sitting with a Dunkles in front of me. I've not had an Augustiner Dunkles for ages. Because it's always either Helles of Edelstoff that's served Bayerischer Anstich. It's sweetish and malty in a throwing itself down my neck sort of way. A real Lager Dark Mild. Or is the correct term Dark Lager Mild?
There's something else I realise I've not had yet. Weisswurst. One of my favourite sausages. This could be my last chance to get some. I order a pair with potato salad. The sausages are pretty good. The potato salad is too acidic and mustardy for my taste. Dolores's is much better.
Not yet noon, but there are plenty of customers. British and American tourists. An old German couple who eat and drink beer in silence. A young German couple who get litres of Weissbier and feed each other with a touchingly innocent intimacy. Hang on. What's that I see in the corridor?
I was surprised by the number of Arab women in town. Some fully veiled and covered. Others not far off. Three in the latter category are sitting in the corridor drinking tea. What an odd sight, in this palace of pork and beer.
Bayerischer Donisl. Let's give it a try. It's on the way to Nürnberger Bratwurstglöckl, anyway. I sit down and order a Dunkles without even looking at the menu. I only check it after the waitress has gone. That's when I notice two things: the high prices and what their only dark beer is. It's Salvator.
Looking around, I remember why I've not been here in ages. The interior is weirdly cramped, walking a line between blandly kitsch and kitschily bland. Around me are mostly Italian tourists eating sausagey saurkrauty stuff. I don't linger. As soon as my stickily sweet Salvator is finished, I fuck off.
Nürnberger Bratwurstglöckl. The weather has improved enough for me to sit outside. It's much more pleasant here. A dirndled waitress soon has me supplied with a glass of Augustiner Helles. Fresh, soft, deeply satisfying. Here's a beer that wants to be drunk. And I'm not going to go against its wishes.
I'm starting to feel peckish again. There's a sausage-shaped hole opening up in my stomach. Best fill it. Nürnberger Bratwurst seems the obvious choice. I get a few pairs with potato salad. They really do the bratwurst properly here. There's a wood-fired grill at the back. The sausages are delightfully smoky. I wish I'd ordered more.
The clock is ticking. Not long until my flight. Bag retrieved from my hotel, there's just enough time to drop by Weisses Bräuhaus for a Schneider Eisbock. I can't leave Munich without having one. Almost time to catch the S-Bahn. That's it for another year.
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Of Blutwurst and Brewmaster - My Generations I wrote over two years ago of the 1944 beer tasting at the Waldorf-Astoria of the Wine and Food Society of New York. In fact, I recreated t...
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