October in Munich: Where to Drink and Play
The Bavarian region of Germany during the fall season has many wonderful things going for it. First, the first signs of cold autumn weather pass through after a long, warm summer. Second, the sporting season gets underway with Munich’s biggest sporting attraction, football team Bayern Munich starts their German and European campaign. Last but not least, the great German celebration of Bavarian culture and beer, Oktoberfest, lasts from the end of September to early October.
Let’s begin with one of the most frequently visited parts of the city -- it is tourist trap that is the Marienplatz. In English, Marienplatz is translated to “St. Mary’s Plaza” or “Our Lady’s Plaza”. Much like other cities of Europe, the plaza is a centerpiece where people converge. The Marienplatz is more of a hub that connects businesses, stores and other tourists attractions in Munich. Among all the tourist kiosks that are plenty this area, you will find a beautiful edifice that stands outs among all buildings. It is the Neues Rathaus building or simply New Town Hall. It is beautifully unique building that is an example of neo-gothic architecture. Two things will stand out: one being the Marian column, which is the highest point of the building. The other is the giant glockenspiel, which is an animated, musical shrine that plays daily to the delight of many children and tourists in the plaza.
Bavaria is a city of many traditions, but its sporting traditions are undeniable. Considerably the New York Yankees of German football (soccer), Bayern Munich is the most famous sports team in all of Germany. And judging by its recent success, it can contest as being the most famous team in all of Europe. Sprouting talents by the names of Beckenbauer, Muller, and Matthaus, Bayern Munich continues to be a perennial champion. The year 2013 happened to be one of Bayern Munich’s greatest. Defeating their Rhineland rival, Borussia Dortmund -- they won the “Treble”: the German League title, the German Cup tournament and the prestigious European Champions League. Boasting an all-star lineup from many countries (Spain, France, Brazil, and Peru), “FC Bayern” has truly become a global powerhouse. You can catch FC Bayern matches at the state-of-the-art Allianz Arena. Opened in 2005 and able to hold up to 70,000 spectators, Allianz Arena has become one of the largest cathedrals of football in the world. It has already several World Cup and Confederations Cup matches and it also hosted the prestigious 2012 European Champions League final.
Last, but not least in the tour of Munich is the all-famous beer tour. The beer-drinking culture of Bavaria and all of Germany is unique compared to other parts of the world. That fact is most true from the end of September to mid-October during Oktoberfest. The month-long tradition celebrates an extended wedding party that occurred in the 19th century. From that point in history, Oktoberfest has become an annual event that invites millions and millions of worldwide guests to Bavaria. What guests will expect during Oktoberfest is a month-long party with food, carnival rides and of course, beer. And where are the best places to enjoy Oktoberfest? The ultimate place to go to is called the Theresienwiese, a huge open space where dozens of tents are set up housing benches of beer revelers, all enjoying the festivities with their brews. Expect to be in a massive throng of people, mostly drunk and enjoying themselves. The other spot is the famous Hofbrauhaus, which is relatively close to the Marienplatz. This is the famous beer hall that many other beer halls are modeled after.
The Hofbrauhaus has a rich history attached to it. Its beer brokered peace between Bavaria and Sweden during the Thirty Years War in the 16th century. It was a place a refuge and inspiration for minds like composer Wolfgang Mozart and political philosopher Vladimir Lenin. And it served as a function hall for Adolf Hitler and his burgeoning National Socialist German Workers Party. Among all the history, the Hofbrauhaus is best known for its food (sausages and schnitzel) and its many brands of the brew.
Munich has plenty of sights and sounds. It is a city rich in history, culture and beautiful architecture. It has been destroyed and rebuilt time and time again. Yet from the end of September through October, the city hosts tourists from all around the world for their Oktoberfest celebrations. Add to that the excellence of their champion football team, Bayern Munich, it is simple to see that Munich is truly one of the meccas of Europe.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)