Bier Festival, Weekend Getaway

München in May

Date: 1 – 4 May 2015

Modes of Travel: British Airways, S/U-Bahn

Cast of Characters: Dan, Bruce, Hannah and Brett

Hotel: Pullman Munich

Day 1 –

We have been to Munich in the past, but we were not able to see it fully as we had been in Bratislava just before on that trip and Bruce had hurt his ankle, so we decided to go back and give it another shot.

We enjoy a BA holiday as you guys know and this was not different. Got a great deal and a really nice hotel to boot.

We started off in the lounge and whilst it was crowded and the food had run out, there was plenty of booze at 7 to kick the trip off!

It was a quick uneventful flight and we were in Munich.

After arrival we made our way to the S-Bahn station and once I figured out how to use the ticket machine (If you are travelling with others, the group day ticket is an awesome value), we were off to the city and 45 minutes and one change later we arrived at the NordFriedHof station where our hotel was located. Turns out it was right above the station which was good as it started raining.

We checked in and headed up to our room. It was a really nice room with everything you need including a private bathroom (see our Bratislava blog to know what I mean) an a big bed.

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We decided to go to the hotel bar as due to my Accor status, they gave each of us a free drink.

So we headed in to the city and stopped off at Marienplatz where we needed some food and ended up at a place called Ruff Burger. They had great burgers and awesome chilli cheese fries! I should point out it was one of the few places open. It was a bank Holiday and everything but food places were shut!

After our awesome burgers, we decided to find HofBrauHaus and as it was raining we put the ol’ Apple watch to the test. Overall it worked pretty well and a few minutes later we arrived.

It was packed and there was not seat to be had and we couldn’t sit outside due to the rain so we did one more walk through and popped into the Dubliner Irish Pub. We had a beer and chilled whilst the place was over run by a stag do of Irishmen, we had a quick drink and left as they were a bit OTT for us. We then decided to pop over to the Sendlinger Tor area, just to see what was on the way. We walked through the completely shut Viktualienmarkt and found a beer hall called Der Pschorr, they were packed, but able to squeeze us in and we enjoyed a few beers and then continued moving on to Sendlinger Tor where we found  M.C. Mueller. We had a beer and then I needed to pop out to take a work call and Bruce had another beer whilst he waited for me. After I came back I tried to pay for his beer and they served me another beer. (it had a €30 min for card and we were out of cash at this point) so I popped to the bank and tried to pay for our beers again and we got two more. After this I was very clear in what I was trying to do and in the end we paid for 4 extra beers and had a great time. They looked to have some really good burgers so may have to try it next time I am in Munich.

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We decided to walk around a bit more but as it started to get dark we decided to head back to the hotel so starting at Sendlinger Tor we headed back. It started to rain again, so again the Apple Watch helped direct us. We made it to Giselastraße before giving up. We had been to this area before and it was a nice area. We tried to get into a few of the restaurants, but they were full so we ended up at the new McDonalds (not by choice this time) across the road and after dinner and due to being soaked we took the U-Bahn back to the hotel and called it a night.

Day 2 –

Hannah and Brett were joining us on this trip, but had no more days to take off work so they flew over on the Saturday to join us. Their room wasn’t ready yet, so we chilled in the bar to come up with our plan for the day and have a few beers and by the time we were done the room was ready and we were off to experience the city together.

We went back to Der Pschorr as the food looked good and we enjoyed some lunch and beers. As part of lunch we tried Obatzda which was pretty good and possibly the best Spatzle I have ever had.

After lunch we walked around the city for a while and then made our way to the HauptbahnHof where were meeting for a Munich Beer and Food Tour. The tour took us for a walk around the city and then a trip on the S-Bahn to the Bier- und Oktoberfestmuseum where we learned more about beer, sampled some beer and had a pretzel before taking a tour of the Museum.

After the Museum we hopped the tram to the HofBrauKeller for some traditional Bavarian Cuisine and of course more beer. It is a nice beer hall and once we had all had our fill of beer and food, we made the trip back to HofBrauHaus for the final part of the tour.

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Once again it was packed and we couldn’t get in, so we decided to try to walk back to the hotel, but due to the beer consumed, we only made it to Universitat, before taking the U-Bahn back to the hotel and calling it a night.

Day 3 –

We decided to put our all network group ticket to work and headed out to Starnberger See. It is a small town on a lake and it looked like it could be interesting. Its about 45 min journey and the S-Bahn is comfortable. We had a nice journey out, but the weather took a bit of a turn on the way and it was misty once we arrived. The S-Bahn runs every 20 minutes. We made it exactly 20 minutes and sat in the same seats on the same train on the way back.

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The area was nice, but due to the weather we couldn’t hang for long and headed back on the next train.

On the tour last night the guide told us that a mini Oktoberfest was on at the grounds so we headed there. It is called the Munich Spring Festival. There were two beer hall tents and a fun fair. We went into one, ordered litres of beers and a massive pretzel.

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It was pretty cool and not too crowded, so in my mind we got a mini Oktoberfest experience without the crowds or cost 🙂

We headed to the Deutsches Museum, and whilst it was cool, would have been better if it was more hands on, but I think we all enjoyed (especially Brett and I with all of the travel exhibits) ourselves.

For Dinner we went to Block House at Giselastraße. It could have been any of the restaurants in the area, but it was the first one we saw.

After dinner we thought the Olympiapark would be nice to visit and headed over. It was built for the 1972 Olympic Games and it is still in great shape. As expected not too much was going on, but the Wings for Life World Run, so we watched the final bits on the big screen. We popped into the BMW Welt for a quick look and then we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.

Day 4 –

Sadly this was our final day and it was time for the Glockenspiel. So we checked out of the hotel and headed over to watch the famous clock.

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We introduced Hannah and Brett to Ruff Burger and once we were all done went for a walk towards the HBF stopping at every shoe store I saw as I wanted a new pair of Converse. In the end we stopped at a store we were all at the day before and I found a pair that fit and that I liked. We parted ways with Hannah and Brett as they were on a later flight and went back to the hotel the long way to get out bag and then headed to the Flughafen for our flight home.

We spent a little bit of time in the Lounge (Berlin’s is better) and then board the plane for the flight home.

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Bier Festival, Weekend Getaway

Bierfestival Bruges

Dates: 6 – 8 February 2015

Modes of Travel: Southwest Trains, London Underground, Eurostar, Belgian Rail

Cast of Characters: Dan, Bruce, Carol, Iain, Kristin, Dan, Gareth, Shannon and Ollie

Hotel: ibis Brugge Centrum

Day 1 –

We booked this trip to go to the Bierfestival Brugs. We went last year on our own and loved so this year we invited a whole group to go with us. In the end there were nine of us who went.

This trip started at the Champagne bar at St. Pancras for a nice glass of bubbles before getting on the Eurostar to Brussels.

Eurostar check-in can be hit or miss sometimes and today it was crowded as they had three trains leaving close to each other. Once we made it through all of the formalities, we realised that two of our group were in a different carriage and after working with the Eurostar staff, there was nothing we could do as the train was full! We resigned ourselves to the fact we would be separated until Brussels, and whilst that was sad, that meant we had four bottles of bubbles to share amongst the five of us who were near each other. After quick change in Brussels we were all reunited on what Carol referred to as a “Retro” train to Bruges and enjoyed another bottle of bubbles.

We arrived in Bruges and made it to our hotels. In the end our group stayed at five different hotels.

As per usual for Bruges, Bruce and I stayed at the ibis. We normally know what we are going to get when we stay at an ibis and sadly this one in Bruges did not live up to our normal expectations, the only thing that was normal was the smell you get when you walk in. In all other regards, our room sucked! It was small, there was mould on one of the ceilings joists and the shower drained slowly so your feet got a bath!

After check in we popped over one of our favourite bar, Don Quichotte aka the Rice Bar for a few beers and then over to the old Cool Cat (has a new name but no clue what it is) for a few more. By this point we all called it a night as the next day was the bier festival.

Day 2 –

Today is the day we all came for the 8ste Brugs Bierfestival. Bruce and I met Kristin for brunch at Cambrinus. I choose this place for the Spaghetti Bolognaise and the beer cheese, I don’t choose this place for the service as the staff is always a bit rude.

After this we headed to the square met up with everyone for the short walk to the bier festival. After a quick visit to the Delirium booth, I saw a hat I had to have, but Bruce said no as I already have a ton of hats. However, Shannon saw it a different way and when we went back from some Delirium Red, she bought me the hat for no other reason than Bruce said I could not buy it. She said it was the best €10 she has ever spent.

After many many samples, I think the clear favourite of at least Shannon, Carol and myself was the Lindeman’s Pêcheresse.

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The Bier Festival got a little crowded so we left and headed to Staminee de Garre. They offer a beer that is only available there. It is called Garre, its ok certainly not mine or Bruce’s favourite, but we take people here as unless you know where it is you would never find it.

It was getting late in the day and I had booked us all in for dinner at a Thai place that we have enjoyed in the past called Sivalai Thai which is just up from our hotel. We have been a few times and always enjoyed the food and the service. It is run by a nice husband and wife team. The wife does all of the cooking and the husband does all of the serving. As usual we were not disappointed and it seemed everyone enjoyed themselves and their food.

After dinner we popped over to a “wine” bar we found last year called One. They were able to seat all of us in a cosy and I do mean cosy booth and we enjoyed five bottles of the house dry white. We chose it as the waitress assured us it was the better of the two white wines available. We realised afterwards it may have changed away from a wine bar since we were last in there and the white wine not as dry as we would have liked, but as we were all enjoying each others company, we dealt with the wine and it was reasonably priced so who can complain.

After the wine we weren’t done just yet so we headed over to the square and were going to go back to the Rice bar but sadly the whole area was packed so we stopped off at the Druids Cellar for a final beer of the night/trip. The place was packed and they were low on draft beer so I got stuck with a Juplier which is one of my least favourite beers, but Ollie assures me if sold in the UK it would be very popular.

After a drink fuelled day we turned in for some sleep.

Day 3 –

Woke up feeling pretty good and headed to Daya Chocolate for some chocolate to take home. This is my favourite chocolate shop, for two reasons, the staff are super friendly and normally remember me plus they are reasonably priced.

I headed to the slowest McDonalds ever for our Breakfast. It’s a new one (wasn’t there in December when we were there) so I hope that is why the service was so slow!

I took it all back to the room and we ate and finished packing. We met everyone at the train station and enjoyed a nice journey back on one of the new Belgian Rail trains to Brussels for our trip back to London. As we passed through Ghent we decided we want to go back and booked a trip for the summer and think for next years bier festival, we may stay in Ghent and just go to Bruges for a day trip.

We really enjoyed spending time with everyone and hope they enjoyed it too!

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