On Wednesday, the conference organizers planned a night of tubas, flugelhorns and “traditional Bavarian food” at Hofbrauhaus. This is one of the biggest tourist spots, to be sure, but it was fun to do what generations of tourists to Munich have done. Seated in an enormous hall laid with a long wooden tables, I ordered a “small” pilsner glass of weissbier to go with sausages, stew, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. (The “regular” steins literally looked like barrels.) I drank nearly half of the beer – a record for me – out of necessity. I kept asking the waiter for water, but he kept failing to bring it. A colleague also asked twice, but didn’t get it either. Incredibly thirsty in the middle of that unseasonable heatwave, I started to lose feeling in my fingers. I decided I’d better head out and find some water on my own. So here’s another tip about Munich: if you want your own non-sparkling water, it’s best to bring it with you. Outside Hofbrauhaus, I encountered what can only be described as souvenir alley: t-shirts with “Munchen” in rhinestones, ceramic beer steins emblazoned with baroque castles and capped with metal lids, cuckoo clocks, dirndl costumes, FC Bayern apparel. I managed to escape with just a tote bag and a magnet.
Another aside: Later, I found a place called Obacht around the corner. I never got to visit the shop while it was open, but this would’ve been my choice for whimsical, modern souvenirs!