Europe International Trips Travel Blog

It Ain’t about the Fame; It Ain’t About the Bitches: A Visit to Munich

Written by Don Pogreba

My dominant memory of Munich may not be the majestic town hall in the city center, but it might just be the aggressively earnest rapper who was helping promote a vegan event and fair in the square in front of it. His passion for his cause was perhaps unmatched by his skill as a lyricist, though, as during the hour I wandered around the square, he performed the same repertoire of three songs to the increasing unease of the crowd.

Most memorable was his boast that his rap “ain’t about the fame, ain’t about the bitches.” While I can’t exactly recall the rest of this catchy refrain other than it ending with “the fishes,” I do certainly remember how his performance came to an end. At eleven, when the very slow glockenspiel began its chiming and movement, all use of microphones is outlawed in the square, as I and the aspiring hip-hop star learned when the police dragged him off the stage at 11:01.

That performance by the police outpaced that of the clock by a considerable margin and was met with considerable applause by the non-vegan crowd.

As a destination, Munich ultimately left me a bit indifferent. While the history of the rise of the Nazi Party and the subsequent destruction of the city during World War 2 was interesting and retracing the steps Hitler took from his failed putsch in 1923 to the beer hall where the Nazi Party was born was fascinating, the center of the city offers perhaps less to see and do than other cities I’ve visited in Europe.

Unlike Warsaw, for instance, which was as devastated by World War 2, the reconstructed buildings in Munich were obviously rebuilt, often, it seems, quite cheaply.

That being said, I enjoyed wandering around the city and visiting the huge city park complex where the 1972 Olympics were held. It’s apparently one of the few former Olympic sites still being used, with some great walking trails and even the athlete housing transformed into public housing. The area around the English Garden is quite nice and a welcome respite from the crowds of people in the city.

Where Munich shined is not surprising: the beer was the best I have ever had and the hearty sausages and sauerkraut were exceptional. I’m not sure that I have ever really been a beer person, but after having so many, heavily-hopped American craft beers, it was such a nice contrast to enjoy beers that were so refreshing and delicious. If I ever have a beer as good as the Erdinger Weissbier or the Augustiner beer I enjoyed in a small family restaurant, I’ll be surprised.

When you visit Munich, maybe you shouldn’t expect incredible sights or very friendly wait staff in restaurants (definitely not the latter), but you should expect to enjoy some incredible food, history, and, of course, beer.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate. In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.