You may, in fact, enjoy this entire story. However, the cliff notes are posted at the beginning, and the end, in summary form, for those who don’t have time… and for your reading convenience. (We still hope you’ll read the whole story.)
Go to Andechs Brewery and monastery. Hike 4K uphill over snow and ice. (It actually is fun.) Drink beer. Drink beer. Eat food. Drink beer. Drink more beer. Meet fun old guy. Translate German, into German, for Jonathan. Take cab to Herrsching. Take train home. Go up the down escalator (unsuccessful). Run. Stop. Run. Stop. Run. Stop. Sleep.
And now, for the whole story…
When we were in Munich last year for our honeymoon, Jonathan and I (and Mara and Anne) took the free tour offered by New Europe. Our tour guide was Matt. Matt and his girlfriend met us for a beer later that night at the Andechs restaurant here in Munich. That’s when we were introduced to Andechs beer. Thanks Matt!
So, when we came back to Munich this year, we thought it would be fun to go visit the Andechs brewery and monastery. (Yes, monks still make and brew and serve Andechs beer.) Andechs lies just outside of Munich, but the strassenbahn only goes as far as Herrshing (Andechs is about 4 kilometers further than Herrshing).
So, we decided that we would go. On our walk to the station to catch the strassenbahn, who do we run into walking down the street? Matt. As Matt says, “Big planet, small world.” We tell him what we are up to, and ask him if he’d like to come. It doesn’t work for Matt right now, but, we still chat with each other on the street for about an hour. (It was great to see you again Matt! Hopefully we’ll cross paths again soon.) It’s pretty cool to be walking down a neighborhood street in Munich, Germany and run into someone you know.
From there we hop on the S5 strassenbahn to Herrshing. It is about an hour ride, but it is fun to see the scenery and get outside the city. When we arrive in Herrshing, a woman stops us on the street and tells us that we should really go see the lake, because (in her opinion), it is the “only thing worth seeing in Herrsching”. So, we turn around and walk back by the station and to the lake. We spend a few quiet minutes at the lake appreciating the sunset and being outside of the city. From there it is time to trek to Andechs.
Now, there is a bus that will take you from the Herrshing train station to Andechs. We just thought it would be nice to walk there. And it was. But, it is also up hill the entire way. And the path for us, is covered in snow and mostly ice. It makes for slower going than we expect. And, mind you, all we are following is a green triangle sticker stuck to the lamp posts that tells us which way to go.
But eventually, we run out of lamp posts.
And then, there stop being signs on the trees, and yet the path keeps splitting.
So we start guessing which way to go
It is getting dark, and yet we still have about a kilometer to go. This view though, makes the entire walk worthwhile.
Well, eventually because we’re slipping and sliding so much, it gets so dark that we can no longer read the signs. So, we have to start taking pictures of the signs in order to read them. Sometimes this works. But, after slipping down an icy set of steps (about 200 of them – the only downhill part of the hike), we really can’t see this sign, and we don’t know where we are.
So, we use the flash on the camera, take a picture, and we are greeted with this sign (needless to say, we still don’t know where we are). Sorry if this is inappropriate for anyone. We found it really funny in the moment.
We do finally reach the monastery and brewery. We go to check out the monastery chapel first. We are so glad we do this, as it closed only a few minutes after we arrived.
From there we hit the pub. And oh how good it is.
I don’t think that beer can get any better. When drinking Andechs beer at Andechs, they tap the barrel directly (no carbon pressurizing of the beer). So it’s pretty much the freshest beer you can get, and when it is already your favorite beer ever, that’s a pretty amazing taste.
We are also thrilled that the pub serves food, and not just any food. All the food and ingredients are raised / made / cooked on the premises. Jonathan orders the special of the day (pork knuckle with pretzel, sauerkraut, and potato salad). I make do with what vegetarian option I have: potato salad and hot sauerkraut. I must say that it is absolutely amazing food – made even more amazing by the fantastic beer accompanying it.
We are more than happy to stay at the pub enjoying the beer until closing time (8:00pm). As the pub is closing (and after 2.5 liters of beer each) we start talking to the man who is sitting behind us. He thinks Jonathan is from Hannover, Germany. (It’s quite the compliment to have a German think you are a native speaker. (Unfortuantely for Jonathan, he can’t understand most of what our new friend (and I wish I could remember his name) is saying. He is a local, retired contractor from Andechs, so he only speaks Bavarian German (a very unique dialect that is difficult to understand – even Germans have a hard time understanding this dialect). I, however, can understand about 90% of what he was saying, and from there could fill in the rest. So, here’s this guy talking to me, and I actually have to translate this guy’s German, into German, so that Jonathan can understand what’s going on. It is such an inflation of my little German-speaking ego. I have to translate for Jonathan. Yay! Finally! I finally feel, for the first time ever, that my German is just as good as (if not better than) Jonathan’s.
Anyway, after talking with our new friend, we learn that the only way to get back to Herrshing is to take a taxi because the last bus left at 7:30pm. (It’s now nearly now an hour later. Oops.) Our friend decides to take us to the fancy restaurant on site (There’s always a bar open somewhere) and buy us another beer there while we wait for our taxi. So we spend the next 45 minutes continuing our talk. We talk mostly politics (a favorite conversation for most Germans – with me translating about 50% of what’s being said to the “native-speaker-from-Hannover” Jonathan). I wish we’d taken a picture with our friend. He really was a nice guy, and fun to talk to.
A $20 cab ride later and we’re back on the train to Munich. Now, you may think, from what I’m going to tell you next, that at this point, we are drunk. But, we aren’t. Seriously. Even though we’ve had plenty of beer (and strong beer at that), we’ve also had plenty of time to ‘sober up’ (and remember, we started this little adventure with a 3 mile uphill hike through the wilderness). So we are feeling good, not drunk. We are also feeling very fun and care-free, from the fun “ness” of the experience…
We get back to our stop in Munich, and get off the strassenbahn. We’re underground at this point.
You know those escalators that only move when someone steps on them? Well, they have those at the train station we get off at. And so, I step on it expecting it to go up. It doesn’t move. So, I start climbing it. But, I can’t figure out why it’s taking me so long to go up. I seriously don’t know what’s wrong. Then I hear Jonathan laughing uncontrollably. Yes, I’m struggling with the up, while being on the down escalator.
Just a tip – that doesn’t work so well. (Especially after a couple of beers.)
Once we finally get above ground, we decide that we should run through the square and back to the apartment. So, we do. We run and then stop. Run and then stop. We’re having quite a bit of fun playing the run-stop game. We’re also noticing a few funny looks in our direction, but we’re having fun so it doesn’t really matter.
After a few more games of run-stop run-stop, we make it back to the apartment where we sleep a blissful sleep that night, until the next morning when we’re woken (once again) to a loud hammering sound coming from the apartment that’s being remodeled below us.
Summary once again:
Go to Andechs. Hike 4K uphill over snow and ice. It actually is fun. Drink beer. Drink beer. Drink beer. Drink more beer. Meet fun old guy. Translate for Jonathan. Take cab to Herrsching. Take train home. Go up the down escalator (unsuccessful). Run. Stop. Run. Stop. Run. Stop. Sleep.
Seriously, if you’re ever in the Munich area, and you want some amazing beer, take the time to go to Andechs. It is a full-day trip, but beer (potato, pork, and kraut) will not taste this good anywhere else.