Thursday, 18 September 2014

Hofbräuhaus on a Friday evening in Munich

Whilst in München I had the pleasure of experiencing the famous Hofbräuhaus hospitality. Our group of four only had set ourselves a minimum of to-do's during our extended city-break. This visit was a unanimous decision. And we were not disappointed.

According to our research the beer-hall opened its doors at six of an evening. Our taxi dropped us outside the building a full twenty minutes early. We quickly realised the info we had read was wrong. The place was jammed to the rafters, inside the hall itself and outside in the beer-garden.

[Image description: inside one of the many rooms of the Hofbräuhaus]

On a very hot and humid day in Munich, remaining indoors for we lily-livered Brits was just not an option. So, we headed for the, accessible, courtyard. With my well-trained eyes I quickly espied a couple of "empty" tables: that is, several vacant places and only a few folk already sitting at table. We opted for the one with a young couple on an apparently unsuccessful date.

The amiable Viennese waiter was very quick to dash over with menus and immediately realised my companions required the English-language versions (available at most touristy eateries in the city and its environs).

[Image description: a chum & the author with menu]

When our various beverages arrived, we discovered how difficult it is to raise one litre (liter) of ale in a sturdy glass Stein. How the heck the waiters and waitresses held multiple glasses in their hands, dishing them to customers without spilling one drop of beer let alone dropping the whole lot, we have absolutely no idea. Although, I suggested they might not be humans, but rather German-engineered automatons!

[Image description: another chum attempting to imbibe from her massive glass]

Our food was definitely not haute cuisine or anything resembling gastro-pub offerings. It was plain and simple, filling and tasty. Whilst sausage can be fattening, Sauerkraut is apparently extremely good for one. And young maidens and a solitary young lad, all in traditional Tracht (refer to previous posts on Munich), constantly patrol the gaps between folk vending the traditional Breze or Pretzeln, a delicious and light salted bread formed in the widely recognised pretzel shape.

[Image description: Bratwurst on bed of Sauerkraut with traditional Breze aka Pretzel]

Whilst dining we had the privilege of listening to spontaneous group singing (just as we had imagined and hoped for) as well as a traditional oom-pah-pah band performing traditional Blasmusik.

A visit to the Hofbräuhaus (or similar) is heartily recommended: for filling the stomach; slaking one's thirst; and, for a ripping evening's entertainment.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Trachtknöpfe Search in Munich

In 1984 in the village of Bad-Vöslau just up the road from Baden-bei-Wien in Lower Austria, I purchased a Trachtjacke produced by Giesswein. Unfortunately a couple of years ago, whilst attempting to circumnavigate the construction-works at Málaga airport, I lost my top button.

Noting that BurgStraße in Munich and its environs contained several Tracht vendors, I set off in search of replacement Knöpfe. I was heartened to discover  Ludwig Beck, a haberdasher’s - Kurstwaren in German - a rarity now in England, but still widespread in Spain.

Yet again I was at the receiving-end of delightful service. The serving-lady gave me all the time in the world to make my selections of the individually hand-crafted horn-buttons (image below), each unique in texture and colouring. I chose three to bring home. After paying, we passed the time of day and then shook hands, despite a constant stream of folk entering and leaving the store. Service with a smile and that gave me a smile. %)

Shoe-Shopping in Munich

On NeuhauserStraße in central Munich one will come across the shoe-shop chain Tretter’s main store at number 39: three expansive floors of footwear. It transpires it is the largest such establishment in the whole of Bavaria. The business’ tag-line is “Schuhe für München”, Shoes for Munich. I suspect most folk looking for more traditional or conservative items would depart after finding something to purchase.

I was actually searching for a pair of dress shoes to go with my DJ (tuxedo) as I appreciate the quality of German-manufactured footwear and thought a pair would probably last much of the rest of my life. However, whilst not chancing on a pair of patent leathers or similar, I did discover Bavarian-style shoes.

The first pair I selected was cut too low around my ankle so that my foot slipped with the shoes. The second pair seen in the image below are by Josef Seibel (a brand with which I am well and happily acquainted) fitted as if bespoke. The Haferlschuhe, sometimes also known in Bavarian as Bundschuhe, are labelled Schützenschuhe in Austria. They are often worn with traditional costume, Trachten, in both Germany and Austria; but folk also wear them as quotidian footwear.

The shoes were that comfortable, that I switched from wearing my Danish Ecco slip-ons and the assistant wrapped the latter in tissue-paper and popped them in my paper carrier-bag.

Before donning my Haferlschuhe, my attentive shop-assistant water-proofed them for no extra charge. She then made out a hand-written bill which I proffered to the cashier. Old-fashioned quality service.

I strolled out of the store with a bounce in my step - well would have done if I physically could have.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Perfidious Treachery

The NHS is important to me;

Social Security is important to me;

Social Services are important to me;

Social Care is important to me;

End-of-life care is important to me;

Justice is important to me;

Public transport is important to me;

Energy is important to me;

Water, drainage & sewage are important to me;

Fairness, equality & equity are important to me…

None of these are important to Tories, save for any profit to be made.

I cannot find any comfortable way in which to say this…

If you vote Conservative you are a TRAITOR:

to British values;

to your community;

to your neighbours;



and ultimately to


Well, that's certainly what I think and feel at the moment. %///

Thursday, 14 August 2014

All Quiet on the Mancunian Front

So sorry that since my return from Spain there have been so few original blog-posts. My health, both physical and mental, has been badly affected by the constant dampness in Manchester ongoing since April. It may be dry elsewhere in the UK, but it has not been in my area. If we ever get some more clement weather, my ability to concentrate should ameliorate and I hope then to return to writing. Until then I am on a dull and boring enforced sabbatical! %((

[Image description: tired-looking author with beard; difficult to be clean-shaven at the moment]