While Jen was getting ready I went for a jog through the Englischer Garten with a history that dates back to the 1700’s. It’s a popular park with the second largest beer garden in the city with over 7,000 seats and offers a 50 mile trail for joggers and cyclists, I just tested it out for three of them.
80331 Munich, Germany
Dallmayr is a high-end delicatessen that has operated in Munich since the 1600’s. Their square footage is broken out into sections by type of food. They have coffee, chocolates, wine, liquor, baked goods with some wonderful stollen, bread, sausages, cheese, prepared foods, fresh produce, dried fruit/nuts and we’re probably missing a few stations. They have everything you could imagine for a perfect Napa Valley picnic, German style. You could find something lovely to pair well with a Spätlese Reisling. We also found some items that would have needed four shots to become palatable, but even those were cool to try once. The store receives about two and half million visitors a year and today we were two of them.
There are hundreds of different German sausage variations. I brought a list with me to help pick out a few that I wanted to try while on the trip that included blutwurst, bockwurst, bratwurst, currywurst, gelbwurst, knackwurst, landjäger, leberkäse, leberwurst,Nürnberger rostbratwurst, teewurst, Thüringer rostbratwurst, weisswurst and wollwurst. Dallmayr had a large selection to choose from. I’ve attached the file below:
German Sausages (PDF)
The retail space on the second floor consisted of some Christmas decor highlighted by edible souvenirs and Restaurant Dallmayr. This apparently is the “it” place to have coffee and dessert at 10 AM. We didn’t have a reservation and were mildly laughed back to the Christmas area. They gave us the impression it would be 30 or more minutes. But after we joked with them, they were kind enough to seat us within 10 minutes. Coffee ranged between $5 to $15 for the Grand Cru Supremo. I had to have the renowned bean and boy it did not disappoint. It’s a medium Colombia roast with light acidity and strength made from 100% coffea arabica. The gentle acidity is balanced by a subtle citrus note, distinctive yet subtle. But what really stood out about this coffee from the one I had at McDonald’s was how it echoed the freshness of the high plateaus, nestled amongst the foothills of the Andes, where there is a constantly warm and humid climate. You really feel that humid climate when the bill arrives. The two desserts were decent and it was nice to try a studel on our trip.
Enough of the Slow Times at Munich High, I was ready for the moment to test the Jeep Cherokee on the autobahn. On the way to Dachau Concentration Camp, I put the peddle to the metal and we were there in a matter of minutes. 29 to be exact according to Google.
(Speeding on the Autobahn in Munich, Germany)
Dachau Concentration Camp
Alte Römerstraße 75
85221 Dachau, Germany
Dachau was established in 1933 and is considered to be the first concentration camp in Germany built for the purpose of holding political prisoners. Over 180,000 prisoners were held there and deaths at the camp are difficult to confirm, one total is estimated at 28,000. When the Americans liberated the camp in 1945, they found 30,000 prisoners in 20 barracks that were designed to hold 5,000.
When we went, the entrance gate had just been stolen. A new gate was recreated and has since been replaced. It reads, Arbeit macht frei, or ‘Work will make you free’.
The prisoner bunks were designed to hold two prisoners per bed, but an actual picture from the 1940 shows they actually managed upwards of six per bed. As the population grew in the later years, prisoners were forced on top of each other.
The gas chamber room was disguised as “showers” and equipped with fake shower spouts to mislead the victims and prevent them from refusing to enter the room. During a period of 15 minutes up to 150 people at a time could be suffocated to death through prussic acid (cyanide) poison gas.
Now we would transition from one of the most somber sights in Germany to one of the happiest. Two polar opposite destinations with an ironic historic connection. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a safeguarded medieval town in Germany. To most folks it’s the most Christmas city in the world outside of the North Pole, which we have yet to visit. It is set along the Romantic Road in Bavaria. So beautiful that the Nazi party considered it, “the most German of German towns.” In 1938, the town dislodged its Jewish citizens and was often a meeting place for the Third Reich. In 1945, during the Allies attack on Germany, the U.S knew about the charm and signifigance of Rothenburg, so heavy artillery was avoided in taking over the city. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of War, John McCloy, actually grew up with a picture of Rothenburg in his home, a souviner from his mom’s visit to the city. Instead troops were sent in to negotiate the surrender of the town and Major Thömmes on teh German side surrendered, ignoring the order of Adolf Hitler for all towns to fight to the end. So if it weren’t for both the actions of these military personnel, Rothenburg would be a distant memory.
We planned to walk down the streets, take in the charm, check out the Christmas market and adjacent shops, but most importantly go home with Christmas decor from Käthe Wohlfahrt. We just don’t have a store like this in Los Angeles, not at the same quality.
Käthe Wohlfahrt is a retailer based in Rothenburg that sells all things Christmas. You can find music boxes, pyramids, nutcrackers, ornaments, incense smokers, table décor, advent calendars, nativity scene and tons more, all under 600,000 sq. ft. of shopping space. They have smaller shops all throughout many significant cities in Germany. We must of visited five other locations on our trip. They have stalls at the Christmas markets and even one location in Stillwater, Minnesota. For americans, you can also find them at christmas markets in Arlington, TX, Bethlehem, PA, Chicago, IL, and Philadelphia, PA. Not to mention, you can order online and just trust their quality. We spent a good two hours in there and came away with 32 ornaments and had them shipped back to our house. I would recommend doing the same, less luggage to carry your whole trip and you don’t have to worry about breaking anything you purchased. It cost about $40 for shipping For $20 additional, they will deliver your order in a sleigh with a Santa delivery man.
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Obere Schmiedgasse 10
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Every region has it’s specialty and one out of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the schneeball , a basic pastry dough with the inclusion of plum schnaps that is deep fried. Literally translated to snowball due to its shape and the fact that it’s covered in powered sugar. We had planned to go elsewhere to try it but due to spending all evening shopping, we were relugated to Zuckerbäckerei being a schneeball’s throw away from Plönlein in the city center. The loation had a bunch of various flavors from chocolate, strawberry to hazelnut and plain. Not a bad snack before dinner.
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
No trip to Rothenburg is complete without a picture at Plönlein. The quintessential Christmas setting and one of the most photographed spots in the country.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market
Then it was off to the Christmas market, a lot smaller than the ones in any of the big cities. But, it was worth 30 minutes and a chance to get good European gummy candy an a Rostbratwürste. The sausages never disappointed in Germany and the smaller the vender, the better the sausage. It was also our first chance to use one the elaborate portable bathrooms complete with turnstiles and currency slots. They change you the same regadless if you have to go #1 or #2.
Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom
80331 Munich, Germany
Back to Munich, we missed our dinner reservation at Der Pschorr and had to squeeze it in the next day. It was either call it a night or find a late-night spot. We had looked at Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom based on a vist from Gastronomy Blog and it barely missed our cut for inclusion. But it was late and they were open, so we stopped by and there was no wait at 11:00PM. Considering there weren’t any other good options available at this hour, Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom did the trick and we able to sample some more sausages. The one with cheese was our favorite during the meal.