By David and Kay Scott
The Valdosta Daily Times
Munich, Germany’s third largest city behind only Berlin and Frankfurt, boasts 40 museums, 70 galleries, 60 theaters, and three symphony orchestras making it well known as a major European cultural center.
The city serves as home to world-class businesses such as BMW and offers many famed tourist attractions including the Royal Residence, the Hofbraushaus, and Marienplatz Square’s famous carillon in the tower of the New Townhall. And, of course, Bavaria’s capital city is not without its share of beer gardens.
After all, this is home for Octoberfest, the granddaddy of beer festivals that consumes this region each year from late September through the first week in October.
As fun-loving American tourists, our favorite Munich stop is its English Garden, the city’s answer to New York’s Central Park, only with nude sunbathers added.
The seemingly odd designation for a German park results from being named for its design in the style of an English country park. One of the largest urban parks in the world at more than 900 acres, English Garden borders the Isar River with recreational fields, nearly 50 miles of jogging and cycling paths, and, with seating for 7,000 thirsty souls, the second-largest beer garden in Munich. Having a beer garden with 7,000 seats illustrates how Bavarians wisely choose to allocate their spare time. Horse-drawn carriages, cyclists, and walkers are in constant motion along the park’s many well-utilized paths.
Each Sunday when weather permits, the English Garden’s largest beer garden becomes the scene of a wonderful festival for beer, brats, kraut, potatoes, giant pretzels, and oompah music provided by a brass band in Bavarian dress. The band plays music in different locations around the beer garden before climbing onto the second floor of a giant pagoda called the “Chinese Tower” and letting the music rip. About every half hour the musicians take a break to climb down from the tower for more beer.
A Sunday afternoon in the English Garden is one of the most entertaining and fun occasions in all our travels. It seems as if everyone is in a jolly mood as they carry trays of food and mugs of beer from the food courts to the tables. People chat, sing, and enjoy themselves. Thousands of people of all ages having a wonderful time listening to traditional German music make for a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
David and Kay Scott reside in Valdosta and are authors of “Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges” (Globe Pequot).