Team Wasted Wenches Travels to Munich (And a recipe for German Chocolate Gluten Free Brownies)

    “Bitte ein Bier!” These words got me through Germany in 2007. Or maybe it was
    “Bitte ein Kaffe! ”   Coffee and beer; two things the Germans do very well. Over the four days I spent in Munich I would have more than enough of both as well as Brats, German style potato salad, crackling pork knuckles, and apple strudel. Oh and my favorite German yogurt, Mueller’s of course. In 2007 I went to Oktoberfest with a group of friends who were mainly there to drink delicious German beer … I went to Munich to eat.
    In 2007 I flew into England in late September to spend time with Mimi and John. After a few days of road tripping around England our eventual goal was Munich and Oktoberfest.  To warm up for Oktoberfest Mimi and John’s friends on base were throwing a huge Oktoberfest style party.  Mimi insisted that I be “on her team” for drinking games, which is pretty ridiculous because I barely drink. Our team was the “Wasted Wenches” and we had Fraulein costumes we bought on the Internet to wear, they were pretty cute. It was Mimi, I and her friend Jan on our team.  The party was awesome, it was a beautiful fall day about seventy degrees and sunny which is ridiculous weather for Cambridge, England. I traveled to England three times in the past ten years and this was the only bright sunny day I can remember in all of those trips.     
    The boys planning the party had thought of everything, they even had a bounce house, which I love!  They thought they were being sneaky when they brought baby oil to spray on the girls in the bounce house, but all the girls jumped out and the boys ended up spraying each other and wrestling. Oh boys, they’re dumb.  So us girls just ate brats and watched boys being stupid, and danced to the live band. The band was awesome, very Van Morrison sounding. . It was a great party and I got to know everyone who would be going with us to Munich in a few days.

    There were about 10 of us that went to Munich, mainly John’s fellow pilots and their wives and girlfriends.  We got up before dawn to catch our early morning Ryanair flight to I believe the airport was Friedrichshafen. When we got off the plane it was pretty overcast and we were next to a huge lake.  I remember thinking it must be really pretty in the summer. From there we got on a train for Munich for a few hours. First we grabbed some official German Franzikaner Beer at the train station, of course.
     It was still rainy when we our train pulled into Munich, the capitol of Bavaria. This could be a problem as we were planning to camp the whole time, but I really wasn’t that concerned. I had camped in rain in Alaska and it had been fine.  Oktoberfest weather is usually warm like an indian summer. I had checked out pictures online of people sitting in the warm sunshine, enjoying liters of beer in the outdoor beer gardens.

    This rain splashed Munich wasn’t exactly the Munich I had pictured.
    Also the “campground”  we would be staying at was the stadium used in the Olympics for the equestrian events. It was less camp ground more barnyard. This really did not bother me at all, as I love horses but everyone else was kind of like
    “Were camping in a horse pasture? What?”
    After a very confusing exit off the train into the middle of nowhere in which we discovered our campground was very hard to find at night in the dark we finally made it to the campground. We went to check in, which Mimi handled. Did I mention my BFF is fluent in German? This came in super handy over the next few days. It kind of sucked for her though, having to order for ten people at a restaurant can’t be too much fun. 

    After paying for our barnyard; I mean camp site, we checked out our nice dry tent, dropped off our stuff and were ready to grab the first official beer of Oktoberfest!  Our tent had a beer tent right outside it; how convenient we thought! This how ever was why I brought earplugs; to block out the beer tent at 3a.m. It was still raining when we went to bed, but it wasn’t that bad. At some point in the night I rolled into a wet spot. No I hadn’t peed. Our tent, it would appear was leaking. But it wasn’t that bad… yet. So I went back to sleep.
    We got up in the A.M. ready to explore Munich. Of course we got a breakfast brat for the road and then headed to the train station. Our campground was just a short walk through a lush forest- suburb to the train station we took into Munich. The neighborhood  looked a whole lot nicer in the day time, when you’re not traipsing through the forest with packs, sleeping bags and suitcases; in the rain.I should not have brought my huge suitcase looking back (Which I ended up wheeling through the mud in the middle of the German night) , but I didn’t know we would have to walk so far to the campground. It was kind of a pain in the ass, but a good workout, right?
    In Munich we found a little café in the Marienplatz near the glochenspiel  and settled in for our first German breakfast, which was so amazing! We ended up coming back to this same restaurant every morning for breakfast.
     I never thought I would have better coffee in my life then when I was in Paris, but the coffee I enjoyed in Munich was really good. Every morning I enjoyed an amazing Cafe Americana. Also I hate orange juice, but it came with my meal, so I ended up drinking it, and wow the orange juice in Germany is so different! I’m still blown away to this day at how good it was! Our German breakfast also included yogurts and muesli, which I love and you just can’t find it in the states like they make it in Europe.
Hofbrauhaus, Munchen

       After our wonderful breakfast we set out for our first real day in Munich. We headed straight to the Hofbrauhaus of course, the most famous beer hall in Germany. We spent hours there, enjoying beer, bratwurst, and giant pretzels as big as my head. Mimi had a great time practicing her German on the locals, and we saw the most beautiful long haired dog I have ever seen in my life; and of course we danced to the ompha band. That was when Casey decided she would eat 30 brats during our stay in Munich. Ninety pound Casey had already had about seven at that point so she decided to go for the record.
     At some point we decided to head back to the Marienplatz so we girls could do some shopping and the boys could sit outside in the plaza and drink beer. So after a morning of drinking beer I bought an authentic new German wardrobe! No I did not buy a dirndl or lederhosen. I bought an awesome gray scarf, a jacket, a gray sweater, a reusable bag and a hat.
     “Yea Bier!”
     We decided to take the U Bahn, the metro train, back to our camp and drop off our souvenirs. When we got back we discovered our wet tent had begun to stink. Yes, it was getting moldy. Unfortunately it was still rainy out so we couldn’t take things out of it to dry off. It was becoming pretty gross.
Mitch has a few beers…

     Oh well. Off  to Munich’s center and Oktoberfest, a huge outdoor carnival, celebration and beer fest. We arrived at Oktoberfest pretty late, around six or so. There was no way we were getting an inside table. The tables inside had filled up around eleven that morning, but because it was a little wet outside in the beer garden we were able to share a table with some nice German guys. We had a great time learning and singing German drinking songs, dancing, and eating more brats. And Mitch started to get a little drunk. At some point the girls and I wandered out to the carnival and discovered the hot candied nuts. They were amazing! We indulged in them and after that we had

Mitch has a few more beers

to have them every night of Oktoberfest. When we came back to the beer garden Mitch was drunk. I sipped on my radler~ a mix of lemonade and beer and then we wandered out to check out more souvenirs and the haunted house. When we came back, yes Mitch was more drunk.     

Mitch had a great time!

      Oktoberfest ends around 10 p.m. and by that time Mitch was extremely drunk. I think the pictures say it all. Somehow we all got separated in the stampede to get back to U Bahn and Chris, Hannah and I were left in charge of Mitch. This would prove to be an adventure, between helping him to stand up, not losing drunk Mitch in the crowd,  forcing him onto the U Bahn,  watching him puke on the U Bahn, fending off drunken stupid Italians hitting on us, hoping we wouldn’t get kicked off the U Bahn and forced to walk and trying to make it back to our camp in one piece.  At the station Hannah and I ran on ahead through the dark wet forest to get the rest of the guys to help Chris take Mitch back to our camp. Finally we made it, and somehow he rallied and was fine enough to go out the next day, which was an Oktoberfest Miracle.
      That night, it rained all night long and our tent was pretty much a big puddle, a big moldy puddle. It was freezing. I pretty much did not sleep for the whole time we were in Germany with the loud party crowd and the cold wet tent. Maybe that’s why I love the German’s coffee so much?

     In the morning after another amazing breakfast we walked out to the train station. I don’t know how we were hungry again but we managed to stock up on amazing pastry snacks. I also bought a ton of German candy for souvenir’s. We settled in on the train for the ride to Andechs Monastery, which is on a hill outside of the town of Ammersee. I had some of the best food there I have ever had in my life, and the beer was phenomenal also. The monks brew the beer themselves. I enjoyed my first schweinshaxe, a roasted pig’s knuckle. One of the best pork products I have ever had. Plus we had some amazing stinky cheese, and German style potato salad, so vinegary and crisp. We had apple strudel for dessert which was like no strudel I have ever had ever.  I must have gained ten pounds while in Germany. I don’t even usually like meat and potato like meals, but everything I had in Germany was so full of flavor!
     After another night of sleeping in a puddle, I got up in the morning to the sound and smell of horses. This did not bother me at all.  Riders worked their horses on the equestrian grounds every morning and I really enjoyed watching the show horses as we waited for everyone to shower and get in order to go. That morning when we got up the sun was actually out! What a great surprise! It was about 45 degrees out, still a little chill in the air, but it just felt so good to be dry for the first time in days! We hung up our towels and blankets on the outside of the tent to dry and walked towards the train station. 

Englisher Gartens, Munchen
     Half of our group was going to Dachau the concentration camp for the day. I had thought about going with them, but it just seemed so devastating, I deeply regret not going now. 
      I ended up staying in Munich with our group. We wandered over to the large outdoor market Viktualienmarkt. This market had everything; every item of produce you could ever imagine, a cheese shop, wine, little stalls with appetizers. I bought some marinated squid; it was so briny, full of vinegar. We explored the market and surrounding shops for awhile then walked over to Englisher Garten, a huge park. We walked around the park for hours, checking out all the different paths and the lake. We stopped to enjoy a tree swing before heading to the outdoor beer garden to meet the rest of our group for drinks. It was our last evening in Germany and we went out with a bang.    Mitch had a friend who was a pilot at Rammstien and had invited us to join their reserved table at the Lowenbrau tent.  We had an incredible dinner there our last night in Germany. We would head back to England the next morning, full of brats and beer. The best points of Germany for me were; every beer hall we went to, stealing Stein’s to bring home as gifts (Yes my super heavy suitcase was way more heavy on the way back!) The amazing Mueller’s yogurts of course, German chocolate, curry wurst and German style potato salad. Okay every single thing I ate in Germany was incredible!
      I don’t have any great German Meet and Potato recipes but this recipe for German chocolate gluten free brownies make a fantastic dessert!

German Chocolate Gluten Free Brownies

1 package Trader Joe’s gluten free brownie mix
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1/2 cup Carmel sauce
1/2 cup coconut pieces (Toasted or chunks of coconut, whichever you prefer)

Mix the brownie mix, oil, water and egg.  Put the dough in a oiled 12 by 12 inch baking pan. Bake the brownies at 350 for thirty minutes. Let them cool for ten minutes, than top with Carmel sauce and the coconut.