Emily walked you through a few sights from the trip, from a Hunting and Fishing Museum to the Neuschwanstein Castle, but the main purpose of our visit was to check out the famed German Christmas markets. As I was planning the expedition I came across some information about an ancient event called 'Krampuslauf'. I knew 'lauf' was 'run' in German, but I hadn't heard of 'Krampus'. Further research proved that our attendance at Krampuslauf was incredibly important. The following photos will take you through our encounters with the infamous Krampus in Marienplatz, if full view of the Glockenspiel and Glühwein vendors.
Old Krampus is a holdover from Germany's pre-Christian pagan religions that joined forces with Sankt Nikolaus to provide a terrifying alternative to a mere lump of coal in a bad child's stocking.
Good children traditionally received a gift from St Nick, and the not-so-good kids were switched badly by his ugly, horned accomplice. You can imagine how gleeful all the children were to take part in the annual Krampus Run.
These fleeting shots show Krampus eyeing up the crowd, like a lion staring at a herd of zebra, searching for prey.
Speaking of prey, our game plan from the start involved Emily causing a commotion, Krampus attacking, and me taking pictures. Here is the first encounter.
Ok, no harm done. Krampus was gentle and Emily was barely whimpering at this point.
I completely missed the second attack. We were separated in the thronging masses and the sporadic harassing and whippings, but Emily had decided she had enough of Old Krampus the second time round. Towards the end of the event, Emily's first aggressor noticed her sipping some Glühwein, minding her own business in the corner of a stand. He strode quickly through the crowd with Christmas terror in his eyes. "No! I'm done!" she yelled, but the old devil didn't understand her pleadings in English. Methodically, maniacally, he unbraided her ponytail, and rubbed her hair into a hawk's nest, while I stood by and laughed.
She's smiling in the pictures to be a good sport, but I doubt we'll ever be visiting a Krampuslauf ever again.
As night falls, the lights turn on, and the markets are cheerier than ever.
The impressive Rathaus is well lit, with choirs singing "Oh Tannenbaum" in the balconies. Above the square on the left you can see Frauenkirche's two domed towers.
Near Marienplatz is the Krippelmarkt, famous for wooden nativity scenes.
The enticing smells and spices struck everyone who strolled through the markets. We sampled many traditional foods, to include sugary pecans and spiced walnuts, clementines, currywurst, Glühwein, heisse kakao (hot chocolate), and the famed Munich weisswurst (white sausage). I asked for Weisswurst at a stand, and after some hassle, I got it served the traditional way. The sausages are boiled, not grilled, and spicy, sweet mustard is on the side with a roll. You peel the casing off the sausage, dip, and enjoy. It was very good.
No trip to Munich would be complete without an obligatory beer at the Hofbräuhaus. The massive bier halle is a short walk from Marienplatz and seats hundreds upon hundreds of revelers, both tourists and locals. I started the night with a liter of Hofbräu Originale.
Our last day, we trekked to the world famous art museum the Alte Pinakothek. On our way we saw a bit of the massive Englischer Garten. It made us want to visit in the summer.
Our last meal was at the Augustiner Bier Halle, right off the main drag. The decorations were gorgeous, and large mounts of stags lined the walls.
Thanks for following along, and Merry Krampus!