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November 2004

Christmas sprees

Head out of Munich for a shopping weekend with a difference

Braving Munich’s crowded pedestrian zone is tough at the best of times. But, come November, when people’s thoughts turn to Christmas shopping, it seems as if the whole of Bavaria, not to mention half of Japan and America, is on the city’s streets. So why put yourself through the misery? Grab your credit card, a big shopping bag and head out of the city for a Christmas shopping weekend with a difference. Salzburg The hills are alive, with the sound of purses jingling. Yes, when it comes to retail therapy (not to mention the scenery) Salzburg is a clear rival of its Bavarian neighbor. Whether you head to the Getreidegasse—the city’s most famous shopping street—for stocking fillers from the likes of Louis Vuitton or Escada, or you prefer something more traditional, the city is not short on variety. How about a wax figurine or some Lebkuchen from the city’s famous wax worker and gingerbread maker, Johann Nagy (Sterneckstrasse 22, Or pick up a custom-made belt from Schliesselberger Leder (Lederergasse 5), where prices start at around € 30. Need a present for the lady who has almost everything? Then head to Delarue, at Sigmund-Haffner Gasse 7, which stocks the hard-to-find Salvatore Ferragamo scarves. Or follow in the footsteps of Marlene Dietrich, straight to Lanz (Schwarzstrasse 4,, for traditional Austrian clothing items. If that’s not her cup of tea, you can’t go wrong with a bit of bling. Try the jewelry workshops in the medieval buildings in Steingasse and Goldgasse for an exclusive gem. Music buffs, on the other hand, would be sure to appreciate a gift from Bootleg Records, a cult shop at Giselakai 15. If all else fails, then the Trödlerstube at Linzergasse 50 is sure to have something to suit most tastes, with its huge selection of secondhand curiosities. Warm yourself up with a mug of Glühwein at Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt, held around the cathedral (Am Dom) and on the Residenzplatz from November 18 to December 24 ( Where to Stay • If you’re going to get any serious shopping done, you have to be in the right frame of mind. It’s therefore completely legitimate to indulge a bit—and what better way to do so than by staying at a luxury hotel, such as the five-star Hotel Altstadt Radisson SAS? This 14th-century building began life as an inn, before becoming a synagogue and then, in 1992, a luxury hotel. If you’re someone who appreciates those little extras, you’ll love the umbrellas, brushes and shoe-horns provided in every room. The hotel is offering MUNICH FOUND readers a 10 percent discount on its Kuschelpackage, which normally costs € 279 per person and includes two nights bed and breakfast in a romantic suite, cake, fruit and champagne on arrival, a five-course candlelit dinner with a bottle of wine, a carriage tour through Salzburg and a 24-hour Salzburg card. Guests are asked to present a copy of the magazine on arrival at the hotel. Hotel Altstadt Radisson SAS, Judenstrasse 15/ Rudolfskai 28, Tel. ++43 662 84 85 71, • For something more quaint, head out of town to Gasthof Auerhahn (15 minutes by bus from the center, or a 25-minute walk), which has all the atmosphere of a traditional Austrian country house. The guesthouse is renowned for its restaurant, which specializes in Austrian cuisine, and for its in-house wine cellar, featuring more than 150, mostly Austrian, wines. Double rooms cost € 41 per person, and singles € 46. From November 4 to 14 the restaurant is holding a goose and duck week. Four-course set meals cost € 32 (€ 52 with matching wines); five-course extravaganzas will set you back € 43 (€ 66 with matching wines). Gasthof Auerhahn, Bahnhofstrasse 15, Tel. ++43 662 451052, Where to Eat • While you’re picking up some designer treats in Getreidegasse, why not go the whole hog and stop for lunch in the Goldener Hirsch, a favorite haunt of the local upper-class. The impressive dining hall gives you the feeling you’ve stepped back in time into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Three courses without wine cost approx. € 50. Advance booking is essential. Goldener Hirsch, Getreidegasse 37, Tel. ++43 662 808 48 61, • Small is beautiful at Fleischlaberl—the menu, the prices (three courses for less than € 15) and the restaurant itself, with just ten tables. What this place is big on, however, is quality and portions. Fleischlaberl, 11 Kapitelgasse, Tel. ++43 66 28 41 38 Stuttgart Stuttgart may not spring to mind as the most exciting destination for a weekend away. But when it comes to shopping, it’s got a lot going for it. For starters there’s a Habitat. Ok, so it’s been going for decades, but no stylish Christmas would be complete without some of its funky decorations and wrapping paper, to say nothing of presents. Of course it would seem extravagant to go all the way to Stuttgart just for one shop. So while you’re there, have a peek at some of the unique jewelry on offer at Günter Krauss, a member of the Diamonds International Academy in New York (Kronprinzstrasse 21, or, for the man in your life, pick up some classy smoking accessories at the Alte Tabakstube at Schillerplatz 4. If you’re after something at the cheaper end of the scale, go hunting for festive bargains at the designer factory shop mecca just down the road at Metzingen, where you can delve through cut-price mountains of Bally, Escada, Boss, Joop, Strenesse and much more (see, under Fabrikverkauf). Where to Stay • If you consider yourself one of the select few, try getting a room at the romantic Theaterpension. The landlady is so keen that only the nicest people should stay at the hotel that she selects guests according to how pleasant they are. Many regulars are actors, so either they’re really nice people or, well, they’re just good at putting it on. Single rooms cost between € 39 and € 49; doubles cost between € 56 and € 67. Theaterpension, Pfizerstrasse 12, Tel. (0711) 24 97 22 • Another top tip is Der Zauberlehrling, where each one of the nine rooms is a work of art. Indeed, their names are intriguing enough, from Black Box to Wolke 7 (cloud 7), which has a circular bed and an illuminated bath. As if that weren’t enough, the restaurant runs a number of specials, from finger food served by candlelight in your room to a whole lobster with truffle pasta or local traditional favorites such as Swabian Maultaschen. Rooms cost between € 100 and € 280. Der Zauberlehrling, Rosenstrasse 38, Tel. (0711) 237 77 70, Where to Eat • There’s no better way to prepare yourself for a day’s shopping than with a hearty breakfast. And there’s no better place to get one than at Cibo Matto (crazy food). This bar was opened by a couple of music managers who traveled the world, collecting gourmet ideas (hence its name). Diners are given a strip of paper, some 40-cm-long, and simply have to tick off the delights they fancy. Cibo Matto, Wilhelmsplatz 11, Tel. (0711) 236 98 51 • If your tastes are more traditional, try Weinstube Vetter, which offers a mix of Mediterranean specialties and Swabian classics. The restaurant is young, light and modern, and extremely popular. Reservations are recommended. Weinstube Vetter, Bopserstrasse 4, Tel. (0711) 24 19 16 Heidelberg Slightly further afield, but still feasible for a weekend, Heidelberg is possibly the charm capital of Germany. That’s not to say that it’s full of tourist tack. Ok, so you’re unlikely to make it down the pedestrian zone without encountering parties of Japanese tourists, but the city’s international mix of students, US army staff and employees at the two big international computer companies in the region has given it a certain cosmopolitan flair. And, if it’s shoes you’re after, you’re in the right place. Heidelberg’s pedestrian zone, reputed to be the longest in Europe, is littered with shoe shops. Otherwise, Bellobene is worth a try for a good selection of household accessories, Vinyl Only Schallplattern (Hauptstrasse 133) stocks a tremendous selection of records and CDs and you shouldn’t miss the toy shops, again on the main street, for a great choice of gifts for the kids, from traditional to modern. Heading off the beaten track, Heidelberg’s Zuckerladen (Plöck 52) is perhaps the city’s most famous store—an old, traditional sweet shop packed to the brim with young and old, ordering from the big glass jars behind the counter. A great place to look for watches, old and new, is Classic Times at Marktplatz 2, where the owner is passionate about all things that tick. A good selection of antiques, many at extremely reasonable prices, can be found in shops along the Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage. Where to Stay • If you’ve cash to splash, the Europäischer Hof is Heidelberg’s number one spot. Sheer luxury awaits, not to mention culinary treats in the hotel’s restaurant. Rooms cost between € 225 and € 525. Europäischer Hof, Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 1, Tel. (06221) 51 50, • For something more down to earth, try Hotel Krokodil, in the Weststadt, one of Heidelberg’s most desirable areas. Apart from its clean, spacious rooms and extensive breakfast buffet, the hotel’s biggest advantage is the fact that it’s located directly above the Krokodil restaurant and bar, which serves big portions of good German food to a young, hip crowd. Be warned: this place fills up fast, so make sure you book early, both for the hotel and the restaurant. Hotel Krokodil, Kleinschmidtstrasse 12, Tel. (06221) 240 59 Where to Eat • In need of a stiff drink to recover from a day’s retail therapy? Head straight from the shops to the ultra-cool Bar 1 (so cool, in fact, that its sign is a light projection onto the pavement outside), where the cocktails are good enough to rival those of Herr Schumann himself. And what’s more, they’re a far sight cheaper, especially during happy hour (6 pm to 8 pm), when each one costs € 4.50 and comes with a miniature plate of pasta. Bar 1, Kettengasse 6–8, Tel. (06221) 18 00 01 • Schnitzel fans may find it worth traveling to Heidelberg just for the food. The Alte Münz (known locally as the Schnitzelhaus) on the banks of the Neckar is a cult establishment, which offers more than 100 different kinds of schnitzel, from the classic in breadcrumbs, to schnitzel in a cornflake crust or schnitzel with chocolate sauce. Most are priced at around just € 7, and portions are huge. Satisfaction is guaranteed. Alte Münz, Neckarmünzplatz 10, Tel. (06221) 43 46 43

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