Munich

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post for my 30 German Towns before 30 series, and with only 3 months to go until my birthday I really need to get a move on! Today, it’s Munich’s turn.

Marienplatz with the Old Town hall and Mariensäule (Mary's Column)
Marienplatz with the Old Town hall and Mariensäule (Mary’s Column)

The very first time I went to Munich was for Oktoberfest during my year abroad. Not knowing whether we would ever come back to Germany, Oktoberfest seemed like a must do. Unfortunately, I have zero photos of that day thanks to my dad’s girlfriend managing to delete ALL the photos from the first half of my year abroad from her computer. I only have those few photos that fit on my (at the time very small) memory card. My dad tried to make it up to me after the fact by buying me a memory card with room for over 1,000 pictures, but by then the damage was done. So no photos of ginormous beers, I’m afraid.

I went to Munich again in 2010 with Jan and a friend of ours, this time for a football match. We had plenty of time to walk around Munich before the football started, and this time there was no loss of photos! All the pictures in this post are from that occasion.

Part of the new town hall
Part of the new town hall

I’m sure most people will have heard of Munich, so I’ll keep my description of it brief. It’s the capital of and largest city in the state of Bavaria. Basically every stereotype people have of Germans (Lederhosen-wearing, huge beer-drinking, sausage eaters ring a bell?) comes from Bavaria. Almost nobody in any other state own Lederhosen (guys) or a Dirndl (girls). The part about the big beers is true for some places outside of Bavaria… but not all. Rheinland-Pfalz, for example, is more of a wine region.

More of the new town hall
More of the new town hall

Munich is a big city (population 1,378,176 in 2011!), which means a lot of traffic and a lot of people! But it is also beautiful – at least the old town is – I once had to go to the Neue Messe (exhibition centre) as part of a seminar and that area is not particularly nice!

Munich is, of course, famous for its beer (hello… it’s the home of Oktoberfest!) and there are any number of breweries and beer gardens to choose from. Here’s a photo of the Löwenbräu brewery:

Löwenbräukeller
Löwenbräukeller

Löwenbräu literally means “lion’s brew”.

The Viktualienmarkt is a daily food market and square in the centre of Munich. Apart from the usual market wares (such as fruit, vegetables and flowers) there are stands selling gourmet foods and one with freshly pressed fruit juices. Delicious! The maypole on the Viktualienmarkt features the Bavarian colours – blue and white.

Maypole1Maypole2

The football stadium in Munich is the Allianz Arena, home of the famous Bayern München. On that particular day, the match being played there was an international one – Germany vs. Argentina.

Allianz Arena
Allianz Arena

Apparantly, if FC Bayern München are playing, the arena is lit up in red, while for 1860 München it’s blue. As you can see, we got a sort of yellowish white colour.

I even managed to get a photo of someone from my own team – Jonás Gutiérrez, an Argentine national, plays for Newcastle United in the Premier League. He’s the one with the long hair.

Gutiérrez
Gutiérrez

With only a day to spare (and part of that being taken up with football) I didn’t get to spend as much time in Munich as I would have liked. And, of course, on Oktoberfest day I spent all my time in a tent drinking rather large beers, but what I’ve seen of Munich I liked. I definitely want to go back some day and check out all the things I missed… For example, the Englischer Garten is one of the world’s largest urban public parks and is supposed to be fantastic.

For some much better photos of Munich, check out Alex’s of Ifs, Ands and Butts post on touring Munich by bike.

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Frog’s legs, football and snow all in one week

You know it’s been too long since your last post when you go to WordPress only to find you’ve been logged out! (I have mine set up to keep me logged in).
In my defence though it has been a busy, busy week.

On Monday it was Jan’s birthday. He turned 30 (causing a friend of mine to say “Wow, you have an old boyfriend” when I told her. She thought he was only a year or two older than me, not 3 and a half). Thirty being a special birthday I obviously wasn’t going to let him ignore it – like he has pretty much every year since I met him! So I started asking him what he wanted to do at the end of January, and finally managed to persuade him to let me take him out for a meal. We went to a slightly more expensive than usual restaurant which we had both seen from the outside but never been in. Actually, the prices were slightly better than I thought they would be, but the total still ended up being over €100. That did include an apertif each, a bottle of wine, starter, soup, two main courses and a dessert though, so not too bad. And we tried frog’s legs. In case you were wondering no, they don’t taste like chicken! They were nice and I wouldn’t object to eating them again but it’s not something I need to do every day.
Jan has decided he’ll be having a proper party once the two of us have found a flat, so there’s still that to look forward to as well. (We are officially looking now… exciting, yes?)

On Tuesday I went out for dinner with a friend. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas and it was sooo good to meet up. This time we went for a slightly cheaper option – a bar/restaurant type place that mostly students go to. I think it was the first place I ever went for a drink in Karlsruhe, way back in my Erasmus days. That was the same year I met my friend, so we spent some time talking about homw time has flown since then… my year abroad was 2003/2004 and now we’re three months into 2010. Unbelievable!

Wednesday was the day of the long awaited Germany-Argentina match and I was right there in the stadium! A friend of Jan’s got tickets ages ago, and since I had 2 days holiday from last year that had to be taken before the end of March I decided I would go along. Some things just have to be done at least once in a life time. The match was in Munich, so Jan hired a car and we left the house at 7:30 am to drive down there. I still can’t believe I was up that early on my day off! It took us until nearly 12pm to get to Munich (damn traffic! Damn roadworks!) so the first thing we did was go and get something to eat. I had the biggest burger I’ve ever seen! That alone would have been enough for me, but it came served with homemade potato wedges (with the skin left on. Mmmm) and salad. The best thing about it though was that the gherkins and tomatoes had been left on the side of the plate, so I didn’t have to pick them out before I could start eating. It also came with three types of sauce – ketchup, mayonaise and something that may have been mustard (I didn’t try it) all of which came in proper little jars. Excellent! We then went for a wander around town, did a bit of shopping (I got a new coat) took some photos and finally headed for the stadium. Those who watched the match on TV thought it was boring and that Germany were week, but from where I was sitting it was pretty good. Germany at least seemed to try for once (number 24 played excellently!) and I enjoyed myself, despite freezing to death the whole way throguh – the Allianz Arena is completely open and unheatable! Germany lost 1-0, which is a shame, but the goal was so pathetic that they almost deserved it. We left Munich after the match and drove back to Karlsruhe, finally arriving at just after 3 am. I’m very glad I didn’t have to work on Thursday!

Last night we were invitied to a friend’s place for a DVD evening, to celebrate Jan’s birthday. We watched Office Space, which is funny if a little strange in places. By the time we left (at just after 2am) it had started to snow. Not the nice kind of snow either, horrible little flakes that are basically just freezing rain… and all blown about by a nasty cold wind. We missed the tram as well, but luckily our friend has a car so he gave us a lift home. We went straight to bed when we got in, then woke up this morning to find it was still snowing (at least I did, it’s now 1:20 pm and Jan’s still in bed!). Snow in March is unheard of for Karlsruhe, and it’s meant to continue for the rest of the weekend. And there was me thinking Spring was on its way.

That was my week. Very enjoyable, but now it’s time to get back to the boring stuff. Housework and my dissertation are calling…