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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Wheelchair rugby

Today, we went to see a game of wheelchair rugby.
We first heard that such a thing existed about three years ago, but until now every time we thought about going to see it, the game in Karlsruhe turned out to be on a day that we weren’t actually here. This year, things worked out, and we were able to see a Champion’s League match between Karlsruhe Rebels and Switzerland (I originally thought it was the final, but having just looked at the schedule, I see there are still two more days of games to go).

Wheelchair rugby 1

The basic aim of the game is to score points by driving over the goal line in your wheelchair. There are cones at each end of the line, which you have to drive through. The team defending aims to stop the players on the attacking team from getting to said goal line and driving over it. They can do this by bashing into the opposing team member’s wheelchair, but actual body contact is not allowed.

In the photo below, the person holding the ball has just driven over the line, scoring a goal for his team:

Wheelchair rugby 2

After a goal is scored, the ball is given to the opposing team for a throw in. That team is then in attack and has the chance to try and score a goal. The attacking team has 12 seconds in which to get the ball over the half-way line – if they don’t manage it, they lose possession. The player with the ball is allowed to hold on to it for 10 seconds at a time – after that, they either have to bounce the ball or pass it to a team mate. Fouls are penalised wither with a time out – the player who committed the foul has to sit out wither for a specified length of time or until the opposing team scores a goal (a bit like the sin bin in Rugby Union), or with a “penalty goal”, which basically means the team that was fouled against has a certain length of time to try and score a goal and, during that time, the opposing team cannot defend against them. Other rules are that only three players from the defending team at a time can be in the rectangle in front of the goal line at one time, and attacking players can only stay in that same zone for 10 seconds each.

My pictures aren’t brilliant, but I hope they’re good enough to give you an idea of what’s going on. Here’s one of a member of the Swiss team about to score a goal:

Wheelchair rugby 3

The match we saw started off quite tame – it seemed a little too easy to score a goal, and the Swiss team were clearly inferior, but after a while things picked up a bit, they figured out how to effectively defend against the Rebels and it got a lot more interesting. There was certainly more instances of wheelchairs banging into each other in a manner that reminded me of the dodgems at the funfair!

It wasn’t as violent as I’d been lead to expect from watching YouTube videos, but it was an interesting game to watch and it was quite easy to work out what was going on (definitely an advantage over ordinary rugby!)

Entry to the game cost nothing, so if I’m not busy when there’s another match in Karlsruhe I would certainly consider going along again. There are much worse ways to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon!

Wheelchair rugby 4

The games we play

I still haven’t decided what to do with the photos I’m taking for my 101 things challenge. Various people have suggested Flickr, which is ok but annoys me for 2 reasons. 1) They now force you to get a Yahoo account to log in to Flickr. Any what if I didn’t actually want a Yahoo account?! and 2) The free account only allows you to put up 200 photos. Which is fine, but I am clearly going to need to put up more than 200 photos for this challenge. Obviously I won’t be putting up all 50 every time, but I have 33 themes to get through! At the moment Flickr seems to be the best (read as only!) idea I have, but maybe I’ll come up with something.

In the meantime, since a few people have shown interest, I thought I would post one or two of the photos from this months challenge right here on Confuzzledom. Most of them aren’t particularly good, but you did ask… and now you have to suffer 😉

Clock Patience. I lost this game.
Clock Patience. I lost this game.
Game of rugby anyone?
Game of rugby anyone?
Shoot, shoot, shoot!
Shoot, shoot, shoot!
Poor elephant has noone to play with...
Poor elephant has noone to play with...
help, a UFO! Oh no, it's just a frisbee
Help, a UFO! Oh no, it's just a frisbee

OK, that’s all folks. I have more but I don’t want to use up all my photo space in one blog post…

The “ultimate” game

I played frisbee this afternoon. No, not standing around in a circle throwing a plastic disc. Ultimate frisbee. Basically the aim is to get the frisbee from one end of the field to the other. The person with the frisbee isn’t allowed to move but has to look for a member of his team to pass to. Once the team have reached the other end of the field they need to catch the frisbee in the “end zone” to score a point. Obviously the other team aren’t just standing around while all this is happening. Their job is to try and get the frisbee back so that they can have a go at trying to score aa point. It’s a non-contact sport, so no taking the frisbee out of each other’s hands allowed, but they can try to catch it, knock it to the ground and just generally get in the way of the person trying to get the frisbee. So really you spend 90% of the game trying desperately to get free of your marker and only 10% catching and throwing the frisbee (which under official rules is called a disc by the way). We played for about an hour and a half. That’s a lot of running! Especially when you have a cold. I spent the first 15 minutes of the game barely able to breathe. Things got better later on though and I actually had fun. Despite the fact that I haven’t played for at least half a year I did reasonably well. My throwing wasn’t completely off, I managed a few good catches and unusually I was marking someone I could actually vaguely keep up with. Plus it gave me a chance to get some much needed exercise. I bet I’ll be aching all over tomorrow though. A long hot shower shall be in order tonight methinks.

And now I need to go and collect me tea from the oven. I’ve made a yummy looking potato bake with lots of grated cheese on top. After all, what’s the point of exercising if you’re not going to treat yourself to something nice and fattening afterwards? 😉

Things to do when you’re bored

My stats are telling me that those people that aren’t enquiring about Joachim Loew (please can someone explain to me what the obsession is?) mostly find my blog via Google searches for things like “I am bored”, “I’m getting bored” or “so bored now”. Unfortunately my blog isn’t very interesting, so all these poor bored Googlers probably went away feeling even worse than when they’d started. But just in case any of them does decide to stop for long enough to actually read something on my blog I thought I’d compile a list of things to do when you’re bored.

  1. Read a book. If you’re not normally much of a reader try getting hold of a book that a film you like was based on. The books are almost always as good if not better than the film. Stephen King’s The Green Mile for example is an excellent book, and one of the few I’ve read where the film actually stuck to the plot. If you’re female and enjoyed the film Beaches, see if you can get hold of the book by Iris Rainer Dart. Much, much, much better than the film.
  2. Go somewhere. If you have a bike go for ride, otherwise take a walk. Even in the smallest of villages there’s always somewhere you can walk. Take your mp3 player with you if you like and listen to your favourite music while breathing in the fresh air. Maybe you’ll find something else to do on your travels – a football game you can join in or a new shop to look in. You won’t be bored anymore and you’ll be getting some exercise. Double bonus!
  3. If you can afford it, try getting on the train or bus and going somewhere new for a day trip. You could even go by car if you have one. Take a trip to a nearby town that you’ve nevr been to before, take a look around and see what’s there. Or go to the zoo or sealife centre. Always fun, no matter what your age.
  4. Learn a new language. There are plenty of websites where you can learn the basics for free. To start you off here’s the URL for the BBC languages website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/
    If you don’t feel like learning one language properly try learning four words in a few languages: Hello, goodbye, please, thank you. Brilliant for impressing the locals on your next holiday! They’ll be so much more friendly if you can thank them in their own language…
  5. If you’re not interested languages there are plenty of other skills out there waiting for you to discover them. You could learn to knit, or the art of paper folding or even teach yourself to play an instrument. The possibilities are endless.
  6. Start a blog. Write about whatever comes into your head. Before you know it loads of time will have passed.
  7. Bake a cake. Always fun, and you get to eat it afterwards. The only part that isn’t so fun is cleaning up the mess you make…
  8. Write a letter. It’s all about e-mails these days and hardly anyone sends proper post anymore. Sending snail mail is guaranteed to brighten up someone’s day as well as making you feel less bored.
  9. Play a game. A board game or a card game. Get your whole family to join in. Games nights are a lot of fun.
  10. Take an Open University course. They have so many there’s sure to be something you’ll like!
  11. Go out ans get some exercise. Join a gym or a football club. Take salsa lessons. Go jogging or take up yoga. There’s bound to be some kind of sporting activity you’ll like doing.
  12. If you really can’t think of anything better to do watch a DVD or play a computer game.
  13. Take a nap. You can’t be bored when you’re sleeping…

That’s all for now. I’m sure there are many more things I do when I’m bored, but right now I can’t think of them. If anyone else has any suggestions feel free to leave them in my comments. Maybe the next time a bored person stumbles across my blog they’ll find something more interesting to do than telling Google how bored they are…