Thursday, December 23, 2010

Frohe Weihnachten

Without being politically incorrect I'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a joyful holiday season. Whether or not everyone celebrates Christmas is besides the point since Bavaria itself is very Catholic. This time of year it's wonderful for reflection and certainly everyone can appreciate the slower pace of life to enjoy family, friends, foods, and fun. The important things in life.

I will be enjoying those things as well and will spend much of the holidays in foreign lands, so I will resume posting after the New Year. Safe and happy holidays to everyone and thank you for your support!

Frozen Bar

Not much of the city's snow lingers, except where a restaurant has made a snow bar outside. Much of Europe and Germany remains to be struggling with the snow and delayed flights. Here's to hoping you're all safely where you will be celebrating Christmas or any another festive holiday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The heavily trafficked, but not heavily touristed, Tollwood helps to make use of the Oktoberfest grounds throughout December. It's a very different type of Christmas market centering more around hand made items, green living, and more global outlook. There are many vendors selling foods and wares from different cultures. It's worth checking out, especially since it's interesting to see the dichotomy between conservative Bavaria and it's more liberal corners. Tollwood is open until the end of the year culminating with a New Years Eve bash.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Tannenbaum

People search for the perfect Christmas tree in the middle of the city. Nordmanns appear to be quite popular, although the trees come in many varieties, shapes, and sizes.

Traditionally the tree is put up on Christmas Eve, the 24th of December, and may remain until the 7th of January. Many Christmas traditions date back to Germany, however it seems like a lot of rushing around on Christmas Eve between getting a tree ready, having a visit from Christkind, going to Mass, and figuring out how to have time to cook something for dinner. Many families traditionally have wurst, which seems a bit uneventful.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Horse Drawn Carriage

A young girl greets the horses at the Chinese Tower Christmas market where they take people on a ride through the park. It's certainly worth going for a stroll through our very own Winter Wonderland, which will soon give way to unseasonably warm weather.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Naughty & Nice

The Krampus weren't through with Munich just yet. On lookers appreciated the run through the city, although many children were slightly traumatized. I can only imagine what those who never heard of this tradition thought about these demonic looking creatures wrecking havoc. The tourists seemed to enjoy it nonetheless.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Munich 2018

The 2018 Winter Olympic campaign was in full effect in the Marienhof complete with a hot air balloon today. Somewhat ironic is the area where the balloon is currently standing will be demolished in the coming months to make way for the new S-bahn line that has Haidhausen in an uproar.

While plenty of people would gladly love to host the olympics here, thus making it the first city to host both summer and winter olympics, farmers in Garmisch-Partenkirchen are already stating they won't be giving up their land.

It's a rocky start to the bid and clearly will be interesting to see what happens. The winner will be announced 6 July 2011. Other areas in the running include Annecy, France and Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Simply spent

Kaufingerstraße is blanketed with snow and pedestrians as they scavenge the shops for the perfect gift. It's easy to get wrapped up in the season of giving that quickly turns to consumerism, however time is the most precious gift that can't be bought, but simply spent.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

S-bahn freeze

With day after day of snow and freezing temperatures some of the S-bahns have had issues running on schedule. It looks like the coming week will create more sludge and leave us all guessing as to whether or not this will be a white Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cirkus Krone

Dedicated fans lined up in the freezing temperatures before entering the Cirkus Krone to watch local band and Munich favorite Sportfreunde Stiller in their last tour performance of the year. This venue traditionally houses Europe's largest circus and provides a very unique concert site.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Costs of Christmas

While recently perusing a German financial magazine I read a small blurb stating many market vendors make 50,000 euros during the Christmas Markets, proving this is certainly a big business. It does make sense considering the glühwein mark up is so steep. Many of the christmas wares are also imported from less expensive countries, like Poland.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Manger Markt

One of Germany's largest Manger markets is located at the Rindermarkt. There people can stock up on the most intricate pieces to add to their sprawling mangers. Those accents don't come cheap. Pictured here a small metal milk jug costs 3 euros.

Shortly before the year 1600 is when the Christmas mangers started to make their appearance in Munich. Some cities around Germany even have living nativities.

Those with an interest in these carefully planned nativities may enjoy the Krippenweg tours around the churches downtown, which goes until early February 2011.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Santa, Christkind, and Nicholas are characters that don't always bridge cultural boundaries. In Germany, Christkind brings the gifts, Nicholas visits on December 6th, and Santa is only seen on packaging - or occasionally wheeling his blinking tricked out bike through Marienplatz.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shopping Exodus

Shoppers in the city are out in full force. It's a good thing glühwein stands are only a few steps away from the heavily trafficked stores, because continually bumping into people is slightly more tolerable with a warm mulled wine in your hand provided it doesn't spill, of course.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Fruits

Cherries, clementines, pomegranates, and fresh dates seem to be the fruits of choice through the winter months. Christmas is a time of simple pleasures and an excuse to splurge on luxury ingredients.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Wishes

The German stuffed toy company Steiff always puts on a show in the downtown store front windows. The scenes include moving animals and adorable children deciding the gifts they hope Christkind brings. Here's to hoping they aren't too disappointed when the toys don't move on their own.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


While the Christmas markets must be visited to truly be experienced, lebkuchen and glühwein spices are easy gifts to send to loved ones that aren't able to be here. There are an endless variety of Christmas cookies available, although it appears some grocery stories have any already dwindling stock.

Learning to Skate

Getting onto the ice can be tricky, but it's the perfect family evening activity. Even smaller children get a bit of assistance from the pushable polar bears that offer a bit of support.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas glow

The view from the Alte Peter down below is quite beautiful at this time of year. The markets radiate and through the next couple days we'll have nicer weather making it not so cold way up high. It's a great place to go to see the city glow.

Monday, December 6, 2010


This advent calendar for cats is too funny not to share. It really demonstrates the importance of the advent calendar in Germany and how much people adore their pets. Each day was filled with a different kind of treat, so Trixie won't be left out. There was also one for rabbits. I'm assuming the dog calendars were sold out.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Krampus Run

One of my favorite aspects of the Christmas Market was this afternoon - the Krampus Run. It's a bizarre, yet fun ritual that focuses on the darker aspect of Christmas with the Sparifankerl Pass.

The creepy Krampus inspire everyone to behave and this alpine tradition goes back some 500 years. Krampus was theoretically a friend of St. Nicholas who helped take care of those that didn't stay in line.

If you missed the run today, don't fret - there will be another Krampus run throughout the Marienplatz and Manger Markt at the Rindermarkt on December 19th from 4:00-5:00pm. Be forewarned that if you look naughty the Krampus might just give you a smack with their switches.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

MJ in the snow

The holidays in Germany are a great time of reflection and it truly appears that no one is forgotten. The odd shrine to Michael Jackson outside the Bayerischer Hof has stayed current with the seasonal theme and festive decor. He even has his very own 'little Christmas tree'. I wonder if it is there in dedication to his aptly titled song. There's no telling what other gifts will be left throughout the month.

Friday, December 3, 2010


The town hall carolers gather for some live musical entertainment for those enjoying the Christmas market down below each day from 5:30-6:00pm. It certainly makes for an even more festive feeling evening to bring in the weekend.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Window Shopping

Many of the stores around the city are doing their very best to market their wares to consumers. With Germany having such a strong economy shops are expecting increased sales and higher profits to end the year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taking it to the Streets

Before the strong snow fall students took to the streets for equality in education. This seems to be a hot topic in Germany and many complain there is a caste like system that is oppressive. Here's to hoping they are successful in their wishes and changes can make things more democratic.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


With the beginning of Advent different calendars are popping up all around the city in shop windows. The tradition of advent calendars began here in Germany back in the 19th century and is a very beloved tradition to get into the holiday spirit. Many office workers have a calendar on their desk usually filled with chocolates for a daily pick me up.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Delayed Flights

It appears as though not everyone was ready for the heavy snowfall. Flights were delayed throughout much of Europe - including at our very own Franz Josef. At least four plows were making their way through to help planes arrive safely at the gates.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

White Roofs

This year the city received an early blanketing of snow, which has resulted in an early start to the Winter season. Here's to another year of enjoying glühwein and chestnuts.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


One of Mozart's very first performances was actually in this fine city in 1762 for Maximillian II. He traversed through many times and even lived in Munich for a very short time, from November 1780 until March 1781. The location of his house has been marked, but it was one of many destroyed during WWII in 1944.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mad Scientist

Bright colors aren't often seen in the city. People prefer the city uniform of dark tones and mostly black. It's interesting to see splashes of rebellion on one of my favorite streets.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Sometimes Munich likes to decorate unsightly scaffolding with decorative pieces or ads. It's always fascinating to look at the multiple layers of the city and consider the history that becomes renewed. We have several vacant spaces in the city center, so it will be interesting to see what appears next or if they will be the next to start anew.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Art Cars

For some very unique and special paint jobs the BMW World has a fantastic display of various car models decorated by world renowned artists. It's great to check out the museums in the area for some indoor culture as the snow blows into town.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Flower vendors around the city are gearing up for Advent and the colder temperatures. With the long dark days upon us it's a simple pick me up to have fresh flowers or plant life around at home.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Many of Munich's subway stations have undergone transformations and modernizations in the past couple years. Here is Münchener Freiheit's interior with its fluorescent hilighter color scheme and reflective ceiling. This is one of the arteries of Schwabing and has been open since May 1972.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Schloß Possenhofen

Schloß Possenhofen at Starnberger See was once inhabited by Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria and his family. His daughter is the greatly beloved Kaiserin Elisabeth von Österreich was also known as Sissi. Around the holiday season the movie Sissi is frequently on TV.

The castle itself was built back in 1536. It is now privately held and the rooms are not open to visitors, except for a museum to Sissi, which can be visited during the summer months..

Friday, November 19, 2010

Matte Black

The new trend in cars here seems to be the incognito matte jet black color. In a span of 3 minutes multiple people passed and uttered the same comment ' geil'.

Incidentally, upon visiting several German automaker's factories, I'm told the sky is the limit in terms of paint colors. Any color can be matched - for a price.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The North tower of the Frauenkirche is undergoing a bit of renovation. In the past couple of years it seems one of the towers is covered with scaffolding. There are conflicting reports as to the differences in the dome heights. Some say there is a meter difference, while others say it's a mere 12 centimeters. One thing is for certain, the domes were inspired by those seen on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The mythological Wolpertinger is certainly a sight to be seen. The Hunting and Fishing Museum has an extensive collection of these unique creatures, which are always a combination of body parts from various animals. They are said to inhabit the Bavarian Alps, so next time you head into the mountains keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Living in Munich people quickly realize it's a highly desirable place to be. Property isn't cheap and there are continually building projects going on around the city. One such building project is attempting to revitalize the area around the Ostbahnhof, which is infamous for junkies, prostitutes, and Kunstpark. It's rather amazing this area hasn't been developed sooner, because there is so much land from the old factories. It will be interesting to see how this new neighborhood (Rund um den Ostbahnhof aka 'Rost') evolves.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ice Skating

The ice skating rink is being constructed at Karlsplatz. It's anyone's guess if the Winter will be mild, although if the fantastic Autumn we've had is any indication it may foreshadow an equally warmer Winter.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weihnacht decor

Many stands at the Viktualienmarkt have gotten a jump start on the Christmas decor before the markets open up around the city at the end of the month. Each year it seems as though as soon as Oktoberfest ends Christmas begins to creep in, which is one of the downfalls of not having another celebratory holiday between the two.

Friday, November 12, 2010

St. Martin's Day

Tiny lanterns and tiny people filled the streets last night as children walked through the city in honor of St. Martin's Day. The traditional food eaten in St. Martin's honor is goose and cabbage and several bakeries even had pastries shaped like geese (Martinsgänse) throughout the day. The geese represent Martin's hesitation to become bishop. Supposedly when he went into hiding they gave away his location to church officials.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today at 11:11 was the Fasching Coronation of Prince Ahmad I. and Princess Sandra II. at Marienplatz. People gathered to celebrate with beer, sekt, and music.

Ahmad (26) hails from Afghanistan and Sandra (24) is a Münchener Kindl. Together they will celebrate with the Faschingsgesellschaft Würmesia in a variety of events.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oldest Tavern

I don't write about restaurants unless they have a historical significance, which is why the Hundskugel shows up here. Not far from Marienplatz is the oldest tavern in Munich dating back to 1440. With only 40 seats I'm told it's rather cosy inside, however I have only admired the quaint Alpinesque exterior. The lit stars above the street make their appearance from late Autumn through the Winter and the entire area is particularly charming when snow covers the ground.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Museum Island

It's hard to image the small museum island as a wooded area, however it was the source of many of the wooden rafts that floated down the Isar. Nowadays the wooden rafts are used purely for entertainment through the summer months.

Oskar von Miller was the engineer that founded the Deutsches Museum on this spot back in 1903.

Monday, November 8, 2010


The obelisk at Karolinenplatz has been standing 29 meters tall since 1833 and serves as a memorial to Bavarian soldiers that died during the Napoleonic war. The plaza has many tales to tell and is also home to the former Bruckmann-House.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


The unseasonably warm weather leads to unbelievably beautiful sunsets. This was the scene this evening. Now that day light savings time is over you might have to skip out early tomorrow in order to see nature's splendor. Hopefully we'll get an equally as impressive show and another mellow night to start the weekend right.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The Deutsches Museum is a treasure trove for science enthusiasts. It also happens to be the largest science and technology museum in the world, so if you go be prepared to spend some time.

The transportation wing is particularly interesting. The cut away of a Lufthansa plane is on display allowing spectators to see how far planes have come since the Wright Brothers original standard model A, which is also part of the Deutsches Museum's collection.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Souls

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” - Norman Cousins

The Catholic holiday of All Souls Day is celebrated today. It's a time of reflection for those that have passed. St. Odilo of Cluny started this tradition way back in 998 and the tradition spread around Western Europe and throughout the world.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Munich is always a patron to the arts and right now the entire city resembles a Bob Ross painting. The happy little trees are glowing everywhere and the vibrant colors are an inspiration to artists and nature lovers.