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.