Monday, April 26, 2010

Without Web Access

I am travelling this week with very limited web access (an unfortunate surprise), so there will be a delay in posting. I will be back online and posting again by the weekend. Look for a catch up of what is going on in Munich then.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Like Oktoberfest, but with much less beer


Over at the famous Theresienweise Munich is celebrating it’s annual Springfest with more than 100 rides, concession stands, and even a couple of beer tents. The event turns out to be a strange mix between fairground rides, a few beer tents, and a bit of a swap meet. I stopped by to find the event absolutely packed with people. The carnival lasts through May 2nd. Locals call it' Oktoberfest’s little sister, but I found it to lack the mystique that surrounds Oktoberfest.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pie in the Sky


In an unprecedented lock down of European airspace, most of the major European airports shut down all service as ash from the Icelandic volcano continued to cover most of Europe.  European airlines, losing approx. $200M per day cried foul on the mish mash of European regulators who control the airspace, and demanded for a unified EU approach.  Munich airport has largely been non-functional for three days.  So it was a bit of a shock to see this blimp flying all over Munich for the past few days.  European airlines are expected to reach 50% capacity by Thursday, and European governments are enlisting a broad band of holiday companies to leverage their airlines to bring travelers home.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Through the Eye of the Needle


A jet trail is visible behind the Olympiadorf, which was an amazingly rare sight in Europe on Friday.  Most air traffic came to a screeching halt throughout Northern Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia; as Icelandic volcanic ash blanketed the continent.  15 of 16 German airports were closed on Friday, and Munich was the only exception – thanks to its Southern location.  On Saturday, even Munich joined the mix – with nearly all flights cancelled.  No telling how long the delay will last, but in the meantime millions of travelers have been stranded or are taking alternate means of transportation.  This photo was taken between the arches of the Olympic complex, a design chosen because it was so unlike the Nazi era bold block construction.  There has been construction going on for the past year or so (you can see the crane), but I’ve not been able to find information on what they are building.  Anyone know?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Going Postal


I couldn’t help laughing when I saw this decal in the middle of the Deutsche Post symbol.  For those of you who don’t know this American reference of “going postal,” it comes from a spree of shootings that occurred in the 80s/90s, where postal workers for no apparent reason (beyond having the most boring job known to man) went crazy and began shooting their co-workers.  Well, despite being almost the size of the US postal service (470K vs 550K employees), I’m happy to say there’s no shooting that I know of at the Deutsche Post.  And as a private organization now operating in more than 220 countries, and as owner of DHL & Dutch TNT Post, it is the largest logistics corporation in the world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Playing Second Fiddle


Throughout Friedrich Von Gartner’s career, he was always the king’s number two architect behind Leo Von Klenze – mastermind of the Greek revival in Munich, including the Glypothek, Konigsplatz, and Ludwigstrasse.  Yet Gartner had some amazing contributions to make to Munich, including the Feldhernhalle, Siegestor, and the University building – not to mention buildings in other countries like the Helenic Parliament in Athens.  Gartner then was named director for the world renowned Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufacturing company.  This particular tribute (picture) to him sits at Gartnerplatz, with the beautiful State Theater in the background.  Of course keeping with tradition it is considered Munich’s second theater – after the Bavarian State National Theatre, next to the Residence.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bavaria’s BMW Escorted Police



Well, what else would you expect the Polizei of Munchen to drive but a BMW? With more than 32,000 police and nearly 6,000 civilian employees, Munich has one of the largest police forces in Germany.  Compared to many European cities, Munich’s crime is quite low, although there are occasional reports of murders and muggings, most often committed by youth groups around the U/S-Bahn late at night.  Actually, a significant percentage of Munich crime is committed by organized gangs from Eastern Europe.  Here are a few of the higher profile crimes in Munich over the past few decades.  In 2005, fashion designer Rudolph Moshammer was killed in his home. In 1998, Georgio Basile was released after killing 30 people, as he testified and led to the arrest of 50 Mafia numbers,  In 1994, known as the Plutonium Affair, a security person discovered 363 g of plutonium on a smuggler.  And finally, in 1972, you see the fateful day at the Olympics where Palestinian terrorists attacked the Israeli  athletes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Red Baron in Munich


Where else would you find something like a 1918 Fokker Triplane, like the one the Red Baron flew in WWI – but in the Deutsches Museum.  Although I wanted so badly for this to be one of the many planes he flew in combat, it appears it is only a similar model.  The Red Baron is so engrained in pop culture, that you see him in everything from famous movies to a Snoopy reference in the Peanuts cartoons.  But he was certainly real.  The Red Baron was a German fighter pilot named Manfred von Richthofen, who has been credited with more than 80 war time victories.  It turns out the baron was not the most acrobatic or spectacular pilot, but rather than using risky or aggressive tactics like other pilots, he strictly observed a set of maxims that assured the success of both squadron and its pilots.  In addition, he was an expert marksman from growing up hunting wild boar, elk, deer and birds.  Combine this with his approach of attacking from above with the sun blinding opposing pilots, and you have one of the most consistent pilots in WWI.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

One-on-One With the Gods


A Spring time view of the top of a “German Athens” otherwise known as the Glyptotek, the showcase of the Konigsplatz area of Munich.  The entire area was designed by King Ludwig I as the location to house all the Greek antiquities.  And although the area is absolutely stunning, it pales in comparison to the buildings in their original form.  As an example, here is a picture of the lavish Glyptotek interior before the bombing of WWII.  If Adolph Hitler had his way, you would now see a grand boulevard on Brienner Strasse (one of the original royal roads) with endless museums lining the streets all the way from Konigsplatz to the other side of the Isar river.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ahhhh. Spring


Welcome to the best time of the year in Munich.  I know, you always hear about Octoberfest and the wonderful Christmas markets, and maybe even the ski season.  They are all very nice, but nothing compares to Munich in the Spring – as this is where you can really do things outside.  This is when you can hike the alps, when you could talk to locals at neighborhood cafes (as pictured), and this is when you can visit thousands of beer gardens around the region – each one unique and with its own character.  So after a long and endless Winter, Spring has arrived in Munich.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Frohe Ostern!


In the Catholic heart of Germany, I thought I would see much more emphasis on Easter. The city of Munich and surrounding Bavaria region observed Good Friday, and Easter Monday. Many people took extended holidays as kids were out of school. However, there just seemed to be little emphasis on the holiday this year. No big festivities that I heard of, and not much mention in the news. Perhaps the entire holiday was over-shadowed with the on-going sex scandal in the Catholic Church. But when the big Easter event is a collection of Creches & Crosses at the Fishing and Hunting museum, it seems quite low profile. About the gist of Easter in Munich seemed to be the random decorations in windows throughout town (as pictured). If you had a different experience, please let me know. Perhaps I missed something or had my head buried in a chocolate Easter Egg.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Going Downhill


On March 3 I did a post on the interesting U-bahn signs that surround Munich. I was fascinated by their historical appeal. It was karin who provided all the insight I could have expected – stating that the current cool designs were done in the 70s, but were being phased out. I came across the first sign of modernization today (see picture), and I have to say that it’s a sad state of affairs. A three-year old could have designed this image, and it lacks all the sophisticated imagery that the current image has. Is there any way we can reverse the decision, with any hope of keeping the image of Munich as cool?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Where’s the Flippin Beef?


In Munich, you are likely to find pork just about anywhere you go. In fact, in most of Germany you are about to find the same. I honestly don’t know the historical significance of Germany’s love affair with swine (aside from the fact that it’s cheap), but I can tell you that to find a good steak, you might as well drive the four hours across the border into France. So I was quite surprised to see this poster in the University district – set for Cohen’s Restaurant, with the slogan of “Cohen’s Restaurant goes with everything. Except Pork.” As it turns out, it’s a traditional Jewish restaurant with the influx of Oriental & Eastern European cuisine. Oh well, where have all the good steaks in Munich gone?