Their brogues and their cheer and their utter joy


after all these years

I’ve connected with friends via social media and even met quite a few people face-to-face who I’d first connected with online. I was rather active on twitter back before it seemed to be mostly brands and marketing accounts, and between that and writing a tea blog, I made the acquaintance of quite a few of the no-longer-stranger sort of people who now inhibit my online village. It’s nothing particularly new, but it is funny when I’m asked where I know someone from and I sheepishly mention that we met via the web.
But this isn’t one of those stories. Not in the least. The guys on either side of me in the photo above are two geezers that I met back when we were all still kids. Not that I was particularly close to either of them back then, but thanks to social media being what it is they reconnected with mutual friends the way one does. Soon enough, we were similarly connected & there were the usual polite offers of, ‘Hey, whenever you’re in Munich, you should definitely get in touch.

Yes, of course. Like that was ever going to happen.

Well, it happened.

They flew in from Aberdeen for the weekend and I gave them my informal tour of Bavarian capital’s city centre. Of course there were libations and stories and political discussions and eventually a bit of the local fare. The afternoon became evening and the time somehow flew by as if we’d somehow been in contact all these years. It was that good. I could give you a list of superlatives about how intriguing and enjoyable the conversation was, but I’m not sure my words would do it justice.

We’d all heard about the horrible events in Paris the previous night. I suppose it might’ve been understandable if we were somehow morose or somber even, but I don’t think the thought ever crossed our collective minds.

Here were two guys – Jamie on the left and Martin on the right – whose lives were indescribably enriched by visiting our boisterous and slightly off-kilter art school back when we thought we’d figured it all out. Little did they know how much they’d brought to the table. That we world-wise and somewhat jaded American musicians and dancers and artists and writers had been just as grateful to meet these guys with their brogues and their cheer and their utter joy.

Of course the conversation veered to mutual friends we had lost. It was inevitable but somehow cathartic. They wanted more stories and I was happy to provide them. There was a tale they’d heard about something that I’d done at a funeral. I sheepishly assured them it was true. Guilty, as charged.

After safely depositing them back at their hotel, I walked the quiet streets back toward mine. What a curious and precious thing this is. All of it. Might sound cliche, but don’t take it for granted. Breathe in deeply and lean in. You’ll be glad you did.

How did the American get on the roof of the toilet?


one of our local papers this morning

This blog has been only about refugees lately, and as much as I’m still obsessed with the topic (more on that another time), there’s so much else going on. Other things need to be dealt with. And quickly. 

For example: people climbing objects in public & standing on said objects. Like in the photo above. 

The headline reads: ‘How did the American get on the roof of the toilet?

My strong suspicion is that he climbed up there. The question they probably wanted to ask was: What on earth was he thinking when he decided to scale the toilet inside the tent at the Oktoberfest? Why indeed. 

Good question. 

It is the Oktoberfest. There are plenty of similar stories during these two weeks. 

The curious thing is this isn’t the only instance of something like this happening these days. Not just in Munich & not just during this exceptional time of year.

While scrolling through my feed on a social media site, which I choose not to mention by name, I saw a photo of a rather curvaceous woman naked from the waist down standing on a pay phone with multiple police officers below apparently trying to coax her to come down. 

Despite the outlandishness of the visual, my immediate reaction was, ‘Where did they find a pay phone? I’ve not seen one of those in ages.

Once I got over that shock, I could move on to the more pressing question. Specifically, why are people climbing atop such objects?

Is this part of the Zeitgeist & I missed the memo? Should I be climbing on things & belligerently refusing to come down? That’d certainly make this blog more entertaining at the very least. 

I’m not going to include the image here of the woman I’ve mentioned. Nevertheless, I’m confident if you type ‘naked woman on top of pay phone‘, you’ll locate it rather easily. But you should probably do that soon. My suspicion is the web is going to be flooded with this stuff before you know it. 

At the Marienplatz in the wee hours


at the Marienplatz in the wee hours

Before even most locals are awake & certainly the tourists are still dozing, this might be the nicest time of day to be wandering through the streets of Munich.  

The light is certainly nice for photos, and there’s an expectancy in the air. What might this day in Bavaria’s capital hold in store for us? 

Why not start at the Marienplatz. There’s plenty of hidden Munich you can discover nearby, but here’s as good a place as any to begin your exploration. More soon on local things off the beaten track. 

Somehow empty without her 

Joking about the statue having her own action figure on social media, I got plenty of questions about exactly where she was.
At the entrance to the western side of the Ludwigsbrücke that goes over the Isar River in Munich there are several pylons, each of which has its own statue. There are two pylons on the other side of the street, and this one’s twin was destroyed in 1944. 
Early Saturday morning before the city had awakened, I was walking in the silence. Upon looking up, I saw her poised with her legs crossed. Wondering to myself what her story was, I did the most cursory of internet searches and found this:

Elmar Dietz sculpted the Allegory of Art, which was completed in 1979. 

Really? I was a bit surprised she hadn’t been sitting pretty facing away from the river for much longer. This spot must have seemed somehow empty without her. 

There’s so much you miss if you forget to look up


While waiting for public transport earlier, I looked up & this is what I saw. Tell me what’s wrong with this again. Nothing, I tell you. 

This is coincidentally where I was standing last summer after the German national football team won their fourth World Cup. What a night that was. 

Back to normal, though. Isn’t it nice when normal can be so alluring. 

It’s going to be a great springtime & apparently summer’s not too far off. Never too terribly hot here, thankfully. 

When in doubt, look up. There’s so much you miss if you forget to look up

I ate the Donut Burger, so you wouldn’t have to

Food trucks have made their way to Munich. They’re not quite brand new, but they’re relatively fresh on the scene.

So, there was an event today called Circus of Food, and there I was with Ella and Louis wandering from food truck to food truck trying to make the most of my choice. What delicacy shall I partake of that’s been prepared in the back of these shiny mobile kitchens?

I know these things are all the rage back in the US, and I’ve seen my share of them in Austin, as well as in many places I was while visiting family. And I’ve been eating tacos out of food trucks as far back as I can remember.

That they’re all the rage here now is no great surprise. I’ve been to a few events where the topic was presented and discussed. Apparently, the bureaucracy of getting permission to have a kitchen on wheels was initially prohibitive, but clearly the powers that be have come round. The Circus of Food was teeming with such a variety of food.

I’d had quite decent barbecue on other occasions & they’ve even managed to learn how to make a decent burrito here these days, but I’ve had those things before. I wanted to try something new. What delicacy would catch my eye?

A quick search for mentions of Circus of Food in Munich had me looking at photos of the usual suspects. I was scrolling through said images & then I came upon something both intriguing and a little repulsive.

A Donut Burger.

You heard me right: a burger, in this case slathered in bacon and cheese, but instead of a bun, they’d substituted a doughnut. Wait, what?

That’s right kids. Two of your favourite things that have no business being together – yet there they are. It seemed so decadent.

Didn’t that Anthony Bourdain guy tell us we’ve got to be adventurous when it comes to trying food? They say that a mix of sweet & savoury is one of the secrets to a great recipe. This was the ultimate sweet thing thrown together with some quite delicious savoury. What could possibly go wrong?

In a few short moments, I went from thinking this was some sort of abomination of culinary experimentation to thinking it was a stroke of pure inspiration. ‘Why not?,‘ I heard myself muttering. It’s simply got to work!

Although they’d run out of doughnuts at the advertised place, they convinced me to go procure one elsewhere. ‘Hol ein Donut ab, und wir machen ein Donut Burger für dich (Go get a doughnut & we’ll make you a Donut Burger,‘ she offered. Suddenly, I desperately needed a doughnut.

To say I was channeling my inner Homer Simpson would not be an overstatement. A doughnut would be mine. Luckily, there was a food truck on the other side of the Schlachthof where they had all manner of doughnuts. A jelly-filled one was out of the question, though. A plain cake doughnut seemed too bland, so I went with an unassuming glazed specimen of a doughnut.

Upon presenting my find to the woman back at the original food truck, she glowed with delight. She’d seen my kind before: the unitiated. I had huge eyes like a child coming downstairs on Christmas morning. What could go wrong? This was going to be good.

Alas, it was exactly that curious mix of sweet and savoury that I’d expected. It was everything the original photo had promised. Though the doughnut itself was an excellent variety and the burger above-average, as well, these are two foods that probably should stay on opposite sides of the plate. Probably even kept in separate meals.

The tastes as I slowly chewed & swallowed each bite were curious. As well as bizarre. Dare I even say: wrong.

Wish I could say it was a revelation of a delicacy. I should’ve known better. There were people online asking me if I’d survived the experiment. They clearly hadn’t been paying attention when we were caking across a Europe. Jelly-filled foodstuffs in Palermo & all manner of cakes here in Munich have prepared me well for such endeavours, but in this case I was quite obviously outmatched.

As I held my stomach & felt myself digesting violently, I informed both my food truck dining companions and anyone paying attention online that:

‘I ate the Donut Burger, so you wouldn’t have to.’


Shining in the light of the setting sun


When you’ve got nothing interesting to say, talk about the weather. Right?

Well, I’ve got plenty of interesting things to talk about….still the coming springtime is on my mind. This wasn’t the hardest winter, but I’ve been ready to usher it out the door for most of February. I’m not normally like that, which tells me that my impatience has gotten the best of me.

So, the photo above was taken while a friend & I walked across Munich in the last of the day’s light. It was such a gorgeous, clear day that we began in a beer garden & just found ourselves soaking in the long-awaited sunlight. We both had other things we needed to be doing, but we continued to say to ourselves, ‘Just a few more moments.’

Here’s my favourite church in town – it’s the St. Lukas, and I’ve pondered for years why I like it so much. I can stand and gaze at it for stretches of time. Jostling myself, I’m not entirely sure how long I was lost in my reverie.

Think I did some research about it years ago for an article I was writing, and I could throw around facts about St. Lukas which I’d thought would help me rationalise my obsession with it. To no avail. I’ve forgotten the details and yet I still love the beauty you can see in the photo shining in the light of the setting sun.


Then there’s the  Müller’sche Volksbad, which is my local sauna. At some point, I’ll write an entire blogpost about this place. It deserves plenty of attention, I assure you. 

Once again, we could’ve taken public transport farther into the city, but my walking companion and I decided to keep hoofing it. Savouring the last glimpses of what had been such a gorgeous day, we snaked our way through some of the oldest streets in Munich‘s city centre. The evening was upon us and without the sunset, we no longer had what had seemed just s short while before such a perfect excuse to procrastinate. 

I’ll leave you with a photo of the Frauenkirche. It’s a symbol of our city and the part of the skyline that makes any photo distinctively Munich. What a perfect way to wrap up this tour. If you happen to be in my adopted hometown sometime, drop a line. I can normally be persuaded to take exactly such a walk.