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. 

Feverish thoughts while trying not to think too much about the Munich Security Conference

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Thought I felt a cold coming on, but there was too much going on this weekend in Munich to slow down. I wasn’t going to be a hypochondriac about it, so I pushed on through.

It’s early February, so that means the annual Munich Security Conference was taking place. I typically pay close attention to what’s happening there & I did my best this year, but a few excellent concerts and what turned out to be more than a simple cold had me rather distracted.

The big topic at the conference was apparently what’s to be done in Ukraine, and this is where my take on things gets a bit shaky. I’m going to blame my feverish state for my loose grasp of the specifics, but from what I understand there’s been a lot of diplomacy to find a non military solution to the fighting that’s going on there.

While being openly mocked at the conference for continuing to insist that the citizens in Crimea democratically chose to rejoin Russia, the Russian foreign minister continued to insist that the West has meddled in this situation from the beginning. I’m not suggesting that there’s any validity to his argument and there’s plenty to suggest that the Russian position reeks of old school propaganda; however, the European leaders attempting alternatives to more weapons should be lauded.

The photo above is from the Amerikahaus, which has been a cultural outpost in Munich since the end of the Second World War, and that’s where I found myself on Saturday evening. An alternative country band called Lambchop was on the bill, and they played through most of their album from 2000 titled ‘Nixon‘. Interspersed with their music, the musicians had a bit of deadpan fun at the expense of the former American president.

I walked out into the night wondering about Realpolitik and what’re now generally seen as easier times. As some present day American politicians insist on saber rattling and tough talk with regards to the Russians, I’m weirdly relieved to live in a country that at least gives pacifism more than a cursory nod.

Now this could be my fever talking, and I’m well aware that the situation in Ukraine could spiral out of control despite the good intentions of Germany’s Chancellor and France’s President, but sending any weapons into this cauldron seems to be the wrong message. Someone mentioned purely defensive weapons, and I almost spit out my chicken soup.

Anyone who’s watched European politics for a while will have at least a handful of theories about what’s really going on behind the scenes. I’m not by nature a conspiracy theorist, and I continue to hold out hope for whatever’s left of Realpolitik. Whatever happens, it’s certainly going to be a gold mine for the troubadours among us. At least there’s that.

through and through

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Graffiti in a tunnel under the Friedensengel that reads, ‘through and through

 

 

Aside from a few glimmers of the sun peaking through, it’s been a very dark late autumn here in Munich. Not that it’s an issue now, because although it’s been particularly wet the last few days, the sun is out in full force today.

All that grey darkness is but a memory today.

Yet, I find myself looking at this graffiti/painting every time I’m walking through the tunnel under the Friedensengel here in Bogenhausen.

Through and through, indeed.

The eagle and the lamb…wonder what that’s about. Any ideas?