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. 

holding off on discouragement

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view from the Friedensengel looking down on Munich from Bogenhausen

My friend Dermot held off on telling me how impossible it is to find a place to live in Munich – especially with dogs. And one more thing against me? Many or most people here have secure employment. I’m a freelancer with work in a variety of fields. It’s never boring, but it’s anything but guaranteed.

I’d heard over the years that finding somewhere to live in Bavaria’s capital was difficult, but had never experienced it firsthand.

Here I was looking for a flat during Advent and the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. It was a bit of drudgery and appeared to be all in vain. I was looking at places as far-flung as Augsburg, Landshut and even Regensburg. All perfectly acceptable places, but definitely a commute.

Then I unexpectedly ran into my dog trainer, who I hadn’t seen in years, and told her my plight. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, she informed me that before she found her present abode, she was couch surfing and some nights even sleeping in a barn. For how long was she virtually homeless?

Seven months.

You heard me right. I thought in that moment that my situation was completely hopeless. Here was a woman very connected in the community with tonnes of clients and very well-behaved dogs. She was essentially a vagabond for what seemed like an unbearable amount of time. Where would that leave me?

She took my contact details, but I had no illusion that she’d provide anything different than the many friends who’d been looking/listening for any rental-related possibilities in my adopted hometown.

Everyone wanted to help, but it’s really a jungle here. And each year there are more and more students and professionals making their way to this beautiful city on the River Isar.

Didn’t want to say anything till I was certain it’d work out, but a flat opened up in her building. My dog trainer, who’s the closest thing I’ve found to a real-life dog whisperer incidentally, sent me a text message on New Year’s Eve, and said that if I wanted to, I could live in her building.

It’s been renovated, and is much better than anything I could’ve hoped for. Although I could’ve done with a bit less Sturm und Drang in the search for a home, I’m glad Dermot waited to tell me how screwed I was.

‘Two dogs? At Christmastime? As a self-employed foreigner? I didn’t have the heart to tell you it was nearly impossible.’

Impossible, my arse. Munich Bogenhausen here we come.

six months at The Munich Times and then The Munich Eye

This week at enemy grounds in Ingolstadt
  • People hear again and again that print journalism is dead, but when it comes right down to it, some people just want to hold the paper in their hands.
  • You’d think that being a journalist opened doors for you, but often the worst thing you can do is say, ‘I write for a newspaper.‘ (I knew this one already, because I’ve been working for my wife’s journalist office for a decade now…however, I’ve seen it repeatedly while researching my own stories in the last six months – no one wants to talk to a journo. Unless they’re in PR and in that case they have nothing I really want to hear.)
  • Being a professional journalist sounds impressive, but it isn’t. Writing for The Guardian means something in my book. Having been published by some two bit publication? Not so much. Over the last half year, I’ve heard repeatedly, ‘He’s a professional journalist.‘ You know what that means? He says he’s a professional journalist. Nothing more. It’s a real profession, but very few people are making a living at it. Very. Very. Few.
  • Some say the future of news journalism is at the hands of bloggers. I certainly hope not. Don’t get me wrong. I love reading blogs and write a few myself, but do I really want Lucy’s Football giving me analysis on the European Debt Crisis? She can’t handle her debt crisis.
  • The Münchner Merkur isn’t a bad paper. I had no idea how well written it was and have used it as a gold mine to find ideas for stories. I’m still a snob about reading the Süddeutsche, but my horizons have expanded to include news source at which I’d previously scoffed.

The last week has been mostly about the Oktoberfest here in Munich on the old Miscellaneous Blog de Lahikmajoe. I’ll be getting back to that soon enough.

Realised this week that I joined my paper (then The Munich Times, whose name I preferred, and later The Munich Eye) exactly six months ago. What a way to celebrate the half anniversary, right? With an assessment of what I’ve learned.

Here’s to another six months of sometimes quality writing and covering the news and events going on in Bavaria’s capital. Hope you’ll be along for the ride.

a rainy bug for your contemplative pleasure

What’s that?

After several relatively humid days here in Bavaria’s capital, we’ve had a few days of scattered showers.

Aren’t you glad you came here for the weather report on The Previous Week in Munich? I’m happy to be of help, you know. At your service and all that.

So, on the terrace this morning there was this awaiting me. What is that? Not sure. I think the rain brought it.

‘I have come to haunt your dreaming of cheese,’ says the visitor.

Happy Birthday Franz Josef Strauß

the Flughafen in Munich

Happy Birthday to the aeroport…not the dude. The Bavarian politician, Franz Josef Strauß, has been dead for more than two decades. An article by Michael Owens about the celebration (Munich airport flying high, hopes future flights won’t be grounded) over at the Munich Times got me thinking about this place.

This aeroport is worth its own blogpost. And more.

The place has its own brewery. Really. And what’s it called? Airbräu, what else. And aside form a few shops at the main train station and over-priced petrol stations, you can’t shop in Munich on Sunday. Except at the Franz Josef Strauß Flughafen. They have tonnes of shops open even on the Lord’s Day. As if it had been decreed from on high.

My very favourite thing? Most aeroports are filled with shops that gouge you because they know you have nowhere else to go. It’s a law of travel. Highway robbery.

But here in Munich, there are even two supermarkets where you can shop for basic staples, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. And the prices? Not one Euro cent more than at your local market. Imagine that. Your refrigerator at home is empty. The shops close at eight in the evening in Bavaria’s capital, so if your flight gets in too late, you’re out of luck if you want to buy something to cook.

Fortunately, the city of Munich has got you covered. Just pop into the supermarket at the Flughafen. That’s what it’s there for.