6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Leaving Munich can be a heart-wrenching experience. No German city rivals it for extremities of kitsch, good taste, beauty, and unabashed pride in its roots. Here are six things about the city that you can never quite shake off.
'Oh dear, so now I've learned German I need to start learning another language too?' Photo: DPA
Whether you’ve moved away from Munich to another part of Germany, or you’ve left the country altogether you’re sure to miss the melodic song of a traditional Munich accent.
Yes, it was epically frustrating to realize that your weeks and months learning Hochdeutsch were of almost no use whatsoever in the city locals call Minga.
But then you realized the jokes were still funny even if you only understood the first two words of them, just for the ridiculous bouncy language they were expressed in.
It left us all wondering why Bayerisch can’t be the standard German. Ja mei, Minga, i mog di!
2. Pulling on your Lederhosen at a Volksfest
Lederhosen - the must have fashion item in Munich from 1516 - 2016. Photo: DPA
If you lived in north Germany before, you were probably used to (sometimes literally) riotous street parties, where if traditional clothing was on show at all it came from a country at least three solar systems removed from the Federal Republic.
So when you got off the train in Munich you were probably surprised to see that even Bavarian teenagers wear Lederhosen as a fashion item.
Whether it is at on of the large city festivals (Starkbierfest, Frühlingsfest, Oktoberfest) or, better still, the amazing village fetes outside the city, people love to dress up in their Sunday best.
Standing on a table, slugging down a litre of Helles, arm-in-arm with a drunk farmer, while a band of mulleted old timers serenade you with Alpine love songs isn’t an experience you're likely to repeat too often in your life.
Unless doing aquatic gymnastics with mafia victims is your thing, you probably avoided the temptation to dive into the river of whatever charming Anglophone city you last lived in.
Swimming in the Isar. Photo: DPA
So at first you were undoubtedly shocked to see the good people of Munich merrily jumping into the currents of the Isar River and coming with all their limbs still intact and not glowing green.
And when you built up the courage to make the leap yourself, and realised you could float down past the leafy, gorgeous English Garden - waving at the naked sunbathing locals on your way by - your eyes were opened to a whole new world.
4. Visiting world-famous museums for 1 Euro
But Munich isn’t just kitsch and quaint charm. There is probably no other city of its size in the world that offers such a feast of high culture.
It is home to four renowned orchestras and its theatres are arguably the best in the country.
The cupola in the Pinakothek der Moderne. Photo: DPA
Then there are the magnificent Pinakothek museums, all three of which have world-renowned collections.
In the Alte Pinakothek you were treated to one of the greatest collections of German Old Master paintings in the world, in the Neue Pinakothek you wandered through halls replete with works by Gauguin, Goya and Constable.
And in the beautiful Pinakothek der Moderne you probably marvelled as much at the scale of the architecture as the famous 20th-Century artwork.
And of course, for those in the know, it only cost a Euro on Sundays.
5. Day excursions into stunning Bavaria
If there is one thing that makes Munich stand head and shoulders above any other German city, it is not the city itself, but its surroundings.
After a short S-Bahn ride you can be on the crystal waters of Lake Starnberg, enjoying a beer in the Andechs Monastery, or cycling between the tiny villages which dot the forests in the valleys to the south of the city.
And then there are the Alps. Always glimmering majestically in the distance whether it be skiing or hill walking, they never fail to provide relief and regeneration when even this most uncomplicated of cities becomes a bit too much for you.
6. Weisswurst for breakfast
Weisswurst, with senf already inside! Photo: DPA
How did we get this far without once mentioning the delectable things Bavarians put in their belly, I hear you ask. Well fear not, we have saved the best for last, even if Bavarians prefer to stuff it into their faces as soon as they get up in the morning.
Yes, it meant cycling down to the butchers on an empty stomach at 7 in the morning. But when you had that fresh Weisswurst in your hand, and you knew you had Weissbier, sweet mustard and Bretzeln in the fridge, everything was alright with the world.
If you still wake up years later with the phantom taste of sweet Bavarian mustard in your mouth, comfort yourself with one thought. At least you didn’t live in a German city where they think Currywurst is high cuisine!