Thursday, December 1, 2016

Flaneur in Munich

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I've been several times to Munich, for different reasons. This time, I was back in Bavaria for attending the Internet World Fair, but also for checking the latest galleries and interesting places. After seven hours of driving from the capital city, the main negative comparison used by the Bavarians for outlining their special identity, I make my way to the city, via Karlsplatz, trying to find my hotel Der Blauer Bock, where I am offered a complimentary one-night accommodation.
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The weather is gorgeous and I am happy to be back in Marienplatz, one of the most important meeting point in town and the no.1 attraction of tourists from all over the world.Image
I am also happy to see again the new synagogue, 'Ohel Jacob' ('Tent of Jacob'), an interesting construction inaugurated in 2006.Image
After a short check of my hotel, I am ready to spend the rest of the day exploring Munich. I start with Schrannenhalle, on the other side of the street, where I can find almost everything I dream about in terms of quality cheese, wines, spices and fresh fruits.Image
In the immediate neighborhoud, another foodie temptation: Viktualienmarkt, with fresh products and another fine selection of French cheese, wines and chocolate. The sunny weather sent the reunion call to the beer lovers that took their places on the long benches in the front of a fresh cold big glass of beer. Vendors from all over the world are ready to tell their stories to anyone interested to heard about how, for instance, they arrived in Munich from Kosovo.Image
As for me, I am curious to explore for the next hour the Toys museum/Spielzeugmuseum, in the tower close to Marienplatz, presenting different toys and games from different generations of children.Image
Back to Marienplatz, I make a short tour of the iconic city hall. Guided tour are periodically organized, but this time, I only want to walk by. Close to one of the entrances, I stop for a while to a 17th century old bookstore, Lentner. Image
From there on, I slowly walk, with elegant shops on both sides of the street and chic people. One of my persistent memories about Munich is about a lot of music coming up from every corner. Last time, Odeon Square was set up for an open air opera show. This time, there were only noisy teenagers hanging around after school.Image
Bavaria is also associated with the car industry, and big BMW and Mercedes Benz shops are showing off the industrial local power. Not ready to buy a German car, I rather prefer to walk along the English garden, that reminds me a bit of Tuilleries. The benches are full of people enjoying the spring, chatting about life, relationships, happy news or simply knitting or solving a complicated Sudoku problem. The fresh wind can definitely help towards a solution.
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The trompe d'oeil of Munich Residence, used as headquarters by dukes, electors and kings of Bavaria between 1508-1918 is about to close the exhibition spaces. As it's getting darker and a bit colder, I focus to visit more galleries and design shops: Ralph Taut combines modern and vintage interior design style; the Kunst Salon Frank-Schenk about to celebrate 100 years, presenting among others, a beautiful Renoir; the colourful cashmere shawls from Surjit and Singh; the modern Gallery Turnius, displaying besides a huge Donald Duck, also works by Gerhard Richter and Roy Lichtenstein; or the fancy clothes by Fietze K.
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Ready to taste the exquisite menu waiting for me at my hotel, I limit my gourmet explorations to only some tasting at Maelu: a couple of beautiful and equally tasty macarons (rose, passion fruit, chocolate and mango, cinnamon) and a cappuccino made of coffee Vergnano, a first class coffee produced in Europe since 1882.
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The new day starts with a long stay at the World Internet Messe, where I arrive with a blue-and-white subway. This colour combination is representative for Bavaria, especially for Munich. It goes fast, with special trains scheduled especially on the occasion of the fair.
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The exhibition area is situated in an ambiance redesigned in modern style, with spectacular art works raising up from the middle of the water. Swans and wild ducks were adding more motion to the modernist landscape. Image
Once the business part of my day is over, I am happy to be back in town, for more discoveries, of very diverse kind: the Antiquity shops around the city hall area, the Persepolis carpet gallery, classical prints from Gallery Gronert, the wood works by Christoph Leuner at Kunst-Handwerk. Last but not least, some gorgeous pairs of shoes made of chocolate, at Samma-Samma. Image
Slowly but firmly, I am back again in Viktualienmarkt, for more views of local products or just walking without a clear aim. 
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Trying to follow my plan of discovering new galleries, I've found Filser Graef Gallery, with interesting young designers works and Gallery Hegemann, at the time running an exhibition of wood and pop art.
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When I look around, there is an overwhelming presence of traditional costumes, many of them currently used as part of the daily outfits of many middle-class citizens of Munich. There is a certain fascination with old times that I should think more about.Image
I've been to Thai restaurant Yum 2 Stay during my last trip, and I don't see any reason why I should not have another delicious Pad Thai here again. The service is awesomely fast, the food good and I enjoy my meal outdoors, surrounded by young people talking about e-commerce and marketing and human resources. Not bad to bee in Munich!
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Time to pack and say 'good bye' to Bavaria for now. But South of Germany should appear more often on my travel agenda in the next month. 
For more visual insights about Munich, have a look at my dedicated Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/munich/

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