I've lost count how many times I've been to Munich in the last 10 yearas, but every time I am back I realize how much more I need to know about this city. Every time I'm leaving with a completely new agenda of areas to see and places to check.
This time, I am back in one of my favorite German cities busy with work again, and after spending a lovely time at the Linderhof castle, I am settled for anything but meetings. As usual, though, I am accompanied by my camera and my eyes are ready to spot the new.
My office location for the day is situated in the Eastern part of the city, near the Riem metro station. Although a bit far away from the central hip area, it surprises by the massive gigantesque architecture. The area between the Arcaden Shopping Center, Willy Brandt Square and the International Center for Exhibitions is overwhelming, with the fine concrete cranes taking over the open squares.
There is a special geometry of the architecture, first time encountered by me in Germany, which filled up the space with human works without any other clear aim but to show off. Art in itself has a strong gratuitous reward, isn't it?
The area around Platz der Menschenrechte - Square of Human Rights - is more humany scaled and around lunch time busy with corporate businesspeople hurrying up to grab a lunch while debating the last company reports.
Two steps away, the wild park invites for a break from the loaded agenda, even for a couple of minutes only.
As an observer always in a hurry, I use my very limited time around for taking more visual notes of the architectural conceptions where nature is left so wild among more and more concrete giants. Definitely, it is a more bold style than in Berlin, where the business architecture seems so shy to express its own self-awareness. Munich has many years ahead in this respect too.
A little bit of irony is good for the business, besides the endless views of uncut grass and rows of trees.
It is not my first time at the International Exhibitions Center and as the last time I've been there, over 4 years ago, I am walking slowly enjoying a bit more the sunny reflections into the surrounding lake, taked over in its corners by lily pads, ducks and swans.
The industrial style and size of the works of art in the very middle are the gentle reminder that nature and business can somehow coexist, for the well-being of each and every side of the equation.
It is up to you to focus your sight either on the gentle lily pad and imagine with your eyes and mind a Zen poem...
...or to move a bit your eyes in the middle where you are reminded that time has come to set your feet on the ground and get started with the serious work.
When the busy time is over, with my 6.70 EUR. day-ticket I am back to revisit old places and if lucky enough, to discover new ones. Regardless how set I am for new, I cannot ignore the Odeonplatz, the large square that since the 19th century is a landmark of the city. A popular meeting point for first-timers and locals too, it is also a concert hall where I would love to go one day.
The old city of Munich is, as usual, full of life, with visitors, tourists and locals filling the streets with life and a Babbel of languages. Elegant passageways which remind of Italian secret small hideouts, like this one at Preyising Palais, are always a pleasant surprise.
The architecture around follows the classical directions of the Italian architecture, with a touch of humour and surprise, as some funny statues set at the edges of buildings and narrow streets.
As it happens often to see a place more than once, I am always hungry for new perspectives and angles. For instance, the very touristic City Hall, another local landmark, can offer a completely different view, which reminds me a bit of some noble Madrid buildings, when seen from Wienerstraße.
I couldn't miss though, to have a snap of the famous city hall, from its main square splendor front view.
Viktualienmarkt, the traditional Oktoberfest meeting point is bubbling with healthy life and busy vendors selling their home-made products and fresh veggies.
Grotesque figures are arising from small squares in the front of post-war standard - read, ugly - buildings on back streets, only minutes away from the glowing old city streets with their shining shops and elegant customers.
Only a couple of streets away, well-dressed couples are hurrying hand-in-hand to get in time for the Opera.
Other, a bit vane - as we do - are envious on the extravagant range of luxury stores (Jimmy Choo is here; and yes, I am that vane, thank you very much).
In the Regierungsviertel, museums and official institutions are hosted in Florentin-villa look alike buildings, guarded by mythological stone creatures.
As I am passing along Maximilienstraße, one of the five royal avenues, I make a mental note to return the next time to visit the Museum of 5 Continents, Germany's first ethnological museum opened in the second half of the 19th century.
The weather is too beautiful and the time too short for museum visits this time. As I am passing the many bridges over the Iser, I feel the call for more journeys around the city.
The Greek Gods and Goddesses guarding the Maximiliansbrücke are just another example of how the human mind and work needs to be always intrusive to the natural environment. Sometimes it matches, sometimes it may create completely adverse effects and there is usually no winners out of this fight.
The imposing building of Maximilianeum, currently the local parliament, is dominating the avenue from its green promotorium. The historical episodes displayed artistically on its inner arches and fassades are worth probably a special article that need to do one day, maybe when I will be back the next time.
This trip is everything about enjoying the moment, and especially the great weather. Alongside with us, there are plenty of tourists and locals who are using the long summer days to fill their lungs with fresh air, eithr by biking, walking or jogging.
This part of the English Gardens was completely unknown to me and until my heart will beat hard for new discoveries, would be my favorite part of it from now on.
The beach alongside the Iser looks very busy those days and I can even spot some of the rafters which are jumping through the waves nearby.
The view is so quiet and painting-worth that I slow down to have more pictures and admire the view into more depth.
At the Kulturstrand, culture lovers and local bohemians are slowly transposed into the rhythm of late evening blues concert.
Once I am pass the Ludwigsbrücke, I am slowly returning to my place for the nigh, before taking off the next early morning, but the monumental apparition which makes the human presence so insignificant in both time and space brings me back to enjoying the moment. Sometimes, you need more than one reminder to focus on the present second.
The sun is about to set, sending sporadic signs of light reflected on the buildings.
Time for Munich to start its completely different night life, when those elegant squares and fountains are buzzing with the late disputes between lovers or students practising for their next day dissertation duel.
Since the late Middle Ages, Isartor - the Isar Gate -is there, nowadays separating different newer or older parts of the city. It is a time to travel and a time to find the pace of your home, a time to enjoy and a time to reflect or mourn. Some cities are inspiring enough to bring you through different ages and emotional stages in only one trip.
I am about to leave Munich again, with a long to-do-list for my next visit. Among my priorities, as a lover of metro stations, to spend more time underground documenting the different histories and views of those transportation nods.
Meanwhile, I am still staying in Bavaria for another day, for exploring a destination that I had on my agenda for way too long. To be continued...