After months of anticipation, two lay-overs, turbulence, mix-up with our seats, and one hot French stuard on Air France who kept smiling at us beguilingly, my sister and I finally arrived in Munich. There was a clean, bright efficiency of things that we noticed straight away, the feeling that there was rule and order, the confidence that things would go as planned. Despite, or maybe because of that, it was a very relaxed city, with fountains, monuments, baroque churches, beautiful avenues alight with tulips, old buildings lovingly restored, their pastel facades glinting in the sun, and smiling, chattering crowds lounging in the parks, walking through the many museums, cycling or just relaxing in cafes with golden pints of beer.
We woke up early in the morning and wandered around the quiet, lilac scented streets, into museums with sleepy attendants, towards the Neoclassical plaza where Hitler once held demonstrations, and finally circled towards the stately imperial palace, gilded and imposing, and yet wearing its age with an air of such settled grace that it was a pleasure to admire it.
Early morning bikers called out greetings to one other and whizzed through the Imperial gardens, and the stone lions, the symbol of Munich, presided over the first buzz of conversations, the far-away clang of tables and chairs unfolding in cafes and the smells of freshly baked bread.
When in Rome, do like the Romans, and when in Munich, drink beer. We had it with lunch and with dinner, and in cafes and in beer gardens, and when we thought we couldn't drink any more and opted for morning coffee with strudel, we received looks full of condescending pity from the locals for our weakness. To give credit where credit is due, the beer in Munich was delicious. Addictive. Song-inducing, even. I shouldn't wonder if there are poems and odes to it, sketched lovingly on the long wooden tables at beer gardens and forgotten by the third pint. It was pure heaven for a lover of that magical brew. And by the way, the guy in the second picture below? That's 9:00 a.m. there. No wonder we got the "oh, foreigners" kind of looks for our paltry coffee and pathetic strudel!
It is a wonderful city, and our three days there hardly did it justice. I will remember the stateliness of the buildings and the friendliness of the people, the grand museums as well as the rooms of Kandinsky paintings in a little villa, the lilacs and tulips and convenient benches in shady avenues, the guys at the beer garden, urging us with friendly laughter to get a bigger mug, the guy at the market who made his own jams, the trains coming exactly on time, the cyclists riding down sunlit streets tinkling their signals, and most of all, the unexpected charm around every corner of this lovely Bavarian city.