Posts Tagged ‘life

08
Oct
08

What to do in Munich (before or after Oktoberfest)

There are only a few hours left to Oktoberfest. It’s ok for you to enjoy your last liters of beer, but it’s also maybe time to figure out what to do, when the party is over. Given that you’ll stay a bit more in Munich, of course: otherwise, farewell, fellow tourist.

Munich is considered a big city in Germany (actually the country’s third biggest urban concentration), and as such has a lot to offer in terms of job opportunities, entertainment and life in general, throughout all seasons of the year (believe me).

For starters, well, people may get mad at me for this, but I’ll be honest: there is ALWAYS a festival going on, and a festival, in Munich, means pretty much… to have a beer with your friends, outside.

Now I’m gonna talk about festivals. If you want to jump to the normal stuff, please do.

In the beginning of March, there’s the Starkbierfest (strong beer party). It’s pretty much the same as Oktoberfest, if you go to Paulaner’s main pub, for instance. Only much more dangerous because it’s still winter, and the beer is very strong. So, odds are you’ll get yourself overdrunk trying to get warm.

Later on, somewhere in May, there’s the StuStaCulum. It’s a festival held in the middle of the city’s largest student dormitory. It’s veeery cheap (3 euros for all the 4 days), and there’s a huge schedule of music concerts (rock, reggae, pop, hip-hop, …), art expositions and even theater, if I’m not mistaken. And beer. And food. It’s a bit warmer, and a very nice place to meet new people, people you know already, drink beer while eating an apple, you know, this kind of stuff. I particularly like this thing, better than Oktoberfest.

Tollwood 2008 (also Eurocup final)There wasn’t even enough time to get depressed, and there comes Tollwood, a “hippie” market with lots of handmade jewelry, clothes, even with a Navajo tent selling crazy native stuff (the creepy vendor really looks like a Navajo). Lots of music and theater as well, though a bit expensive. It’s located inside the Olympiapark, a very pleasant park. Of course there is food and drinks as well, but as it’s a hippie event, you’ll only find “natural” or “bio” stuff: bio burger, bio yakisoba, bio whatever. Another good place to get together with friends, talk, get a new job… walk around, alone…

After a short break, comes Oktoberfest, which I don’t want to write about again. Not now.

And as autumn goes by, and winter comes again, a variety of Christmas markets pops out in every square. And Winter Tollwood starts (yes, it’s true), this time at the same place where the Oktoberfest is held, Theresienwiese. Because it gets kind of chilly, people prefer drinking hot chocolate or, mostly, hot wine, to make small get-togethers a bit more cheerful. And to avoid getting too depressed with only 8 hours of sunlight on a day.

Hum this is getting real big. But I’ll go on.


Other than the festivals, as I mentioned before, there is a bunch of things you can do to enjoy life a little bit. I’ll mention my favorites:

Olympiapark - bicicleta1) Go to Olympiapark walk, talk, jogging, ice skating, swimming, play tennis, sit on a bench by the nearly frozen lake and watch the swanns and ducks drifting slowly in the water, fast asleep. The stars and the moon are also worth a look, with the Olympiaturm and the BMW building in the foreground… careful not to get frozen yourself. Early in the evening, near the sunset, it’s nice to climb one of the hills and watch everything change, a dark blue mantle slowly taking over the skies.

2) Go have a drink by yourself. Specially if you are in Schwabing, you’ll be able to find a decent pub within less than 1 kilometer from you. It’s expensive, but it’s somehow pleasant.

3) Go visit a museum/art gallery. There are so many, and they are very easy to find specially if you take the bus 100, a special line that stops by almost every museum and concert hall in town. You can visit one of the three Pinakotheken (old, new or modern), the Deutsches Museum (technical stuff), the Residenz (beatiful concert hall near downtown), Prinzregententheater… oh, it’s usually better to visit these places on Sundays: many of them cost only one euro then.

4) Go to a smaller pub, listen to live music. Unterfahrt Jazz Club is a place I liked a lot. Actually, and unfortunately, the only one I’ve been to. Twice.

5) Look for the Ostbahnhof, Kultfabrik or whatever, if you feel like dancing with lots of people. The big parties are all held over there, except for another place called Backstage, which I would say is a bit more… alternative. Not a good a idea to leave alone, drunk, when it’s raining. You might get very lost.

6) I forgot to write something about the Englischer Garten. But… I just won’t. It’s a big park, but by far NOT my favorite. Sorry, Englischer Garten… you lose. Big time.

That was pretty much it. Only thing I forgot is to mention that walking without a very well defined destination can be fun. Sometimes you find a hidden park, hidden garden, hidden policeman finding you suspicious… always a good adventure. Also a good opportunity to enjoy european architecture, and the curious contrast of sometimes finding tall buildings right next to something more than 500 years old.

A good opportunity to enjoy yourself. Or die trying…

25
Sep
08

that is so… white as snow…

The more I think about something, the more I think about everything else.

Suddenly a simple 900m walk that never had anything special, turns into a journey throughout my own mind. Perhaps, throughout someone else’s mind as well.

I barely left my street, and crossed paths with the old man and his gnarled staff yet again. He has snow white, long enough to reach his chest, fuzzy beard; a deep expression carved in his face, that inspires great admiration and respect, at least for me. I wonder what has this old man already seen. I look into his eyes and it makes me wish I could have a glimpse, of what he sees. He’s staring at something continuously and fixedly, as he was every other time we met, and as I know he will be, on the next time.

What could have happened, to such a person? What could have happened, to his family? Did he ever have a family of his own? I think it’s very likely. No: I’m sure of it. For sure he had at least someone special in his life already. Someone that, for some reason, had to leave, or to be left. If the reason was noble or not, I’ll never know, and it’s a question nobody else has the right to ask, but himself. Nobody else can find the answer, but himself. Alone. Walking painfully up and down the suburbs, poking the tarmac as if it could be tortured until an answer jumped out.

A second later, I face a young man painting a wall. He looked extremely tidy for a wall painter: not a single drop of white paint on his clothes. Not yet.

Just like it was with the old man, I’m invisible to him. He astonishingly looks like someone who knows what he’s doing. He’s just painting a wall, but he’s proud of it. He’s fulfilled, satisfied, at least for that moment. He was able to grab the brush, moisten it with paint, and apply to the wall, with no regrets and no doubt.

Perhaps this is what makes him an adult: lack of doubt. Life gave him the tools, and he paints the wall without even blinking.

What if you have all the tools, all the machinery, and no idea? What if you have all the chances, all the luck on your side, all the support and all the odds in your favor, but don’t have a wall to paint? Or worse: what if the wall is there, and you inadvertedly brake your nose running against it, so big the blindness is?

What is this bright, yet pale light, that blocks everything? Reality is so cruel: the wall is always there. Not always in one piece. But be sure, that the bricks are all over the ground, right below your broken nose.

The world is becoming whiter every minute. Opaque as the old man’s beard, yet vivid as the young man’s wall.

The old man’s stare. The one stare that crosses oceans, and borders, and travels through time. Usually to the past. But he looks in someone’s eyes.

The young man’s stare. The present is too bright to be seen; the future, too dark.

White paint. White bricks.

White wall.