Posts Tagged ‘munich

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…

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29
Sep
08

How to survive the Wiesn (also known as… Oktoberfest)

You might want to jump to the tutorial itself.

And last weekend came the time of the year, when everybody remembers you exist, everybody remembers your name, everybody becomes your friend, every friend becomes your best friend.

Your phone starts ringing frenetically. You get e-mails. People flood you on Skype, MSN Messenger, Facebook, Orkut, MySpace.

Everybody invites theirselves to your place. And they really show up, no matter what.

If you live in Munich, or lived there for long enough, you know what time of the year this is. It’s time to see hordes of men and women behaving like… hm, sorry: misbehaving. Yup.

It’s time to see the masses zig-zag walking, like a big human wave, seen from above (I’ve tried this, it’s no funny joke). It’s time to maybe not have all that fun, if you don’t drink enough; watching your friends acting foolishly, though, really might pay off.

The Wiesn (Oktoberfest) starts every year in the end of September, and lasts three weeks.

A city that normally has ~1.3 million inhabitants is visited by a couple of millions more. Not really shocking to me, for a certain reason, but this would get too personal. Well the thing is, the old people and the old city really get rocked on. Music is everywhere, mainly during the evening (yes, workdays are on too). Great opportunity to listen to the sweet voice of drunkenness, echoing the most poetic compositions like “PAAAM PAARAM PAM PAM PAAAAM PAAAAAAAM” (Seven Nation Army, The White Stripes). Although this is a italian, modified version. Oooh yeah.

Alright, special tips:

1) You might want to make your bed reservation (or call your “”dearest friend””) with some anticipation. Remember that you’re not the only one into alcohol and stuff. In case you choose to call the friend, keep in mind that it might happen for you to share a 10m² room with 7 other people. Specially if your friend is just a poor student.

2) It’s important to EAT as well. Beer is cool, but it’s not food. No matter what beautiful, emotional bavarian story about real beer you’ve been told. HOT: if you like chicken, have a bite at the Munich Central Station: you’ll find out that, astonishingly, you can eat twice as much with the same money you’d spend at Beerland;

3) If you’re a girl, watch out. Men are already very suspicious in every way, in all they do, when it concerns women. Drunk guys only get worse. Even drunk girls get dangerous. Birds get dangerous. Don’t trust your own shadow, really. Be sure to go with people you know, and to kick persistent guys in a certain spot without thinking twice. Don’t feel guilty: alcohol is a terrific pain killer.

4) Sleeping is also good. Not on the street. Not on the sidewalk, not in the bus/tram (I know you’ll miss the last metro at 2AM, I know everything about your kind). Go ahead and snore at your friend’s place. Snore your heart out at the hostel/hotel/motel/pension. It’s good for the body to remember how it feels like, to have more blood than alcohol running in your veins. Assuming you’ll stop drinking while you’re asleep, though. Oh, in case there are 7 other people sleeping with you, don’t worry: it’s more comfy, after all September/October is not that warm anymore, so nothing like a bit of human warmth.

5) Munich is very, very very very, walkable. Of course you don’t need to be dumb enough to walk 7km at 3am in the morning, but hey, you should be able to get a place to crash in a 3km radius of the Theresienwiese (where your objective is). Come on, you can do 3km in less than half an hour, and Munich is totally plain. This way it’s possible to avoid the crowds in the metro, and do some exercise, think about life, you know, this old man kind of stuff.

Waitress6) If you go, and you’re not really a big fan of beer, you won’t like it. It’s expensive (~8 Euros) and you simply can’t have anything but 1 liter beers. Theoretically, it’s possible to order soft drinks and even water. I heard Stephen Hawking has a bet on this one, even bigger than his bet about the Higgs’ Boson. But one thing is certain: you’d make the waitress… unhappy. And no, you don’t want to disappoint her. She’s able to lift weights beyond your imagination. And your car with the other arm.

7) Get there EARLY. Mainly if you want to go on the first day. Get there right after sunrise, otherwise you won’t get in. Look at the bright side: you can stop at the supermarket the day before, and buy some beers to endure the boring waiting hours. This way you’ll be already warmed up for the party.

8) About languages: the italian weekend (the second weekend) is not a joke. It really gets full of italians. But the official language continues to be the burping and the impossible-to-understand (Google -> unintelligible) “:P blrrblablabl :P :P”, so if you followed step 7 and warmed up, don’t worry. For the talkers, English is usually fine. I’ve seen even germans talking in English between themselves: after some hours they simply lose the hability to recognize their own compatriots.

9) Keep close watch to your belongings. It’s not very unusual to get robbed in and/or outside the tents. There is always a bunch of sober and evil bastards walking around.

10) If you don’t get drunk enough, you’ll keep weird (yet, unique) memories about the world’s biggest outdoor party, and laugh at your friends, and carry them home, become (even more) sour, and eventually write a stupid tutorial called “How to survive the Wiesn”. Therefore…

11) Stop reading this and GO DRINK BEER! What else could you do, in a time like this?… Be happy, even if just for a short moment, even if it’s artificial happyness…