Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alstadtringfest

Today was a perfect day for another chapter of the Munich 850th birthday celebration. The ring surrounding the downtown area was blocked off and filled with people and stalls with various activities.

My favorite things through the day were geared towards children. One activity allowed them to run a makeshift grocery, and at another they could ride a mechanical soccer ball (similar to a mechanical bull). We also saw some mini bongo drummers, probably in training for the Englischer Garten drum circle.

For lunch we went to dean & david. I still can't get enough of their beautiful courtyard, but the food was delicious as well. 

Another thing I loved was that there were men making a graffiti style billboard for a car I've never heard of - Abarth. Directly across the street at Lutter & Wegner (which has the best hot chocolate), they had one of these tiny Abarth cars on display. I know I wasn't the only one whose attention they captured. 

Not only was the fest going on today, it was also 'Free Hug Day' at Marienplatz, and at the wee hours of tomorrow morning the Kocherlball will begin. The Kocherlball is a traditional party for the servants of the city's wealthy. It was held in the early hours of a Sunday morning when they were able to celebrate. Slowly it has transitioned to an early morning party (or way to keep the previous evening going) where nearly everyone in attendance is wearing their tracht (traditional Bavarian clothing). There is a lot of dancing, music, and the biergarten opens at 6am!

We attended last year and rode our bikes to the Chinese Tower around 5am, which was still too late to get a table. It's a bit of a see and be seen event, and people go all out with elaborate costumes. It's quite a sight. 

Lastly, here's a picture from above Karlsplatz. If there is one thing Munich is great at, it's creating a sense of community and promoting the city 'gemütlichkeit' (a sense of sociable comfort and cosiness). The 850th celebration is just another excuse, but we are always happy to join the fun.

2 comments:

Amy in KL said...

Hi Emily - You and I share similar taste in children's books and toys. I have 3 kids and we are trying to decide in a move to Munich would be good for them or should we go to Moscow instead or someplace else. Any input on how wonderful life is for kids in Munich? Perhaps I should also add we have a 5 year old who has a new found passion for Playmobil. KL has not been a super child friendly place and we are ready for a change!

Emily said...

amy...

I think Munich is a great place for children. It consistently ranks among the top 10 cities for the best quality of life according to Mercer HR Consulting. It's very safe (sometimes I am still amazed at seeing young children ride the subway alone) and in a great location.

We have a lot of parks and museums, and the city is easy to access with the wonderful public transportation. It's also close to so many other wonderful things - particularly the nearby lakes and mountains.

If you would move to Munich, I would highly recommend learning some German. Speaking a little bit of the language wherever you go will probably help you like living there more (at least in my experience).

In contrast, while I haven't been to Moscow (yet), I think Munich has a much more cosy feeling since it's often compared to a large village.

It probably depends on what types of job opportunities you are looking for as well. Munich has a lot in terms of BMW, technology, and publishing. And we definitely have an abundance of Playmobil!

Good Luck with your decision!