May 4, 2012

Five tips on how to be a Munich local

The Football Club Bayern
If there is one passion in this city, this is the passion for a soccer team: the FC Bayern. Every time the team wins a game, such as in the Championsleague or in the national German soccer league (called Bundesliga) the city smiles: the streets get full of honking cars that wave the team´s flags in red and white, wanting to say: "Munich is the best".


(Sorry, my picture of the FC Bayern on the front page of the newspapers got lost during the update of the pic library :-( I am upset... I need to go to the Arena to get some shots re this amazing football club... in the meantime... I will leave you one with my other favorite sport in Munich: the surfers in the Isar).

No matter your personal opinion about soccer: if you live in Munich, you need to learn how to enjoy the FC Bayern passion. Even if you are (and want to be) completely ignorant on what is happening in the soccer spectrum, you will notice when FC Bayern plays: locals all around the city wear the FC Bayern official shirt and you can read everywhere: “FC Bayern plays tonight”, followed by an indication of who is the lucky (or unlucky) opponent. And again in the evening, if the FC Bayern wins, you will hear the honks and the next morning most newspapers will feature the victory.

The Beer
Munich locals LOVE their beer and if you live in Munich, you need to understand this love.

1.- The Beer Day and Beer Week:
The 23rd April is the Bavarian Beer Day because it is believed that it was on this day that the “Reinheitsgebot” regulation was created. This regulation is often called the “German Beer Purity Law” in English and basically tells that to produce pure beer: one should only use water, barley and hops.

The Oktoberfest is the world´s best known beer festival and takes place in Munich every year. But did you know that Munich has another similar beer festival in April- May called the “Frühlingsfest” (The Spring Festival)?
To learn more: read Oktoberfest and more

The “Frühlingsfest” is oft described as the little sister of the Oktoberfest: a big wheel, bier, fireworks, bier, shooting galleries, bier and other entertainments plus bier, they all take place in the Theresienwiese every year. (In 2012 from the 20.04 to the 6.05).

3.- Biergarten and Wirtsgarten:
The Bavarians claim that they were the inventors of the German-style outdoor area called Beer Garden (Biergarten). And I believe them.


A Beer Garden is an outdoor area attached to a bar or a restaurant, set with approx. eight seat wooden tables and benches without a back that has a self-service area to order. In a Bier Garden you are allowed to consume outside food (for example brought from home or bought in a close street stall). A Wirtsgarten, on the contrary, is set with table cloths and waiters or waitresses get the table orders and all you eat and drink should be ordered there.

TV Show: Tatort
Tatort is a German TV show that was created in the 70´s and that is a cultural icon in Germany. One of my local friends described it to me as the equivalent of the US show CSI. However I think that Tatort is more close to another US show: Law and Order.

Tatort runs on ARD (Das Erste) every Sunday @ 20.15 and tells the story of how one Kripo team in one German city investigates and solves crimes. (Kripo means a criminal investigation department in Germany). So far I have been able to confirm that there are Tatort shows taking place in Munich (Polizeiruf 110), Frankfurt, Cologne and Hamburg but I believe there are other locations as well.

A glass of wine, a comfy sofa and Tatort that is what my local friends advise me for a Sunday evening and as far as I understand, that is the plan of many people in Munich, so try it: you can set the German subtitles and if you need to watch the episode again: it is available at the ARD website.
This show is a good resource to learn German - they offer subtitles-. To learn more: learning German.

Ride a Bike
Munich is a bike city and as my former German teacher used to say: “the bikes run Munich”. One could actually say that you are nobody in the city unless you have a bike. And this might be true. Bikes are everywhere here. You can buy one second hand or you can rent one, in both cases, you in a bike will have more rights that if you drive a car or if you are just a pedestrian.


There are 170 kilometers of bike paths in Munich and there are a few driving rules that you do not need to follow if you are on a bike. 

Enjoy a Barbecue
Aussie barbie or American barbecue… It does not matter where you come from: a barbecue is always fun and Munich locals know it. If you live in Munich you might have already enjoyed a grilled lunch or dinner or you may have plans to do so. 


In Munich there are strict regulations on where you are and you are not allowed to grill. The city has allocated some areas to do so, but if you want to do it at home at your balcony or terrace, please check with your landlord and neighbors before. (To learn more: Barbecue in Munich)

Any other ideas on what to do or experience to become a local in Munich?

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