July 15, 2013

Best plan for a Sunday in Munich 2/2

For the second part of the blog entry: "the best plan for a Sunday in Munich", I  bring you:

  • a book about German manners,
  •  bowling in Munich, 
  • a beach bar and
  • paragliding and sailing in Tegernsee.

Sunbathing in Munich by the pool



THE KNIGGE: GERMAN MANNERS and ETIQUETTE


Long time ago when I moved to Munich, my German was basic and so I got my first nasty glare while addressing a German stranger per "du" instead of per "Sie". Then I promised myself that one day I was going to read the "Knigge" in order to surprise every German I encountered by using the very right form of salutation in every situation!

Yesterday was the day, two years later after the promise: I started reading the Knigge. And although it might not seem like it, it is a good plan for a Sunday (above all if you are sunbathing by the swimming pool at the same time!). The reading is entertaining, hilarious and educational, what else could you ask?.



The Knigge in Amazon

Knigge is actually the surname of a XVIII century German writer that joined the Illuminati and wrote a treatise on human relations; which is still today regarded as the guide for politeness and etiquette in Germany. According to the Knigge, the general rule is that you should address everyone by "Sie". The "du" form should only be the exception. 


If you want to know more you can visit the German Knigge Association website or the site Knigge.de.  Some of the articles surprised me and some made me laugh, but eventually I started wondering if instead of being a well-mannered person, I was closer to have the politeness of a cave woman. 


For example, there is a section that fascinates me: table manners and certain meals that are classified as "schwierige Speisen" because there are difficult to eat

  • How to eat artichokes? you should firstly use your fingers, then your front teeth and finally the fork. 
  • The knife can be used to butter the bread rolls but never to cut them. And never use it to help you eat a salad (in difficult cases, use a piece of bread).
  • Do not incline the plate when eating soup. If it is too hot: be patient, do not blow it. Only if it was served in a cup, you are allowed to drink the rest from it (assuming that you have already eaten all the solid ingredients with the spoon).
  • Strawberries that cannot be eaten in one bite should not be served. But should the situation arise, then use the fork or the spoon to cut them in one-bite pieces...
Screen shot of www.knigge.de 
Screen shot of www.deutsche-knigge-gesellschaft.de



LET'S GO BOWLING IN MUNICH


If you google "bowling in Munich", you will get a list of five or six places in the city. We picked Isar Bowling @Martin-Luther Stra├če, 22, simply because it was convenient for us. 


Many people regard bowling as boring but in my opinion: it is a great team-building activity. It is not difficult to play, it is not expensive and it boosts everyone's self confidence. No matter how bad someone is at sports, at bowling one gets a strike sooner or later, and if it is later, the whole group tends to help and encourage the "slow player" until he/she strikes.

I was surprised to find a lot of teenagers playing but not so many families with children. I would have expected bowling to be more like a Sunday thing to do with the children, rather than a place for teens to go on a date...

If you are interested in the prices, we were a group of seven, we played 3 games, for 2.5 hours and we paid €10 per person.


BEACH BAR IN MUNICH


Munich has no beach, but we have the Strandbar (beach bar) that this year (2013) is located @the Corneliusbr├╝cke. It is branded under the Hacker-Pschorr brewery name, which basically means that a bier will cost you less than a coffee. It is open on Sundays and they refund bottle deposits until 11pm.


Beach bar in Munich
Screen shot of the Kulturstrand


I have been there a number of times, but only once after lunch. We thought that after 3 weeks in a row of heavy rain, we could use some sun. Wrong. Five minutes after taking off our shoes and choosing a beach chair, we wish we hadn't. On that day Munich temperatures reached 35 degrees, so we sat there roasting like chickens with a view to the Isar as a incessant reminder that we were actually NOT IN THE BEACH, so we could not go for a swim to beat the heat.


Since that day I have been to the beach bar only in the evenings, when the sun is set and there are not empty beach chairs because the place is bursting. You then need to stand up but you can still take off your shoes, feel the sand and take a breath of fresh air of the city with a great view of the river at night.


PARAGLIDING OR SAILING IN THE TEGERNSEE


If you live in Munich you do know the beautiful lake of Tegernsee and the city with the same name that is located an hour away from Munich. 

Tourism is the area's largest income not only in summer but in winter as well and therefore the tourism office is very well organized when it comes to inform and attract potential visitors. 

Screen shot of the official site Tegernsee.com 

Two of my dear friends in Munich learnt about paragliding and sailing in Tegernsee while researching about plans for the summertime on the weekends. 

The paragliding academy is called "Gleitschirmschule Tegernsee". My friend did what is called: a "Tandemflug" (=tandem flight), in which an experienced pilot drives the paraglider, while you are the passenger and your only obligation is to enjoy the view (and to faster your seatbelt of course!). She booked the flight four weeks in advance, it was a flight of an hour and half and she paid €120.

Screen shot of tandem paragliding flights in Tegernsee

The other friend of mine went for a much more conservative sport: sailing, which is also a great idea to spend the Sundays in summertimeThe "Sailing Center" in Tegernsee has a sailing school that offer all types of courses: for children, for teenagers, in groups, private lessons, compact courses in one weekend or scheduled across the summer in different days.


Screen shot of the Sailing center and school in Tegernsee


The prices go from €290 per person for a Katamaran basic course; €315 per person for a Sailing basic course  or if you like: something more exclusive like €75 per person per hour of private lesson.

There are much more that you can do in Tegernsee

  • sunbathe and swim in the Sandy beach,  
  • hire a volleyball court, 
  • rent a small boat,
  • learn windsurfing or
  • go on a hiking (or bike) tour around the lake/area, etc.

I am not posting info on where I was sunbathing last weekend, because I am working on an blog entry about swimming pools in Munich and I hope it will be ready very soon, so you can get tips for this summer if you are staying in the city.

Until then I wish you all a great week! And as always, drop my a line if you have already done some of the above plans on a Sunday or the ones in "the best plan for a Sunday in Munich part. 1/2" or if you have other suggestions!


July 4, 2013

Munich is expensive but safe

Munich is expensive and if someone tells you otherwise, they are lying to you. 

Let me give you three examples:


***FOODSTUFF*** 

If you live in Munich, you and I got very bad news last week: the food prices are rising in Germany. The demand for regional food products in Bavaria keeps growing but in the country the crops do not grow as usual due to the long winter, the cold and now the "Hochwasser" (=the floods).

The Isar in June 2013
Grocery shopping is more expensive today than it was a year ago. The German inflation is higher than expected and this time we cannot blame the European crisis. The heavy rain led to floods that made the Isar almost burst its bank, disrupted the roads and main transport routes and damaged or even ruined the regional crops. 


For example the bavarian "Spargel" was threatened due to the low temperatures in winter and then the heavy rain. The "Spargel" is a big thing here in Bavaria. Above all the Schrobenhausener Spargel. The Asparagus season starts in April and ends at the end of June, when the Germans say: "Kirschen rot, Spargel tot" (=cherries red, asparagus dead). This year not everyone could enjoyed the bavarian Asparagus, because the prices went up so much that the popular "Spargel" became a luxury.
Screen shot of the Schrobenhausener Spargel site
The asparagus was not the only one crop affected. 
A week ago Die Welt newspaper reported that because of some country areas being under water, grocery shops and markets were selling imported vegetables and fruits instead of the usual regional products. In this season there are not German pepers, aubergines, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatos... 


OEBZ in Munich


***RENT***

"Stoppt die Mietpreisspirale" (= stop the rent costs spiral). To rent a room/apartment in Munich is costly. Unfortunately very little can be done about it.

The organisation "Stoppt die Mietpreisspirale" recognises that Munich grows as a city and that this is not a bad thing. What it is bad, is the fact that the rent prices go in just one direction: up. Unfortunately families cannot longer afford to live in the city: it is simply too expensive. 
Screen shot of the Stoppt die Mietpreisspirale site
The Organization gave a press conference on Thursday and then they all met on Saturday in Stachus to claim more protection for the tenants; to speed up the residential construction in the city at affordable prices and to stop the misuse and the unoccupied building spaces. 

According to the Abendzeitung the square meter in Munich costs €14,20. News at the T-Online site says €12,53 and the online real state website ImmobilienScout24 sets it at €12,30. One euro more, a few cents less... the differences are not big and all sources  agree in one thing: Munich is the most expensive city in Germany when it comes to rent (residential).


Screen shot of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung


***PUBLIC TRANSPORT*** 

...is expensive. Full stop. A single ticket in Munich (one way) costs €2,50 or have they put the prices up again?.


I live in Munich city center and I have a bike (Lola), which means that I do not use the public transport if I can avoid it. There are many like me, many. We are a majority in Munich. And we, as in "the bike riders", we find the metro expensive. I only take it to go to/from the airport and also every once in a while I buy a Streifenkarte, mostly in winter, so I can take the U- or S-Bahn when it is pouring down or freezing in Munich. 

Streifenkarte is a 10-strip ticket and costs €12,50.



Screen shot of the MVV site
Unfortunately there are people who systematically take the metro and do not pay for the ticket. Most of the times they claimed that the U-Bahn is too expensive, that there are not turnstiles or that they won't be caught... Ticket inspectors exist and they are "brutal" (fig.) when they find you. If they catch you without a ticket, they will loudly tell you off and you will get a €40 fine. 

After reading all the above, you have to agree with me: Munich is expensive, then why would someone want to live here? 
I once made a list. I came up with 33 reasons in favor, two against. The two reasons against Munich were : 1/it is expensive; 2/they speak German.

One day I will share with you my 33 reasons but today (unfortunately) I do not have the time nor the room. Instead I am going to focus in "the one reason" that is key for most people when they pick a home for their family: safety.

Munich is the safest city I have EVER known. 

According to the Augsburg Allgemeine newspaper, Munich is the the safest city in Germany. There were 7000 reported crimes per 100,000 population in Munich in 2012 while Frankfurt registered more than the double. 

In my experience/opinion people RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY in Munich:
  • You can walk or bike late at night back home, the city is safe.
  • They do not steal your umbrella. You can leave it at the entrance of any shop, your house, the  gym... and when you come back later, it will still be there.
  • The postman has a key to your building front door to access the mailboxes and nothing happens.
  • Your bike is safe. You can park it outside the supermarket, while you shop and even leave your stuff in the basket. All will still be in the basket when you come back.
  • Very very expensive cars are parked everyday on the streets of Munich and nobody steals them.
  • Home doors and locks are standard, not many have alarms installed. People go away on holidays and nobody breaks in.
  • Sometimes in winter people take off their shoes before entering the house (to avoid bringing the snow and the mud inside). They leave them outside on the doormat and nothing happens. Nobody steal them.
I feel safe in Munich. There are 7000 police officers that watch over us in Bayern every day. The only preventive measure I would suggest to take is to save the 110 number in the mobile (the emergency number), although there is a very small likelihood that you ever need it.

Do you find  Munich expensive? Do you find it safe?