It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted – more than 9 months in fact. And sadly – the grey days where I left off are just around the corner. It’s been a busy 9 months and i’ve had flythesevenseas too often on my mind that its embarrassing that I haven’t simply just pushed myself a little. But here I am.
So before the grey days return, I have to say thank you. Thank you for being graced by the summer of summers this year. My third summer in Munich (and Germany) has come to a close, followed by dreamy, golden Autumn (more to come).
Summer in Munich was very sweaty. Sydney sweaty. A stinker as we would say back home. And I loved it.
Tomorrow at 12pm Oberbürgermeister (Lord Mayor) Dieter Reiter will mark the official begin of München’s most renowned annual event as he taps the first keg of Oktoberfest Bier in the Schottenhamel Bier tent, follows this with an “O’zapft’ is” and a good swig of his Maß.
Once tapped, the 13 other tents can begin to serve the München-brewed Bier to their thirsty guests.
For the next two weeks to follow, the sights and smells of the Oktoberfest will be ever-present throughout the city; throngs of tourists crowd the main train stations and the city centre, Tracht will be worn from dawn to dusk and the streets will buzz with groups of extra jolly, sometimes sweaty and most often tipsy, red-cheeked revellers.
In celebration of Pentecost (Pfingsten) over last week’s long weekend, Germany was blessed with blistering sunshine and temperatures over 34 degrees. The summer feeling has definitely arrived, which only means one thing: I am in my element.
I particularly love this weather – the hot breeze, light cotton dresses, sticky skin and jugs of iced, lemon water to cool down. Knowing that it probably won’t last long, I pull out my favourite summer pieces, courtesy of my Australian wardrobe, and embrace the heat.
Given that Germans are basically always partaking in some sort of outdoor activity regardless of the weather, it was without surprise that the flip-flops were out over the weekend. Returning back to München in the afternoon after a short getaway to the neighbouring state of Baden-Württemberg, the first thing we did was head down to the Isar for some waterside bliss. Naturally, we weren’t the only ones with this idea.
The Isar can be described as the lifeblood of München – running approximately 14km through München, it plays a central role in the lives of Müncheners – each person undoubtedly holding a unique relationship with this alpine river.
Longer days, the bright neon green of new foliage, unpredictable weather, a layer of pollen resting everywhere. Spring is definitely here.
A city adapts itself over the seasons – the ‘wake up’ after winter being the most profound. Spring is therefore generally fresh, bright and cheery and Munich does not fall short of putting on a good show.
It’s a fact – we all go gaga over a newborn. There is no denying how special it is to appreciate what God has brought in to the world and in particular, being able to observe how babies and infants experience their miniature world. (No, I am not one bit clucky).
In December last year, the celebrity polar bear couple of Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo, Giovanna and Yoghi, gave birth to a set of twin cubs. The cubs, who are still unnamed, remained nestled closely with their mother for their first three months of infancy but have recently made their first steps on solid ground. Sneaky paparazzi images of the twins served the curiosity of the community while under their mother’s care – creating some hype in the community.
The public can now visit the tiny creatures and as you can imagine, I jumped at the first opportunity I could find.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m a weather girl. When the sun sneaks its way on to my cheek of a morning through the small opening of my bedroom shutters I can’t help but get out of bed and get outside. The dark days of winter, those days where the drizzle just didn’t stop, only made me feel like battling with the kitchen knife and a 2 kilogram pumpkin to indulge in a creamy soup.
As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been blessed with some unbelievably beautiful weather as of late. Germany’s not known for its sunshine – in fact when summer brings a solid two weeks of heat and sun, the crowds are more than pleased.
Before moving to Germany, my knowledge of German food consisted of popular items found on the menu of Sydney’s Löwenbräukeller (pronounced Low-en-brow in Australia, and Looe-ven-broi in German) – schnitzel, sausages, pork knuckle and sauerkraut. As a self-professed ‘foodie’ (as they say) I would often watch Maeve O’Mara’s Food Safari and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and was interested enough to listen to my mum’s tips to know that in general Germans love a good apple cake, a potato could accompany most meals and German bread was an art form.
As with most cultures, German cuisine offers a variety of specialties across the country – there are the North-Sea ‘prawns’ (Nord See Krabben) from the north, the filled donuts (Krapfen / Berliner Ball) from the east, the interesting combination of mash potato, apple puree and blood sausage that is ‘Himmel und Erde’ from the west and the white sausage (Weißwurst) of the south.
Change is on its way.
Statisticians, especially when it comes to the weather – love to make comparisons. Last year Germany experienced the darkest winter in over 60 years. This winter we were lucky enough to see the sunniest winter in 30 years. While I couldn’t have personally made this comparison, I definitely noticed the abundance of blue skies over the last two months (I was too busy gallivanting around Australia to care about Germany’s weather in December). This meant the midday lunch break was spent outside rather than huddled in the work canteen and my bike has been disturbed from its winter sleep a little earlier. And with the sun came a very mild winter, especially after last years ordeal (now I’ve started with the comparisons). We saw some light snow in Munich as early as October, another little batch blessed us in November and late January saw a weeks worth – just enough to kick around and know it was winter.
You wouldn’t believe it. Or perhaps you may, but I am still finding it hard to believe. I have been driving.
Why do I find this so hard to believe? Because I have been a bit of a wuss / gutless wonder / excuse maker since moving here. When living in Sydney, I would’ve driven almost every day. I knew back-street routes, the one-way streets in the city and even the free parking spots that surrounded popular spots. I enjoyed driving and, after mastering manual after a few mandatory tantrums as a learner, I was a confident driver.
This all changed when I moved to Germany.