Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Seifenkisten Rennen at the Auer Dult

'Hier ist der Welt noch in Ordnung' is a German phrase I've come to know and love. The literal translation is 'Here the world is still in order'. My husband usually says it whenever we drive through a charming little village in the Bavarian countryside. I think it to myself a lot living in Munich.

The things that involve the world being in Ordnung (to my mind, anyway) include a spirit of community, simple pleasures that don't involve the distractions of modern life and a preservation of customs of traditions.

The annual seifenkisten rennen (soapbox race) that takes place during the Mai Dult is one such occasion where the phrase leaps to mind.  It's a soapbox race that includes kids, parents, neighborhood old folks, as well as business establishments and local authorities. The participants all race with their own, hand built soap boxes. There are age divisions and an MC.

Watching everyone cheer and clap for their friends and neighbors as they race down the hill, while eating handmade potato chips from a paper cone and sipping coke through a straw makes me feel like I'm in a Munich version of The Andy Griffith Show.

These quaint pleasures within a large city are what makes Munich so special to me. In Ordnung indeed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wandern Mit Dem MVV #24 - Die Wolfratshauser Aussichtsrunde

I have a little book called 'Wandern mit dem MVV'. It's pocket size and the concept is simple. It's a series of numbered scenic walks you can take in the surrounding areas of Munich starting at an S-Bahn station.

I've had the idea to go on all 40 walks listed in the book for awhile, the plan being this will become an occasional but regular series on this her blog. The inaugural walk took place in March of this year.

I went with a friend and we decided to do #24 which is about a 12km circle around Wolfratshausen.

The walk starts at the Icking S-Bahn station. It took us around 3 hours, with a pause in the middle for a Brezn and and some Obatzda.

The walk was pretty great. There were stunning vistas high above the Isar, as well as paths that led off the road practically through peoples back yards. The one above sported an impressive collection of bird feeders.

We also learned that the term 'findling' refers to a large rock. At least we assume it does. The guide instructed us to turn left at the 'findling' and ultimately the rock above was the only thing there that it could've been. No idea if these are naturally occurring or not.

Wolfratshausen is full of old country charm, and apparently used to be a big center of commerce along the Isar.

Here's the spot where they assemble those big rafts that go down the Isar carrying oompah bands and merrymakers.


Money Shot: The Ickinger Wehr.

As you can see the walk was gorgeous, and this was in early March. I imagine it must be spectacular when spring is in full throttle. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


When you live in the Au, Schwabing can sometimes seem like it's in another galaxy. I don't get up there much, so I'm always at a loss when thinking of where to meet someone when I find myself north of Prinzregentenstrasse equator.

Fortunately a friend suggested Seerose. It's a little Trattoria at the end of Feilitzschtrasse practically bordering the English garden.

Hip, hidden and 'indie' this place is not. It's owned by the same people that own Theresa, Freebird, Kaisergarten and similar establishments around town. But the food is decent, the decor is charming and the prices are reasonable. For these reasons it's gained a place on my roster, and pops into mind whenever I'm headed northward.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


After living here so long it's hard to discern what habits and rituals I've developed that are a direct result of residing in a certain place. I now realize that the I have absorbed the internal alarm setting, which goes off about mid-march to get my balcony flowers going.

It's hard to ignore, every supermarket, drugstore and garden supply shop suddenly rolls out sidewalk stands full of planting soil, little pots of herbs and flowers.

I like this annual ritual, and it's mixing of the urbane and the natural.

I've probably mentioned before on this blog that one of the things I disliked about growing up in L.A. was the lack of seasons. Acknowledging and celebrating spring by getting on my knees, filling pots with potting soil and watching seedlings grow is a habit I hope to keep for the rest of my life. I'm sure this wouldn't have become a part of me if I hadn't moved here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cara Purta Papierladen in Maxvorstadt

If you're ever wandering around on that stretch of Schellingstrasse just past Turkenstrasse and before Augustenstrasse where it's a little dead, keep going to you come across Carta Pura.

It's a full-service specialty paper shop that's a pleasure just to be in. Even if it's closed they've always got whimsical and clever window displays. As it says on their website: 

Some people also pass by on Sundays. Although the shop is closed, you can have a look at the four large shop windows with their constantly renewed displays. Since about 18 years these arrangements are composed by our display artist in a humerous [sic] and idiosyncratic way, baroque and minimalistic, stringent and cheeky at the same time.

I took these quick snaps almost four (!) years ago, knowing I'd want to post about the shop someday. I'm glad I was digging around in my digital photo pile. I'm going to design and make confirmation invitations for my niece this year, and I'll be heading over here to pick up the paper!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Springtime in Munich

Springtime in Munich makes me wish I had a better camera. And also that I was a better photographer. It's so difficult to capture how glorious it is here this time of year.

It's like living in a time-elapsed nature film, where you watch the entire city wake up from a winter sleep. Each days the trees get a little more green, pink or yellow. Münchners run around shirtless and half-naked, revealing the deep, pagan, nature-worshipping streak that resides in all Germans.

I love it.

There's a soundtrack in my head that switches between Diana Ross' languorous 'Love Hangover' and (unfortunately!) Springtime for Hitler in Germany from The Producers. I know about the latter! it's terrible, but it's such an upbeat tune and somehow my brain latched onto 'Springtime' and 'Germany' and well....

Family from New York visited recently. Fortunately the weather behaved and I was able to take them around on Call-A-Bikes through the Viktualienmarkt and into the English Garden where they were AGOG at all the people out, the abundant green space and civic public life.

Of course I think of it all the time, but it's a nice reminder when visitors come and really get to experience the best of your home town.

From now on I'm only going to allow U.S. visitors to visit between late April and early September!

Friday, April 17, 2015

La Bouche Restaurant in Glockenbach

Full Disclosure: I'm not a raving fan of French cuisine. Sure it's good, but I don't get why it's been elevated to the standing it has. Not that I'm at all qualified to make that pronouncement! It just seems over-engineered and fussy and in my experience doesn't yield a culinary experience that makes my eyes roll back into my head like, say, most Italian food.

To each her own.

Never the less, my uncle and cousin are visiting this week and my uncle, an unabashed Francophile had a hankering for French food. We were on foot walking towards Sendlinger Tor, I had already decided to take us to Goldmarie when my uncle pronounced his preference for French. I had to think fast.

I've walked passed La Bouche several times and have always found the decor spare but charming. I also dimly remembered hearing good things about it. It was 5 minutes away on foot and close to their hotel. Done and done.

We walked in sans reservations. Kein problem, we were welcomed and told to sit wherever we like. Much to the delight of my American family members jug after jug of leistungswasser was brought to the table (without asking!) along with a bottomless bowl of delicious baguette slices. So far so good.

My young cousin kept asking me how to say 'Can I have x' we struggled a bit going back and forth with 'Ich hätte gern', when the waitress came to our table, looked at him and said 'SO was hättest du gern'. Again, friendly and welcoming, which is surprising considering it's a french restaurant in Bavaria!

The food was good. My uncle was very pleased with his grille Loup de Mer, my husband had a delicious (if not a little bloody) Entrecote with sublime pomme frittes. My cousin, who is 16 enjoyed is Coq a Vin and my rabbit in a senf-karamel sauce served with Quinoa was fantastic.

There was a substantial wine list that we made good use of as well.

Despite my statement above about French food I'm sure this won't be my last trip to La Bouche!

P.S. I discovered on my way back from the restroom that there is an entire second room that runs parallel to the first dining room, so go look around the bend before you decide where you want to sit.

First photo from of