STAY in Munich:
Whether in the King Ludwig or Empress Sissi room - in this guesthouse kitsch is part of the programme. The baroque furnishing blends in perfectly with the renovated Wilhelminian-style houses around the Gärtnerplatz and the Glockenbachviertel, for many the chief party district in Munich. This is where the creative and individualist, the crazy and rare birds live. The neighbourhood, which used to be something of a gay bastion not so long ago, has turned into a haven for a colourful bunch of people with the highest birth rate in the city! The retrograde flair of the guesthouse, however, should not cover the fact that the guest can expect all the comfort of the (post)modern age, including wireless Internet and satellite TV. Tip: The two tower rooms on the second floor are particularly spacious and therefore ideal for families. Doubles start at 110,- euros a night.
The hotelier is an advocate of the theme hotel idea, but with a soft touch: In the Advokat the guest receives personal attention and his inner self is caressed. After the Admiral, which was his first, extremely successful boutique hotel in an old-fashioned, cosy style, he opened the Advokat in 1996 in the look of the sixties: polished travertine flooring, half-curtains at the wardrobe, and globe lamps. The creative class, in particular, appreciate this: Actors, theatre directors as well as people working in the fashion and publishing industry are regulars. In 2006 the Sightsleeping®-jury of the Bavarian Marketing GmbH awarded the hotel's lobby a prize for its loving design. And Vogt won't skimp on endearing little gestures: for example the bedtime reading next to the bed (and not a bible!) or shining red apples on the pillow. Doubles start at 150,- euros a night.
In this charming, family-run pension, categories lose their meaning. It's true that you cannot expect princely luxury from the Pension am Kaiserplatz. Instead there are ten individually furnished, charming rooms. You've got the choice: Would you like Art Nouveau, Old German or rustic peasant art? Or rather modern in the first place? Bathroom included or shared shower and WC? The Art Nouveau villa is located in the middle of Schwabing, yet it is so quiet that many guests have long become regulars. Which is where the catch is: With doubles starting at 49,- euros (singles 31,- euros) the place is such good value and with its ten rooms so small that you must reserve in advance! Otherwise your visit in Munich might still end up costing a king's ransom.
SHOPPING in Munich:
In this shop you find hip fashion for people who enjoy swirling through the air: Snowboarders, surfers, skaters and every one who catches air from one happy cloud to the next. Fans of big street wear labels from the US, Sweden, Iceland, and England won't stop raving about this futuristic-psychedelic room: Behind transparent walls with a flexible shelving systems there are coloured fluorescent tubes that plunge the decidedly ascetic interior into a changing bath of colours. The brands: Analog, Nikita, WESC, DC, Encore, Evisu, B by Burton, Arcus, Insight, Fenchurch, Albin, EVAW, LRG, Quest, Zoo York, Hurley, Vans, and others. Never heard of them? Then it's time to take a look. The colour bath alone is worth a visit!
In this cosy concept store you can, with good conscience, stock up on precious things to wear, decorate your house with and pamper yourself. The leitmotif is the principle of sustainability: Furniture from plantation teak wood, or clothes by the Natural Wave Label of shop owner Oliver Wiesent. The fashion is anything but boring. Linen is combined with silk, and the classic natural colours with hearty orange and red. Aside from his own, Wiesent also offers other sustainability labels, such as the Spanish EseOEse & Yerse or the Scandinavian Brittinger. If you want, you can ride on the eco wave right in front of your doorstep, since, aside from fashion, furniture and natural cosmetics, you'll also find kitchen ware, home accessories and handmade semi-precious stone jewellery.
Tsé & Tsé
Even lamps, vases and baby plaids tell stories - especially when two crazy French women have created them. The Vase d'Avril, for example, the first product of the Parisian designer duo Catherine Lévy and Sigolène Prébois, who are the women behind the label Tsé Tsé: 21 test tubes that will bring a colourful spring flower meadow into your home. Or the Guirlande Cubiste, a lamp in the form of 15 hand-folded white and colouredl paper cubes with mysterious lighting effects. Everything got started with the two designers thinking about interesting objects for themselves, little crazy things that beautified their lives. To this day there is a lot of esprit and joie de vivre in their design, and each piece gives you the feeling of truly owning one-of-a-kind piece. There are only three shops worldwide that carry the entire Tsé Tsé product line. The shop in Munich also offers many other - mostly French - brands for tableware, home accessories and furniture. The great thing about it: Many of the things even fit into your carry-on luggage.
EAT in Munich:
Mauro Mahjoub doesn't simply mix drinks. He is a barkeep with heart, soul and lots of spirit, which is what you'll find in his cocktails. The Mauro's Negroni Club is his second enterprise in Munich. Previously the award-winning barista ran the popular bar Negroni with Michele. Mauro has remained true to his successful concept not only by name: Dark wood panelling, light wood flooring and drop-shaped ceiling lights welcome visitor of the bar with a classic design. To drink there is an excellent choice of wines, classic cocktails as well as Mauro's own creations. And despite the fact that you don't come here for the food - smart meals at fair prices such as pasta with salsiccia (sausages) or ossobuco (knuckle of veal) with puree and vegetable help to create a solid foundation to anchor the benevolent spirits.
Lilac walls, silver deer heads and kangaroo burgers - there is something fishy about the Waldfee. The menu is one that should make the trolls and elves of the alpine forests happy: Porcini and other mushrooms, cheese pasta from Kärnten and original Wiener Schnitzel, also lots of game and Austrian desserts that taste bewitchingly fantastic. Only the question about the kangaroo remains: What business does the marsupial from Down Under have in the Altschwabing neighbourhood? You never know. But don't worry too much about it, enjoy the enchanted atmosphere, share your giant portion of Kaiserschmarrn with other forest dwellers and be happy to be alive. Because after the Waldfee, you will all live happily ever after.
Most people admire the Glockenspiel at the New Town Hall from down below. Insiders know better and make themselves comfortable in the eponymous restaurant. The entry is a little hidden between the Asian restaurant Sasou and a mobile phone shop. Yet those who find it are rewarded with copious breakfast choices, a reasonably-priced lunch menu until 4 p.m. (around 12 euros), 70 international wines, coffee and delicious cakes. From the panorama windows and the sunny rooftop terrace you have the best view onto the Glockenspiel in the tower of the New Town Hall, which has been going round and round since 1908, every day at 11 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. (the last performance doesn't take place from November till February). In the evening, when the dancing figurines call it a day, the bar welcomes you with wonderful drinks.
SIGHTS in Munich:
For a long time it was the uncontested hip neighbourhood of Munich. Then came (supposedly) the yuppies and drove the artists out. Nevertheless, it continues to be the best place to party. On warm summer nights every one who feels like some fun meets on the steps in front of the Gärtnerplatz theatre or in the green spaces, drinks beer and enjoys the City. If you want you can start your party night with an opera or a musical in the Staatstheater - or simply join one of the many in-bars to warm up for a full night of clubbing. For example the hip Café King, which is located in a former filling station, or the cosy Holy Home. 30 years ago, the Glockenbach was one of the poorest working-class neighbourhoods in Munich, and many apartments stood empty. Then came the artists, lesbians, gays, students and immigrants. In the Mylord rather opposites types such as Freddy Mercury, the Bavarian heavyweight politician Franz Josef Strauß and the filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder had loud parties (even if not necessarily together). The yuppies and real estate speculators have long discovered the district, and many of the crazy birds of former times have been driven out. Some may regret that. Yet it's no reason to ring in the end of alternative culture in Munich.
Nothing may aspire to greater highs than the onion dome of the Frauenkirche - Munich continues to be well-grounded. For comparison: The Cologne Cathedral is almost 160 metres and the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt even 259 metres high. Yet the building regulations have something to be proud of, since from the top of the south tower you have a wonderful view onto the rooftops of Munich as well as the nearby Alps. Construction began in 1468. It must have been conceived as some type of Ark of Bavaria, because the giant building provided room for 20,000 standing people - at a time when Munich, with its 13,000 inhabitants, was really something of a big village. Who knows, maybe some feared the revenge of the devil? He is said to have stomped his foot on the ground, enraged that he had been fooled or out of sheer anger about the imposing house of god. The footprint, complete with a hooked tail, is still visible in the entry hall. Who knows what other mischief Beelzebub is still up to?
It doesn't always have to be Neuschwanstein Castle. But a little bit of castle is inevitable, and at least you can reach Nymphenburg by tram. The magnificent palace is just as much part of the Bavarian identity as beer and pretzels. The castle owes its existence to a happy occasion: The birth of Elector Ferdinand Maria's and his wife Adelaide of Savoy's heir to the throne in 1664. At the time, Munich was truly a village, and Nymphenburg was so far out on the countryside that it served as a summer residence. In the course of the years it was changed according to the prevailing style. Today, walls and ceilings are for the most part covered with extravagant baroque paintings. For its inhabitants the Nymphenburg Palace was much more than a castle to show off with. It was a place of life, love and birth - i.e. that of the famous Fairy Tale King Ludwig II in a bedroom that is open to visitors. Another attraction is the beauty gallery of King Ludwig I., which immortalized the most beautiful Munich women of his time. Today, maybe the most striking thing is the enchanting palace garden with its lakes, canals and water fountains.