SIGHTS in Munich:
A team like the FC Bayern München got fans all around the world. The German record champions are the number one on the eternal table of the Bundesliga. In Europe they range among the five most successful teams with six European Cups. But there's more that fascinates fans of Germany's most successful club: the stadium built by star architect Herzog & de Meuron. The view from outside and from the stands are an aesthetic spectacle. But what does it look like behind the scenes? The VIP tour through the Allianz Arena reveals these secrets and opens doors that are usually closed for the common stadiumgoer. What does it feel like to sit on the coaches' bench? What do the VIP boxes look like? Where are the guests of honour pampered during the games? All this will be answered. You can even peep into the sanctuary of the football temple, the dressing rooms. That's where the coach gives either praise or has a whinge during half-time breaks and where bottles are popped after a successful season. In order to be a fly on these walls you don't even have to be a football fan.
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.
The greatest treasures of art history are on display. We just need to open our eyes, pause for a moment and marvel. Let's start our tour with the Alte Pinakothek: You can admire more than 700 masterpieces of European artists from the 14th to the 18th centuries are on display, including famous ones such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Dürer, Rubens, and Rembrandt. Head on to the Neue Pinakothek, a unique collection of European art from neo-classicism up to art nouveau, the romantic Caspar David Friedrich, impressionists like Manet and Monet or the pioneer of expressionism, Vincent Van Gogh. Finally the Pinakothek der Moderne, which, in reality, is four in one: Visual arts, graphic arts, architecture and design of the 20th and 21st centuries under one roof, one of the biggest and most surprising museums of its kind worldwide. Art is not simply hung on the walls. It turns into a happening, something that is searching for a dialogue with the observer. In the Neue Sammlung of the design museum you can sail from time island to time island, docking at the avant-gardes of the 20s and 30s, dropping by the Pop Art design of the 60s and experience post modernism and purism.
SHOPPING in Munich:
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.
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!
The success story of Pool began in the mid-1990s when the two managers Cambis Sharegh and Pete Hannewald opened a small store on Müllerstraße. By now there are four stores based in Munich and the online store verypoolish.com - which was founded in 2009 and is worshipped by fashion lovers - that rate among the business family. Pool offers a variety of hip designers like Julius, Maison Michel Paris and Neil Barrett. Apart from high fashion for women and men there is also a sophisticated and cosmopolitan assortment of decorative home accessories, lifestyle and beauty products. The look of Pool is cool and sexy. And that does not come by chance. Co-owner Cambis Sharegh is a known house DJ with gigs in international clubs in Munich, Berlin, London and Cape Town. Furthermore he is a music producer with his own record label. Thus, it's not surprising that Pool is also a trendy address for CDs and vinyl and they also organise parties and events.
EAT in Munich:
You cannot blame the food if you regret walking into the Tantris. And with this kind of superlative quality, the prices go without saying. Depending on the time of the day and day of the week, you'll have to figure 100 to 200 euros per person. However, you will get something really special for it: The Tantris is the pioneer among the German gourmet culture. In the year 0 of its foundation (1971 AD) it was still believed that the Teutonic had nothing to offer to the world other than sauerkraut and curry sausage. Then came Eckart Witzigmann and cooked up two Michelin stars for the Tantris. The Gault-Millau gave 18 points, and today the restaurant with its ambiance full of relish and verve is known to be one of the most important talent factories for creative chefs in Germany. Some find the orange red design of the seventies simply too much. Yet this top-class restaurant is a product of its age, and it didn't bend simply to catch the changing fashions. Tip: You can introduce yourself to the Tantris with the Saturday afternoon special menu. There are four courses including white, red and dessert wine for 115,- euros per person. It's important to reserve beforehand!
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.
Last meals obviously leave nothing to be desired, and such is the case in the Last Supper! Images of saints smile from wood-panelled walls, and the furnishing is rustic. What looks like a pious Bavarian tavern at first glance, is a heathen gourmet temple at the second, one where people sacrifice to the god of gluttonousness. Chef Tobis Gietz and the waiters always crack a joke, the stereo is playing Sex Pistols, and the guests are so hip that any organizer of church congresses would be green with envy. Boris Becker, Horst Tappert and the German punk band Toten Hosen have already been spotted. And even the food fills us with awe: You don't get anything a la carte, yet there are three daily changing menus for 31 euros each, which can be mixed and matched as you like. For example beef carpaccio with Parmesan cheese, duck with chestnuts and red cabbage and crème brulée. Enjoy your meal as if it were your last!
STAY in Munich:
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.
Hotel am Markt
Black and white photographs at the reception desk remind you of the many ballet dancers and opera singers that have stayed here. No wonder: You will find all the important theatres within walking distance. You might even see one or the other artist warming up in the breakfast room. There are three main reasons to stay in this place: 1. The international audience: People that live grandly and make little to-do about it. 2. The location: The house was built in 1897 as a fish exchange near the Viktualienmarkt. At the time there was a creek nearby, from which the ware was delivered fresh onto the sales counter. 3. The prices: A double without shower is available starting at 79,- euros. If you want you can also get a 90 m² suite (2-6 occupants) with a view onto the Viktualienmarkt for 199,- euros.
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.