I’m in Munich, where there is no traffic, but lots of walkers and bikers and public transportation. It’s quiet and clean, and loaded with museums, good food and, of course, beer. Like Bilbao and Rotterdam, Munich seems like one of the most livable cities, so I did a little research. Forbes Magazine recently named Munich the world’s most livable city and everyone else puts it the world’s top ten. Felicidades, Munich!
However. It’s really cold here for someone who is used to the climates of coastal California and Central Mexico. On my way from Vienna, I found a heavy black coat in the train station mall on sale for 24 euro. It makes me look about 30 pounds heavier, annoying, but it’s warm and doesn’t wrinkle when I stuff it into a locker at a museum.
And speaking of museums, Munich has some great ones. My favorite is the Lenbachaus. It has the world’s largest collection of Blue Riders paintings. The Blue Riders was an association of early 20th century artists who were politically progressive and incorporated international folk art into their highly expressive art work. Among the group were Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Franz Marc. This painting by Marc is probably the best known.
I also went to a special exhibit of Etel Adnan’s works because she is well-loved in Lebanon for her poetry and support during the Lebanon’s civil war. Coincidentally, she was a professor at Dominican College, where son Gabe attended, and a student at UC Berkeley, my alma mater. (Thank you, Lauren, for telling me about Adnan!)
But the best thing about Munich for me was seeing my adopted refugee son, Sayed, who traveled from Berlin to spend a afternoon with me. If you followed my journey in Greece in 2016 or read my book, A Country Within, you’ll know Sayed (also called Arian), His journey to Greece to escape the war in Afghanistan — with three young children and his wife Najid — was nothing short of a miracle. Germany has been so good to Sayed and his family. His children are thriving and Najid is happy too. What a magic three hours we had catching up!
I didn’t know Munich had such a great old town section. It is wonderful that Sayed and family are doing so well.
Thank you for saying so! Yes, the old town is intact.
Beautiful city and wonderful story about Sayed!
Thanks Susan. Nos vemos!
Beautiful art, Kim (not sure about the new coat…). How wonderful for you to have some time to catch up with Sayed. That’s so lovely to learn he and his family are thriving!
Yes, Germany really stepped up to the plate when it took in 1 million refugees. The borders have been closed for several years now but those who made it here are doing well.
München is my favorite city in Germany and one of my top five favs in the world. I’ve been there many times since the ’70’s and hope I get there at least one more time.
I arrived for my first visit there full of trepidation. After all, this was where Hitler staged his failed 1923 putsch from the Bürgerbräukeller, a giant beer hall still in operation and fun to visit, and it was the heart of the birth of Nazism. I had been thoroughly indoctrinated from birth to both fear and hate Germans… but when I arrived in Munich and spent a week there and in other places nearby in stunningly beautiful Bavaria I found the German people to be very gemutlichkeit- warm and welcoming- and refreshingly honest and self-questioning. Both young and old were completely open and honest about their country’s and their ancestor’s horrendous behavior throughout the first half of the 20th century. All vowed they would never allow this behavior to arise again. This attitude was particularly evident in the younger people I mostly hung out with who had embraced a non-violent and eco-conscious political perspective. Well,.. we now know this was a vow they have been unable to keep because despite best efforts the far right wackos there are as crazed as ours, but I know they have tried and am confident the nation will continue to fight the rise of fascism.
Flattened during WW2, Munich was meticulously rebuilt and the old town is a delight to walk around. The park and river walks make it very livable… and, as you said, the museums are first class. I didn’t find the food to be outstanding, but it’s kinda’ cool that we carnivores can get any one of around 50 varieties of sausages 24/7 from traditional restaurants or carts in the street. And then there’s the beer- and the incredible wait-staff who manage to hold a half dozen giant steins of the stuff while weaving through dense crowds without spilling a drop. It’s my kinda’ town.
Your meeting and the time you spent with Sayed was the perfect capstone to this chapter in your next book “Kim’s Travels” (you should steal the title from Gulliver’s Travels). I can only imagine how emotional and rewarding it was for each of you. It made me review some of our emails and your blog postings from the past… and left me with a warm glow in my heart.
Oh yeah, the pictures you posted are great too… but they always are great.
What a wonderful blog posting you wrote! I think you would like how the food has changed here. Like most cities, it is more international than it was even 10 years ago. Even traditional German restaurants seem to have updated. You will have to come back. xoxox
How wonderful that you were able to spend some time with Sayed! Love the photo of the two of you 🙂
Yes, it was unexpected — he had to travel 10 hours for that visit. Every minute was precious!
A Travel Memoir in the making–that’s your beautiful blogposts and photos. As usual, I loved this account of Munich, especially the part about meeting Sayed. I do remember well the story of him and his family in your moving and beautiful book, A Country Within. Look forward to seeing you in beautiful, warm San Miguel upon your return. Abrazos!
Thanks Sher — on my way via California! See you there.
This old town caught my attention. Thanks for sharing this. Anita
Yes, it’s gorgeous!
I remember Sayed from your booK! How cool to RDV!
Thank you Isabel. 🙂
Beautiful Munich! Excellent art by Etel Adnan! Well shared👍
Thanks so much!