Discovering the Munich That Isn’t In the Guidebooks

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Throwback Tuesday Post (TBTP): Every Tuesday, I re-post a past post that I think is relevant and that you’ll enjoy.

This post was originally published on January 8, 2015 and updated on August 27, 2019.

The title of this post is slightly misleading in that it’s actually about a guidebook, though not your typical guidebook. The book is named 111 Places in Munich That You Shouldn’t Miss, and it was recommended to me by a fellow guest at a dinner party last year.

The book contains fun and off-the-beaten-path things to see all over the city and in some outlying areas. After you see the Glockenspiel, six breweries and countless beer gardens, you can select from 111 additional places that you won’t find on the Tourist Information map. Since we’ve lived here over a year now, my husband and I were ready to find the cool stuff only locals know about. For that matter, locals don’t know about some of the things on the list. The sights are things you might look at and shrug on your way to a major tourist attraction, never knowing any details.

The writing is fun, cheerful and clever; plus the author’s pictures resembles Captain Kangaroo. In the one-page text about each sight, you can find historical, political or cultural tidbits. In the small paragraph on how to arrive at the sight, you can find an extra place in the same neighborhood to see, resulting in a total of at least 222 things in the book.

For example, number 78 (the items are arranged in alphabetical order) is the so-called “Shirker’s Lane”. It’s a series of bronze cobblestones set into the middle of a short alley in the midst of Munich near the royal palace. Back in the day, people would take a shortcut through this alley to avoid having to give the Nazi salute to some guards who were stationed at a memorial on the adjoining street.

After we bought the book several months ago, my husband and I checked off about 11 things we’d already seen. Now we are making a concerted effort to see the rest of them, and sometimes we see something and later recognize it in the book.

So far we’ve seen 29 of the things, or just over 26%. Sure seems like more. The best part of this project are the gems we find on our way to see the sights listed in the book.

For example, this Tuesday was a very sunny, beautiful day, and rather warm. So we decided to find the Sunken Village (#97) located near the Allianz Arena that the German champion F.C. Bayern soccer team calls home. The Arena looks like a giant Michelin man lost his waistline:

At night they light the place so it glows white, red, blue or striped. It’s located one long subway train stop from our place; we can just see it from our balcony. If you didn’t know what it was, it is very creepy to see through the trees in the dark (read, alien invasion).

We took the train to the stop, which is still quite a jaunt from the Arena:

On our way past the giant structure we noticed people going in and out, though it wasn’t a game day. So we, too, dropped in to explore.

I got a few shots of the actual pitch with my new zoom lens from the stadium corridors:

The big draw, however, was the FC Bayern Fan Shop Megastore. Now, I’m used to European versions of things like “megastore”, which usually don’t measure up to the American scale of such things. However, this one was right on point.
They had EVERYTHING with the colors and logos of FC Bayern. Everything from gloves to jammies to kids’ bicycles. You can even have your picture taken with the German soccer cup trophy and the German soccer championship trophy (yeah, I don’t really know the difference, but there are two different trophies). The photo is against a green screen where I would imagine they make it look like you’re on the field with the players. It’s a really big deal around here.

We resisted the urge to load up on soccer gear and continued on our way. We took a bridge over the autobahn right next to the arena. The road is named after Kurt Landauer, the longest-running and much beloved president of the soccer team (1913 – 1951). The things I learn around here!

Standing on the bridge astride the A9 (Autobahn 9), we could just see the Alps to the south off in the distance. It’s the first time I’d seen the mountains from here. The weather usually isn’t so clear.

Just on the other side of the bridge is a large hill called Fröttmaninger Berg, which used to be called Müllberg. Müllberg means “garbage mountain”, which is appropriate because this hill and the surrounding ones are made from a landfill.

At the base of the nearest hill was this guy flying his RC quadrocopter:

We waved for the GoPro camera mounted on it as it flew over us. You may see us on YouTube.

A few paces away was Sunken Village:

It’s not a whole village, but it’s an artist’s (Timm Ulrichs) statement on replacing the former rural village of Fröttmaning on this spot with a landfill. This “church” is an exact replica of a real church just 150 yards away. The real Holy Cross Church is all that’s left of Fröttmaning. The buildings appear identical except Sunken Village looks like it’s being swallowed up by the landfill.

The structure was installed in 2006 at the same time the arena was being built for the FIFA World Cup competitions.

While nosing around the “church” we saw a group of young men coming over the hill behind it. They all seemed to have a common purpose and all of them were carrying similar bags. Then we noticed that they were playing frisbee. Then we noticed that there is a frisbee golf course on the hills. We were gratified to know they were using the landfill for good instead of just letting it sit there.

I spent a lot of time (procrastinating on writing this post) to make this next graphic to show you exactly what was happening (because you can’t really see the frisbee unless you know it’s there):

You’re welcome.

I highly recommend the “111” book. It’s available in several languages and for many cities. I’ve seen it for Berlin and Mainz, plus London and Vienna. It’s enhanced our knowledge and enjoyment of our adopted city; I’m sure it could do the same for you.

BTW, speaking of good books, have you bought any of my books yet? If so, thanks! If not, get a move-on!

Photo for No Apparent Reason (you know who you are):

2 thoughts on “Discovering the Munich That Isn’t In the Guidebooks”

  1. I lived in Rheinland Pfalz and Oberbayern a total of four years back in the sixties. I look at the Germany of my memory as a second homeland. But, the years go by, and when I happen to be in Germany just passing through I see how much it has changed. If I were to return to Germany for any extended period, I am afraid I would feel like a stranger. I no longer have contact with my friends of those long ago days; some did not manage to outlive me, others just faded away to other phases of our lives. Using the “111” guide book may be a big help in making me feel at home again. Thank you for your blog.

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