I´ve been in Munich for close to a month now, and I must say, I´m definitely a fan!
German food is pretty darn good overall, but also very heavy, since it is largely made up of pork, sausages, bread, potatoes and BEER. There are of course lots of good traditional German restaurants in the city, a new favorite being Weisses Bräuhaus, which was suggested to us by Toby´s sister-in-law, and had awesome food and even better dessert! Munich has a lot of variety as well; we´ve had everything from sushi to upscale Mexican and a lot of traditional Italian food too.
You can only eat out so much though, and in order to save money and (sometimes) calories, one eventually has to start cooking. I´m definitely not much of a cook, but I have managed to make some dinners that don´t consist of just sandwiches.
I go grocery shopping almost every day here; since things are rarely sold in “American” sized portions, which is great for me since I am only shopping for two people. Sometimes I miss having a gigantic pantry and fridge filled with food like I did at home, but by shopping in smaller quantities we waste a lot less food, and I really only buy what I know we will eat. It certainly helps that I walk right by at least 2 grocery stores on the way home from school, and there is another one within 5 minutes walking distance from our bungalow. I´ve done enough grocery shopping by now that I can almost always find what I need without having to text Toby, though I do have to resort to my phone for translations on occasion.
My favorite place to shop for food though is definitely the Viktualienmarkt , which is a nice-sized food market right in the heart of Munich. There I´ve scored some delicious quiches, breads, cheese, dips and more. I could wander around there for hours buying new treats if my wallet would permit such an indulgent day. Food markets are definitely something we are missing in Raleigh, the farmers market just doesn´t compare.
Love the fresh produce stands (left). Daily menu of my fav. soup place (right)
I´ve only been to Hofbräuhaus so far, and that was just to take a peek inside. We have plans to go to Augustinerbräu at some point though, as it is apparently a favorite here in Munich. Beer always seems to be the cheapest option when eating out, which is great when you want a large cold glass, but not so much when you really just want some water. A glass of water can easily cost you 2-4 Euros depending on the size, making me miss the days of free water (and free refills) back home. So a lot of the times I end up just going with the crowd and getting a beer. Also Munich, like most other European cities, has great coffee, especially cappuccinos, which have become my weakness. We don´t have an electric coffee maker in our flat, so I´ve been giving in to temptation and buying a cappuccino almost every day before school (a habit I really should break).
Ah German public transportation is awesome, though I would be lying if I said I never missed driving my car down a windy back road on the outskirts of Raleigh some days. But all in all I think the Munich underground (U-Bahn) is great; it´s very clean, very efficient and I have yet to get lost. Not only that, but I feel very safe taking the U-Bahn alone, even at night by myself. Unfortunately I can´t say the same for when I was in both Paris and Barcelona. The trams and buses are good too, though I haven´t had much of a need for them yet.
Home Sweet Home
As some of you may know, Toby and I are living in the old Olympic Village, which once housed the female athletes for the 1972 Summer Games. They lived in “bungalows”, which after the games were turned into student housing. The bungalows were rebuilt from 2007-2009 and students moved back in, in the fall of 2009.There are 1052 bungalows, all within walking distance to a small shopping area which includes several bakeries, a grocery store, post office, flower shop and more. Our flat is very close to the entrance and is literally a 2 minute walk to the U-bahn and about a 12 minute ride to the city center. We can also walk through the old Olympic grounds, which are still used today for many purposes. Right now the leaves are changing and the whole area looks really beautiful. My favorite aspect of where we live though is that residents are allowed to paint their bungalow. I´ve included some of my favorites below!
The bungalow itself is pretty small, but we have our own entrance and no neighbors above us, since each bungalow is two stories. I was a bit concerned about going from my nice big bedroom and bath at home to a flat that could almost fit in my bedroom alone, but honestly it hasn´t been a big issue. Granted it might be different if I was living here for a whole year, but for just a couple of months this place is pretty awesome. There´s a decent amont of storage for such a small place and I have almost gotten used to having such a tiny kitchen. Having such a small place means it gets messy very easily, but it also doesn´t take long to clean up-which is good because cleaning isn´t my strong point. Mom you would be proud of how much better I´ve become at cleaning up the kitchen after myself!
I finally started classes a couple of weeks ago at Deutsch Akademie, which I´ve enjoyed. Learning German (Deutsch) is definitely not going to be easy for me, there are a lot of rules and exceptions to learn, plus I am seemingly unable to pronounce any word with a “Z” correctly…. But I will persevere! I´ve met some great people in my class, including two students from Lenoir NC (small world!). It´s a bit strange being a student again, and it´s definitely a different kind of learning experience, since a lot of us in the class have to learn Deutsch in order to get jobs etc… So while the atmosphere of the class is pretty relaxed, I also have to focus a lot more than I did in certain college courses (cough cough Intro to Geology) if I don´t want to get behind.
Overall it´s been a smooth transition to life in Munich, and I can´t wait to see what the next couple of months have in store!