Beer gardens might just be one of the greatest things invented. It’s beyond me why other cultures have not incorporated this way of using public space. I mean, if I lived in Munich, these would be the places where you’d find me. And I don’t really even like beer. Luckily, the thing about beer gardens is not only beer. It’s about hanging out with friends and hot dates, about letting kids have fun in the playground and simply enjoying the outdoors – possibly with a cold wheat beer in hand.
Right after landing to Munich Airport and realising that THERE’S FREE COFFEE AT THE AIRPORT, I jump on a train and make my way to Marienplatz. I start my day doing what any other proper tourist should do – go to one of those beer gardens (dah!).
As I sit down, my attention is drawn to an old gentleman sitting alone at the next table. I don’t know exactly why, as I don’t even see his face. But the minute I look away, the gentleman is standing right in front of me.
“Is this seat taken?” he asks. Feeling surprised, I kindly reply to him, “No sir, please have a seat.”
“You must be a tourist. Let me offer you my favourite beer,” adds the gentleman. As I sip down yet another wheat beer, the gentleman shares with me stories of his hometown Munich. He wants me to know that Munich really is the greatest city in the world.
He shares with me all the sights to visit. And he tells me about the local culture. I learn that Bavarians are all grumpy and often really hard to get to know, but once you do – you’ll have them forever. And apparently in no sense is that a German thing, but only a Bavarian thing.
The main reason the old gentleman loves living in Munich is the way the city feels as comfortable as the countryside but with all the perks of a big city. Munich has sufficient public transportation, good beer, the blend of past and present, Prinzregententorte and the Alps just a short drive away. Who wouldn’t love that?
“Every single day, I walk through the old farmer’s market, Viktualienmarket. The market has been there for more than hundred years. Every day, I go there to smell the fresh new vegetables. I listen to the conversations around me. I hear the laughter of children. And I feel the breeze of the wind on my old skin. And I wish that more people would pay attention and see the beauty of the little things,” adds the old gentleman.
It could be the beer, but I start feeling emotional.
For the Love of Munich
The way this man describes Munich is like the greatest love story I’ve ever read. I am not the superstitious kind, but crossing paths with this man felt like something bigger, something that was meant to happen. As I have walked on the marbles of Taj Mahal at sunset, drank wine by the Eiffel Tower and seen the Alps from an airplane window – I too often forget to see the beauty in those little things.
The old gentleman suddenly grabs my hand and asks me to tell him what the Alps look like looking down from an airplane window.
I am not sure how to explain colours to a blind man.
You see, the old gentleman lost his sight during the Second World War. At the age of two.
But I know I can tell him that the Alps from an airplane window may be the most beautiful sight I’ve seen – but I ensure him that what’s more beautiful is to find beauty in laughter, wind or a conversation.
I hold his hand firmly and tell him that I wish I could see the world the way he feels it.
Want to know more about Munich? Download the PDF guide to Munich for your trip.