STAY in Munich:
Wilhelmine architecture meets avant-garde design, paired with a pinch of French lifestyle. The hotel Sofitel Bayerpost is a five-star hotel with aha experience. If you head for the heritage-protected building with its venerable façade, you will be surprised inside - by finding contemporary design at its best. In the magnificent lobby, 396 rooms and the famous Nymphenburg banquet hall, the guest finds modern classics of furniture design, simple shapes and quiet colours. The in-house restaurant Schwarz & Weiz impresses on three floors with exciting architecture and a tasteful trip through the Bavarian gourmet cuisine with French accents. Sophie's Bistro serves daily specials from the lava stone grill with ingredients fresh from the market - in summer also on the terrace.
Why book sightseeing tours when you can have a view of the Church of Our Lady from your bathtub? Admittedly, the ultimate view from the giant, free-standing wellness tub is only available from the 77 m² tower suite. Yet even some other, less extravagant rooms provide breathtaking sights from bird's eye view. On top of that, the happening nightlife in and around the centrally located Hotel (near the Stachus square) won't disturb your sweet dreams, since all rooms are entirely soundproofed. Moreover, there are personal climate control, free wireless internet, satellite TV and all sorts of special offers: For example the children package, complete with child-sized bathrobes, slippers and snacks. At your request the staff will also provide a play station or a parlour game selection. Doubles start at 170,- euros a night.
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.
EAT in Munich:
Lilac walls, silver deer heads and kangaroo burgers - there is something fishy about the Waldfee. The menu is one that should make the trolls and elves of the alpine forests happy: Porcini and other mushrooms, cheese pasta from Kärnten and original Wiener Schnitzel, also lots of game and Austrian desserts that taste bewitchingly fantastic. Only the question about the kangaroo remains: What business does the marsupial from Down Under have in the Altschwabing neighbourhood? You never know. But don't worry too much about it, enjoy the enchanted atmosphere, share your giant portion of Kaiserschmarrn with other forest dwellers and be happy to be alive. Because after the Waldfee, you will all live happily ever after.
In Japan, eating is a serious business. So serious, that in the Kaito one gets the impression of descending into a dimly lit, mysterious food temple in which foreign laws apply. Every meal is a piece of art, served according to aesthetic and philosophical considerations. If it wasn't so delicious one could almost be tempted to leave the meals untouched. In the Kaito, the tradition of Japanese gourmet culture is celebrated like nowhere else in the city: All the sauces are prepared by hand, and every day you can order fish of superlative quality. If you want you can dine very traditionally on the Tatami mats in the Japanese room. And if all of that is a tad too serious for you, you can move over to the party room with its Karaoke machine, and don't forget a good bottle of Sake. A little fun doesn't hurt - not even among the Japanese.
Secretly and quietly: This beer garden oasis is located on the highest mountain of the city (564 m) and, luckily, is missed by most. No mass processing, no packed tables, and with Ayinger beer the - subjectively speaking - best wheat beer in Bavaria. The summit has a bizarre history: After the World War II, the people in Munich didn't know where to put all the debris and, orderly as they are, carried it all to this one spot, making a mountain: The later Olympia Alm was built. During the construction of the area for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, the workers met at a kiosk that evolved into a beer garden. But beware: In order to reach the source of a cool refreshment or a giant portion of spear ribs, you'll have to climb the mountain for at least 10 minutes. This won't make you fit for Olympia, yet it might be a start.
SHOPPING in Munich:
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.
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!
Even lamps, vases and baby plaids tell stories - especially when two crazy French women have created them. The Vase d'Avril, for example, the first product of the Parisian designer duo Catherine Lévy and Sigolène Prébois, who are the women behind the label Tsé Tsé: 21 test tubes that will bring a colourful spring flower meadow into your home. Or the Guirlande Cubiste, a lamp in the form of 15 hand-folded white and colouredl paper cubes with mysterious lighting effects. Everything got started with the two designers thinking about interesting objects for themselves, little crazy things that beautified their lives. To this day there is a lot of esprit and joie de vivre in their design, and each piece gives you the feeling of truly owning one-of-a-kind piece. There are only three shops worldwide that carry the entire Tsé Tsé product line. The shop in Munich also offers many other - mostly French - brands for tableware, home accessories and furniture. The great thing about it: Many of the things even fit into your carry-on luggage.
SIGHTS 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.
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.
It doesn't always have to be Neuschwanstein Castle. But a little bit of castle is inevitable, and at least you can reach Nymphenburg by tram. The magnificent palace is just as much part of the Bavarian identity as beer and pretzels. The castle owes its existence to a happy occasion: The birth of Elector Ferdinand Maria's and his wife Adelaide of Savoy's heir to the throne in 1664. At the time, Munich was truly a village, and Nymphenburg was so far out on the countryside that it served as a summer residence. In the course of the years it was changed according to the prevailing style. Today, walls and ceilings are for the most part covered with extravagant baroque paintings. For its inhabitants the Nymphenburg Palace was much more than a castle to show off with. It was a place of life, love and birth - i.e. that of the famous Fairy Tale King Ludwig II in a bedroom that is open to visitors. Another attraction is the beauty gallery of King Ludwig I., which immortalized the most beautiful Munich women of his time. Today, maybe the most striking thing is the enchanting palace garden with its lakes, canals and water fountains.