Methodical & Manic Munich

Munchner are a well ordered people. They stand in the cold, awaiting a traffic light, when no car is in sight. Similar to Japan, bicycles lean against buildings, unlocked…awaiting their rightful owners. There appears to be a proper approach to most social situations and you may be chided if you don’t comply. Julia was scolded — we’re talking a finger waving scolding — for petting a dog without asking first.

But I realize now that they can keep this calm, obedient air all year because they become manic on New Years Eve.

We had read to watch the fireworks from Marienplatz or from the bridges of the parliament building. What I didn’t realize is that there is no official show in this part of town. Instead, hundreds of individuals put on their own show from a large stockpile of TNT hazards.


Kyle and I ventured to the bridge in front of the Parliament building. We were surrounded by people carrying two primary party supplies: 1) bottles of champagne and 2) fireworks. Dangerous combination.

German Grandpa, who earlier in the day waited patiently at the light while scowling at you for speaking too loudly, was now taking a swig of champagne before launching a rocket dangerously close to your face. Prost!

At one point, a thick fog overtook the street…oh wait, that was smoke. A couple of ambulances and police cars crawled across the bridge from time to time, darting firework volleys.


I’d heard that Munich streets glitter on New Years Day with the broken glass from smashed champagne bottles. I’m happy to report that this wasn’t my experience…in fact, I saw a few independent gentlemen making the rounds, picking up solid glass bottles, presumably to make a tidy sum from deposits. Ahh, the methodical Munchner is back, and the manic Munchner secreted away for another 364 days.

We loved the people of Munich and feel grateful to have welcomed in the new year with them. There is just so much to appreciate about this city.

The Architecture!


The Art!


A River Runs Through It!


After an exuberant evening, we spent our New Years Day with a sobering visit to the Dachau concentration camp. More on that and the dark history of Munich in the next post.

6 thoughts on “Methodical & Manic Munich

  1. This post reminded me so much of something from senior year at Smith- after a junior year in Brazil, where jaywalking/dodging cars was the only way to get across a street, I’d gone downtown with a friend who was back from her year abroad in Hamburg. At some point we had to cross the street, and I darted out as soon as there was an opening, while Kathleen stood at the corner, waiting for the light, and glaring at me with clear disapproval. We’d both really absorbed our respective country’s cultures!

    Always enjoy reading your updates, and this is making me contemplate how/when to do something similar with my own kids. Keep it coming!

    • Right?! Oh Bianca, Brazil. I remember hurdling down a hill in the back of a pickup truck with a dozen other people during carnival & wonder how I survived that semester abroad. And more importantly, how I’ll ever send my kids off to have their own unique international experience! I will “dar um jeito!”

  2. great post. now i really want to go to Munich (things are adding up on the bucket list). looking forward to your thoughts on the rest of your German travels. i can just see Julia’s face after the scolding…… makes me want to hug her for her love of dogs but important lesson learned I guess.

    • Actually it was pretty funny because we 1st thought the woman was scolding her dog for running up to Julia. Once we realized she was wagging her finger at Julia while admonishing her in German, we were a bit giddy. Made a poor name for Americans that day. 🙂

  3. thank you for all of your posts

    we are learning lots from your writings

    wishing you all a healthy and happy new year and continued safe, inspiring, wonderful adventures

    Rosalie, Tom and Lily

    • Rosalie, great to hear from you! We are really grateful for this experience. Hard to believe we’re more than halfway through! Hope the first year of middle school is going great for Lily.

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