Similar to Barcelona, the municipality of Munchen (or, Munich) is home to about 5 million. Their motto is “Munich Loves You.” Munchen means monks, for the city was founded in 1158 by monks of the Benedictine Order. Our eating club at Stanford won a song contest by singing a chant of this Order, and a quarter century later their album became a best seller. No, there was no connection.
As early as 1923 the Nazi Party largely formed in Munich. It is here that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed to give Czechoslovakia to Hitler’s Third Reich. The city was ruined after 71 Allied air raids in World War II. Dachau, the first concentration camp, is about 10 miles away.
Munich is where in 1972 Palestinian terrorists assassinated Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympics. See right.
The quality of life and safety is very high here, making it the most expensive city in Germany. It is the 7th best city in the world. The highest rated American city is Honolulu at #29, with San Francisco at #30. Vienna is #1. Munich has the lowest unemployment rate of any German city, and this region has largely recovered from the Grand Recession.
It is snowing and the temperature is below freezing. However, the Sheraton has a U-Bahn station and it is possible to largely be in heated comfort for a tour of Munich. Simply, catch the U4 to the Hautbahnhof (train station), walk underground to Karstadt (department store), up the stairs to the bus, and sit in warmth for 2.5 hours.
The city center is Marienplatz (below right) and Maximilianstrasse is where the rich shop. It’s a green city with a lot of parks. English Garden is larger than Central Park in New York City or Hyde Park in London. You can spend a lifetime just roaming through their museums. They hope to gain the winter Olympics in 2018, which would make it the first city to host both games.
Above, the Angel of Peace.
Beerhalls, Oktoberfest (which mostly occurs in late September, but ends on the first Sunday in October), white sausages, apfelstrudel, Max Planck Society, Siemens, BMW, Conde Nast, fabulous mass transport system…you can go on and on. The TV stations are almost all in German, but, after all, this is Deutschland. It is freezing cold (I haven't felt above zero weather yet since I landed), and the concierge mentioned to me that he hasn't seen the sun in five weeks, so if you're from Hawaii or Delhi or Bangkok, appreciate your warm weather.
See right for Dow Jones and crude oil prices.
Tropical Cyclone Rene battered Tonga today. Next, Fiji.