02 November 2010

a walk through Haidhausen

Petra, my long-suffering language tutor, friend and mentor here in Munich, and I have come up with a new plan for my last few months living in Munich. First let me explain why I say 'long-suffering' like its an affliction. Well, actually it is like an affliction, as anyone who is my friend knows that my friendship is like an affliction! Hahaha...jokes...I'm a wonderful friend!! In Petra's case the long suffering part refers to her attempts to teach me to speak German, in particular Bavarian. I'm not a good student, in-fact it would be safe to say that I am her worse student ever! But she's ok with that and so am I!

You see, I just have not 'taken' to learning the language. I just don't see the need and quite frankly I just can't be bothered! Yes, I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but there you go...case in point! It's a tough language to learn and I've mastered the basics to get by. For example just this weekend a young mum was looking for her lost child at a beer garden where we were having lunch. And yes, I understood what she said to me, although I couldn't answer her in German, she understood English perfectly - thank goodness - and I was able to point her in the direction of the said lost child. It's all good and everyone was happy!  Petra tells me that my pronunciation is perfect, so she really doesn't get why I'm so loath to learn the language, but never mind, we've become good friends and her English has improved out of sight!!

So back to my opening comment above, our new plan for my last few months living here in Munich. A few months into our new life here in Germany, I said to Petra that I thought there was a gap in the market for a 'transition' programme rather than a 'learn the language from the foundations up' type programme that the language school that she works for offers to newly arrived expats. She agreed but was bound by her agreement with her employer to teach me the language in their set programme. So I rebelled! I really couldn't see the point, when what I really needed firstly was to be pointed in the right direction with day to day life in my new non-English speaking world, such as banking, grocery shopping, public transport and where to get the best bargain for winter coats and snow boots!  Then I wanted to learn about the culture and learn about the history of my new home and get to know the people. So we agreed to learn the basics of the language and then Petra would take me on a few little excursions around the city and tell me about day to day life in the city that she grew up in. This is what I found much more interesting. So as far as language goes I can get by and I've discovered all sorts of things about this city and the area I live in - as seen through Petra's eyes - someone who grew up here - a real Bavarian! It's been great and I've really enjoyed her company along the way.

Petra and a friend of hers decided to take this whole idea of a 'transition' programme one step further and have branched and started their own business, which they said they would never have dreamed of doing if it hadn't been for me and my rebellion! Lets hope their business is successful! For the next few months Petra and I will be doing some excursions or field trips around the city and surrounding areas to 'test' parts of her new business plan! Yay, I get to be her guinea pig!

Last week we took a walk through an area of Munich called Haidhausen. Haidhausen is an impressive old area of the city - for me fascinating to walk through because most of this area remained intact after WWII. So the old buildings are original - most of the city of Munich was laid flat after the war and the building were rebuilt in their 'original style'. Haidhausen has some historic workers cottages that I would never have found without Petra's tour. This is the stuff I love - history around every corner if you know where to look for it. I love it. It's fascinating. And without Petra I would never have discovered the perfect little hidden cafes with great coffee and croissants!

Here's a little bit of info on Haidhausen - it's known as the 'French Quarter' of Munich as the streets are named after French cities and are placed in the arrangements French streets are found in. You also find a lot of artists living here - it has a laid back kind of feel to it. It's a very pretty area, just outside of the city and across the river Isar, quite a 'desirable' area to live in. It is also home to one of Munich's oldest and largest brewers, Paulaner, who's brewery sits on the original Bürgerbräukeller - the location of the first assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler. You see, fascinating facts I would not have known without this personal tour!

So here are a few pics from my walk through Haidhausen...

One of the oldest original workers cottages in Munich

Wiener Platz with its lovely old apartment buildings on either side

Cafe Wiener Platz - one of the places to go to be seen if you're a local and boy was it bustling that morning!  

it was one of those glorious crisp and clear Autumn mornings ...

 below zero but so good to be out walking in the sun

A little piece of the Alps in the city

I'm loving that blue Autumn sky!

blue shutters - oh, so French!
...Petra's Haidhausen

Where to next on our tour of the city? Wait and see!

Alison x

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