MUNICH: Scene on the street

Time to read:

5 minutes

This is a post for snaps that didn’t fit anywhere or that I didn’t think to include when they would have fit nicely. The upside: Street photos often make you feel more like you’re in the city than famous landmarks do, maybe because the photos are focused on what you see every day.

The Friedensengel is a people magnet, especially at sundown.

The statue, its golden angel peeking out among tree branches at the top, is beautiful, especially in the dying sunight.

At the foot of the column, the chain is just decoration, and people let their legs hang over the edge as they keep their eyes on the west and watch the sun go down. Others bring chairs, tables and candles for a romantic supper with someone special.

“Youth center”

The sign reads: “Youth Center for Seniors.” Smiled when I saw it, but it’s deceptive. The future for seniors is not clear in Germany.

Germany’s retirement age is 65, but it’s being raised to 67. Employer associations and industry groups want to raise retirement to 70.

Chancellor Olaf Schulz is trying to discourage people from retiring early. Pensions will take 44% of the federal budget by 2040, and more people are leaving the workforce than entering it.

Sound familiar?


“My” café, Benko. Some of my happiest hours in Munich were spent outdoors on this corner. Well, it’s so small inside that outside is a no-brainer, weather permitting.

Benko is close to both the LMU, the humanities university, and the TUM, the technical university. It was easy to start up a conversation with students at a neighboring table.

“Food trucks”

This row of semi-permanent food stalls along a park sidewalk is the source of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, fresh bread, bakery specialties and kitchen hardware for residents of this quarter.

It was often open after breakfast on my way to language class and closed by the time I went home after lunch.

2d oldest house

Between the Marienplatz and the Hofbräuhaus is the second-oldest house in Munich, the Zerwirkgewölbe. I mention it because it came to public attention recently, when the state government, which owns it, asked around whether anyone had a use for it.

The commercial building, built below the first city wall (Burgstrasse), is 750 years old. It has been empty for three years and badly needs renovation, including the foundation and walls. One estimate is that it would cost about $8 million to make the house safe for the public again.

The oldest house in town, dating to 1340, is said to be the one that contains the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum (in Stairs post).

“3-D” basketball court

Munich has what’s billed as “the world’s craziest basketball court.” It’s called the “3-D basketball court.” It’s a court with a curving floor outside an Urban Vocational School Center near the Olympic grounds. A group of artists produced it as their project.

Tourist bed tax

If city council has its way, 7% of what tourists pay for accommodation is supposed to go to the city, starting in September 2023. Tourists benefit from what Munich spends to run the city, so they can pay a bit, or so goes the thinking.

Munich expects $60 million-$80 million in annual revenue from more than 12 million overnight stays, and the city needs it. You know who’s going to pay.

Bellevue di Monaco

The Bellevue di Monaco is a residential building and cultural center that boasts a soccer/basketball field on top, six floors up. The building is one of three that organizers were able to lease from the city for 40 years because the buildings were eligible for demolition.

The rehabbers were mostly volunteers, and money was raised through public events such as a charity evening with musicians, actors and local celebrities. Forty people, especially young refugees and families, have taken the apartments. A spokesman called it “integration through sport.” 

The latest addition is the bakery in back. The plan is to renovate the vacant space into a training, counseling and placement center, especially for refugees. Jobs would be available for a master baker and four trainees. 


A tradition in Munich for more than 300 years, Dallmayr was a supplier to Bavarian kings and is often called the best deli in Munich. Downstairs, it’s a café and upstairs a restaurant with 2 Michelin stars. Each is staffed to give customers personal attention. And you can get breakfast ’til noon.

Penguins and foxes

We stopped at century-old Hellabrun zoo to see “electric grass.” We looked but couldn’t see any where expected — at the penguin enclosure. But as we made a special trip to the zoo, here’s a picture of one of Munich’s penguins. Enjoy.

The first time I heard of electric grass was in a Munich newspaper story about the zoo’s implementation for its penguins. It’s more common as a way to keep animals the size of elephants from straying, without introducing tall thick fences or walls between visitors and animals. 

Turns out zoos not only have to think about keeping animals in, they also have to keep animals out. The penguins are confined adequately by the water moat and 5-foot-high wall. But the domestic fox has proven completely capable of overcoming the stone pillars and glass partitions protecting the penguins. 

Up close, the electric “grass” is a thick-stemmed artificial plant of wire of varying height. The current is turned on at night when foxes prowl.

In an elephant enclosure, electric grass may be fed 6,000 volts to get the attention of the huge thick-skinned beasts. One assumes the current is significantly reduced for penguins. And foxes.

Next: Scene on the street 2


4 responses to “MUNICH: Scene on the street”

  1. Cheryl Avatar

    What a Glorious Angel! I can just imagine her shimmer as the sun fades away!! The array of Snaps were fun to see. The rooftop soccer and basketball court was a great idea. I luv Penguino’s! How sweet they are! Enjoying your travels!

    1. Clint Swift Avatar

      Seems easier to start a conversation watching sundown at the Friedensengel than, say, at a cafe. Free, too. 😉

  2. Ken Avatar

    It’s an iron law of economics: when you tax an activity you get less of it. That 7% tax on tourists will not encourage visitors to come to an already expensive place!

    1. Clint Swift Avatar

      Ah, the voice of experience. You’re right. The state, Bavaria, has opposed the tax just for the reason you cite. Last I heard, Munich and Bavaria were slugging it out in court over the proposed tax.

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