The Beginnings of a Munich Love-Affair

If Berlin is New York City, then Munich is Chicago. 

Straddling the heavy traffic of tourism, business, and university youth with abundant nature, authentic culture, and neighborly warmth, Munich is truly the beating heart of German Bavaria. 

As an American girl with German heritage, fitting in is easy… as long as I don’t open my mouth. Yet sadly, a smile only lasts so long before it is my turn to speak, and “Hallo, Danke” falls short of ordering me Rosé. Once this happens, the mirage is shattered, and I must reluctantly accept the “English menu” from the lovely waiter who just spent five minutes conversing with my blank-grin face. 

At one such place, Pizzazza, my inevitable glass of Rose was so good I agreed to go on a date with the bartender. Walking down Nymphenburger Straße with someone who has lived here for over ten years, you can’t help but feel the comforting presence of community that undeniably envelopes the city. Smiles meet smiles as you cross paths with pedestrians, and once you break the ice, they are eager to hear where you are from, what you are doing, and what you think about their captivating city. 

Aside from the countless family-run businesses contributing to Munich’s neighborly atmosphere, another amiable presence lies in the lush and strikingly green parks that mark every few blocks of the metropolis. 

Grunwald Park is a great place to start, offering a bite-sized preview of what Munich’s larger parks supply. In grassy clearings, the young sunbathe and play football across from play structures populated by their even younger counterparts. As you walk along the park’s bench-lined path, you will find people sitting with their partners, friends, and dogs, enjoying the sweet sounds of nature that ring through the trees.

Crossing Grunwald, you meet one end of the Schloßgartenkanal river that feeds into the Badenburger See lake resting behind Munich’s Nymphenburg Palace. For fans of expansive manors, carefully manicured gardens, gushing fountains, gaudy gold embellishments, and statues that hover between artistically impressive and uniquely disturbing, the Versaille-inspired Nymphenburg Palace and Park will captivate you. 

Perched perfectly across the street from the palace’s entrance, Metzgerwirt restaurant provided the refreshing Dunkle beer and delicious potato soup I needed after charting just a percentage of Nymphenburg Park’s 490 acres. 

Despite the humidity of Munich’s July, it remains the most walkable city I have visited. Level ground and the shade the frequent forests afford make each journey as interesting, beautiful, and exciting as the destination. 

On my journey home from Nymphenburg Palace, I couldn’t help but take a moment on a riverside park bench to greet its unphased ducks and write.

Warm & New & Known

Soft sun glazes over eyes

owned by ancestors-

My iris blueprinted by bavarian veins 

before braving the word America.

Where we stay crisp & starched,

bleaching over heritage with pop culture,

tumbling our DNA through the melting pot

of oil and water who refuse to see 

likeness in each other’s liquid humanity. 

From short lens I scream:

See through this cycling,

and go home. Find your old,

find something new where it all began-

add, elaborate, stop bleaching.

Hear the harsh letters fall,

schön from honey blonde lips,

the same sweet you have & harvest.

New veins pump blood as ancient as the Bavarian spruce,

whose roots network under my planted feet.

Pulsing, absorbing, rediscovering its own soil.

Pushing honey into new leaves, just

to taste them again with the next season. 

Circling, cycling, a ringed infinity

showing me how 

my drops of honeyed blood bleed home;

telling me this is only where we start.

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