January: active into the New Year

World-class cultural highlights, top international cuisine, exclusive shopping worlds and spectacular surroundings: Munich has a lot to offer in every season of the year. Here you will find a few additional and individual ideas for each month of the year.

A trip to ring in the new year: Ice skating on Wesslinger See

Wesslinger See is the smallest lake in the Fünfseenland (Five Lakes’ District) to the south of Munich. It is often sarcastically referred to as the “Wesslinger Badewanne” (Wesslinger Bathtub). Because it has no streams running in or out of it, it is usually the first lake in the region to freeze over. This tends to coincide perfectly with the new year, which has resulted in a wonderful tradition. On New Year’s Eve, the locals take their first steps onto the lake to set off fireworks before returning with their ice skates the next morning. The jetty next to the kiosk is the best place to access the ice. The popular small fast-food stand is open in good weather over the winter, supplying skaters with hot punch and sausages. From Marienplatz, Wessling is around 35 minutes away on the S-Bahn (suburban railway). It’s then just a short walk from the station to the banks of the lake. If you’re worried about the strength of the ice, stick close to the banks where it tends to be thicker and less likely to break. The rescue organisation Deutsche Lebensrettungsgesellschaft recommends staying off the ice unless it is over 15 centimetres thick.

A sporting start to the new year: Curling on the canal

As soon as the Nymphenburger Kanal freezes over (normally in January), it’s time for one of Munich’s favourite winter sports to make its comeback: Bavarian curling (also known as ice stock sport). It doesn't take long to learn the rules; they are pretty similar to bowls. A target known as the Daube is placed on the ice. Each player then launches their ice stock. Simply swing it back gently, take a step forwards and let go. The player whose stock finishes closest to the target wins. Ideally, you should aim to shoot your opponents’ stocks out of the way. Pitches, including the target and ice stocks, are available to rent right next to the canal. Mulled wine stands are on hand to help you get your eye in. Tip: The thickness of the Nymphenburg ice can vary; the shallow waters in the circular royal gardens freeze quicker than the slightly deeper canal. Services, such as the skating club (on +49 89 509 336), provide updates on the conditions of the ice.

Detoxing after the festivities: A nice hot bowl of soup

When Jack Frost is tapping on the windows, there is nothing better than warming up with a nice hot bowl of soup. One of the best spots for soup is Münchner Suppenküche at Viktualienmarkt. Its menu includes a number of traditional dishes from the Alpine region, such as Leberknödelsuppe (liver dumpling soup), Saueres Lüngerl mit Semmelknödeln (lights with dumplings) or Viennese goulash soup. Vegetarian options are also available. Fresh bread is served as an accompaniment. Alternatively, pay a visit to Gusto between Arnulfstrasse and Rotkreuzplatz in western Munich. The menu changes on a daily basis. If you’re a fan of tomato soup, then we recommend the Bloody Mary with celery, coriander and cinnamon. For perhaps the most creative take on soup in the city then why not visit Urban Soup at Rumfordstrasse 7. Try the Butternut Roasted Chicken, for example, a blend of pumpkin, coconut, parsley and chicken, or the Himalayan Dhal with cumin, fennel, paprika, leeks, red lentils and chilli. Guten Appetit!

Video: simply winter

A detailed calendar of events can be found here.

More about this: What exactly goes inside a museum once the doors have closed, the halls are plunged into darkness and the final visitors have headed home? Our author spent a night in the Museum Fünf Kontinente: Alone with the voodoo masks.



Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photo: Christian Kasper; Video: Redline Enterprises

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