Comedian Franziska Wanninger leans on a rickshaw at Marienplatz in Munich.

Munich rickshaw tales

“Passers-by were keen to get a lift with me the whole time”

München Tourismus has collaborated with Bavarian cabaret artists Franziska Wanninger and Martin Frank to produce three videos explaining social distancing in the beer garden and when flirting – deploying some typical Munich humour in the process. The videos also look at the topic of tolerance. The Munich rickshaw tales films follow the pair as they take viewers on a rickshaw ride through the city. We met Franziska and she told us about her funniest experiences while shooting the videos, offered tips about the best flirting spots and beer gardens, and revealed the most tolerant place in Munich.

How did you find steering a rickshaw for the first time?

Scary! Using the rickshaw was my idea – and the first time I sat on it, I absolutely cursed myself. My whole life, I had thought it was no different from a bit of cycling. What a joke! When you start out, you spend the whole time feeling like you’re going to tip over. Also, you are so high up your feet don’t reach the ground, which certainly doesn’t make things any easier.

On the first day of filming I had to cycle across the Kabelsteg bridge about 30 times, in heavy rush-hour traffic. The worst part was that I had to turn around each time: on my first go at turning, I shot straight across the road and into the bushes.

Rikshaw Stories: Distance

What were your funniest experiences during filming?

Well, there certainly were a few! That first afternoon, for example, we did some long-shot filming in Englischer Garten (park) so that you could see me cycling in the distance. Passers-by had no idea we were filming though, and were keen to get a lift with me the whole time; probably because I made such a good impression all dolled up in my dirndl. So there I was, concentrating hard on the rickshaw and the route I needed to take (don’t go too far to the left; remember the bend coming up; avoid that stone, etc.), while watching the film crew to await my cue, and people kept appearing out of nowhere to bombard me with questions about prices and city tours. “That’s my brother-in-law, he’s pretty heavy – he weighs over a hundred kilos. Can you manage him as well?” They wouldn’t believe me at first, when I said we were shooting.

While we were filming at BMW Welt, we used a drone that flew above me every time I went over the bridge. There was a very lively little boy there who spent ten minutes at my starting point, staring excitedly into the sky. When I returned to my starting point for the fifth time – along with the drone – he stood there wide-eyed and said to his mother: “Mum, Mum, the drone is following me! It always wants to come over to me!”

Rikshaw Stories: Tolerance

Since you filmed the videos, do you see rickshaw tour guides in a different light?

Definitely! Driving one of those rickshaws is not simple – and it’s hard work too! Most of them do have an electric motor, which came in handy when turning – the whole thing is really heavy! But the motor wouldn’t be used much in everyday rickshaw driving: if you have the motor on all the time it won’t last even half a shift, so you need to use your own muscle power. Rickshaw guides also need to know Munich really well and from a range of very different perspectives. For example, you need to know if you would be better bringing your passengers this way rather than another, because there might be one hill you can’t quite make it up. Or whether or not your rickshaw will fit between two pillars. And every so often something breaks, so patching tyres in the scorching heat with impatient tourists in tow is unfortunately also part of the job. And then of course, rickshaw drivers also need to know a lot about Munich’s history, and they need to also be able to recount it in English at least. All I can say to them is: respect!

Which areas of Munich are particularly tolerant?

We generally find all of Munich to be very tolerant. The most tolerant part of the city is the Wiesn, though – there’s no other place where people would play host to two weeks of outsiders hanging about in faux-leather lederhosen with quite such tolerance.

Rikshaw Stories: Flirting

Where is the best place in Munich to flirt and why?

I would have to say the English Garden; because if my attempts at flirting fail, it’s easier to just vanish into its vastness than if you’re in a little beer garden or bar. 

If you’re after something a bit more passionate, we can recommend summer evenings on Königsplatz, where instructors guide you through a fiery tango: there’s no passion quite like getting close and sweaty together as you dance to some sultry music! And of course, compatibility of individual smells can be decisive in determining a good partnership... We don’t recommend that activity until coronavirus is over though. You’d be better to stay single until then.

What is your personal favourite beer garden in Munich and why?

There’s a small but great beer garden in the south of Munich which we love to meet at. It’s practically a hidden gem, unlike the Chinesischer Turm (beer garden) – we don’t really want to give its name away. But during filming for the adverts, we also fell head-over-heels in love with the Michaeli beer garden. It is a really beautiful place right on the small lake in the Ostpark. You just need to watch out for swan poo! (Laughs)

Franziska, many thanks for the interview!

 

Good to know: If you've got the taste for it now and want to have one of our certified rickshaw guides show you the sights of Munich, the best thing to do is book our pedicab tour Old Town and Englischer Garten.

You should also know that Franziska Wanninger and Martin Frank have written a book together: Der famose Freistaat – Bayern verstehen für Anfänger und Fortgeschrittene (The Famous Free State: Understanding Bavaria for Beginners and Advanced Learners).

The two cabaret artists illustrate what Bavaria and its inhabitants are like – they explain the language, which is worth preserving; and the people, who you must first to learn to understand; and they dissect the clichés like a chicken on the Wiesn. To see the cabaret artists live – with social distancing rules in place – visit their websites for lists of upcoming performances, at www.franziska-wanninger.de and www.martinfrank-kabarett.de.

 

 

Interview: München Tourismus; Photo and videos: Redline Enterprises

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Hotels and accommodation establishments, shops, indoor and outdoor catering, and also clubs and discos are open. However, restrictions apply. All other important information on the coronavirus and your stay in Munich can be found here.

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