The old ship Alte Utting placed on a bridge in Munich

Love letter to Munich spring

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As soon as the first spring-like temperatures arrive in Munich, the city's restaurants and cafés begin the big chair shuffle. Anyone claiming to be someone wants to sit outside when they eat and drink. Why is that? A convergence on a gastronomic social phenomenon.

This is something of a thing with Italy's northernmost city. On the one hand, Munich's citizens are flattered by this attribution and feel inclined to say: Ciao, chiaro, certo! On the other hand, if you're genuinely in northern Italy (and are feeling honest), it's different to Munich, and that's a good thing. Let us therefore agree that Munich is the most Italian of all German cities.

Solid evidence for this case can be found around mid-February, when residents are taken by surprise by three days of great weather, and the promise of spring-like temperatures from the weather forecast. The next day, Munich's newspapers all show the same pictures - exemplary citizens enjoying the English Garden, or on the Viktualienmarkt clinking their aperol glasses and sundaes while wearing their shirts rolled up to under the collarbone. The headline is always: spring fever!

From this specific point in time onwards, the city's outdoor season has begun, and it will last about ten months and does not really depend on the prevailing weather conditions. Munich suffers from a chronic case of spring fever as well as a kind of inner obsession, which forces them to sit outside and enjoy culinary delights whenever possible.

Ever since then, Luitpold has been followed by a hundred different places with their own outside appeal, even if the waiters have to knock off the icicles beforehand. The city as a convertible!

That has been the case since as early as 1775. A small cafeteria already existed at the time in Hofgartenarkaden in 1775, which later became Tambosi and, with that, the epitome of Munich coffee house culture - with 700 seats outdoors! And the Tambosi's big competitor, Café Luitpold, established the first real "pavement café" in Munich from 1930 onwards, after the city allowed tables, chairs and even palm trees to be set up on the pavement. The palm trees were a clear message: Enjoy your coffee or aperitif and feel just like you're on holiday - and with a little imagination, Brienner Strasse or Odeonsplatz can be sure to offer visitors as close to a Mediterranean experience as possible.

Seeing, being seen, greeting, grumbling - many of Munich's passions and spectacles are enjoyed much more when sat in the front row. Ever since then, Luitpold has been followed by a hundred different places with their own outside appeal, even if the waiters have to knock off the icicles beforehand. The city as a convertible!

Presumably, the city's age-old beer garden culture has promoted this lovable yearning for the first rays of sunshine. Because of this, Munich's cosiness has always been associated with sitting down in the open air. Who needs a roof if there are chestnuts? Or at least the cocktail's umbrella. The stoic winter crews managing the beer garden tables at Viktualienmarkt are, in any case, close relatives of the early Aperol snifters, which are entirely and exclusively associated with sunglasses and outdoor pleasure. It's just like that - in a city that works so much and is so driven by success, every kind of leisure and enjoyment needs to be celebrated as openly as possible. Anyone who can bask in the first rays of the sun, or who can perhaps extend their lunch break a bit, has made it!

Anyway, these days on any given half-dry late afternoon you can be sure to say: Munich will light up! And mostly in the colours of the city's refreshing Aperol Spritz.

Anyway, these days on any given half-dry late afternoon you can be sure to say: Munich will light up! And mostly in the colours of the city's refreshing Aperol Spritz. This distinctive red-orange sun terrace beverage, which is nowhere as popular as it is here, easily replaces the sunset, which is rarely seen in the city's day-to-day flow of life. If you don't want to settle for its replacement and are really in search of that genuine sundown feeling, you have to visit either the Hackerbrücke or one of the (few) roof terraces the city has to offer at sunset. When standing at the top, you're bound to see best if spring really is on the way.

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photos: Dominik Morbitzer, Frank Stolle

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The old ship Alte Utting placed on a bridge in Munich

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