Monday, 1 December 2014

Bavarian Rhapsody

Munich is cool in more ways than one. When I left Queensland last Wednesday  we were experiencing a heatwave. 40c+ can be very sapping, especially combined with warm nights when its impossible to sleep without a fan. 

Imagine my relief when I arrived in Munich and was hit by a bracing cold breeze. Actually snow is not so uncommon this time of year but none has appeared yet. I am told that last winter there was none at all which I find most surprising. Munich was my base for about 10 years at the beginning of the millenium and snow was a constant feature every winter. 

Global warming? Climate change? Maybe but that is a debate I have no wish to engage in. It is a bit like discussing whether or not getting riddled with bullets leads to lead poisoning. If you wish to present the case that fossil fumes have no influence on climate, do it standing next to the exhaust of a bus.   

The cool weather was augmented by a warm welcome from my friends who I hadn't seen for too long and had missed terribly. After the best sleep I had had for weeks it was time for some sightseeing. Claudia, Pedi and Andrea invited me to join them on an excursion to one of the city's feature events. Tollwood! 

I had never heard of the Tollwood winter markets before. Apparently they start four weeks before Christmas and last until the new year. There are many things to see and buy of course not to mention food and entertainment. Well worth seeing if you are in town this time of year. 

Claudia, Pedi, Andrea

Naturally having expert guides is a bonus and these lovely ladies have all done it many times before. Thank you for a wonderful day :-)

I was quite taken by these plants growing out of what looks like coconuts. 

Food was everywhere from all parts of the globe but I was mainly fixated on the local fare.

Amazing how many great meals one can make out of potato.

Paper mache farm animals add a bit of colour to the venue.

I'll finish with a representation of Bavaria's favourite animal.

Tollwood is not the only place to experience Christmas cheer. There are stalls all over the city and the locals don't seem to mind the cold. Many years ago my neighbour in Munich told me there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing.

Today I had the opportunity to try another local speciality, the "Feuerzangenbowle". It is a bit like "Gluewein" but with a twist or to be more precise, a shot of Rum and a flaming cube of sugar. There is nothing better to warm you up on a bracing day.

This innovation was recommended to me by another expert on German traditions, GM Thomas Luther. 
GM Thomas Luther
In a day or two I will make my way to France to see how the festive season is celebrated there, starting in Burgundy. It could involve wine :-)
Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. “If you wish to present the case that fossil fumes have no influence on climate, do it standing next to the exhaust of a bus.”

    A fallacious comparison. We don't want to inhale too much bus exhaust because the carbon monoxide bonds strongly to our hemoglobin so it can no longer carry oxygen. The greenhouse effect is based on the totally independent phenomenon of infrared absorption by molecular vibrations that change the molecule's dipole moment.

    E.g, I wouldn't want to breathe pure chlorine gas, because it dissolves in water (e.g. in eyes and lungs) to form strong acid. But this doesn't contribute at all to the greenhouse effect (although it will form compounds that do), because it is a symmetric diatomic molecule, so its vibration doesn't change the dipole moment, so it doesn't absorb infrared.