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Freitag, 20. April 2018

Visiting the Werksviertel Mitte

Within the annual event "Müncher Webwoche" I was offered the chance for a free guided tour of the urban area Werksviertel Mitte, a part of a huge (390.290 ) former industrial area  (Werksviertel) that is now being carefully re-developed into a neighbourhood for leisure, home, work and travel.

For once it looks like a successful answer to the usual Munich gentrification where normal people are forced out of the city to make space for luxury developments. There's also going to be social housing and alternative music venues.

The Werksviertel Mitte used to be the plant premises of one of Germanys first convenience food manufacturer specialized on potato products, Pfanni.

Most of the former plant buildings have been gutted and renovated and now they offer a home to creative companies, bars, cafes and a musical theatre. The roof of Werk 3 is home to a shepherd and his 5 sheep. They are also planning to keep chicken and bees. Unfortunately the time was to short to visit the roof so you have to be satisfied with this image:

The entrance is the very flexible Container Collective, former sea containers lovingly decorated by local graffiti artist Loomit. They also host bars, cafe's, shops, an info exhibition, a motorcycle workshop and an art gallery.

Outside there are wooden benches and plant containers which are placed on the former rail tracks of the potato transport system and can be moved, ingenious. All part of the plan to keep the history alive. 

There are more plans for a budget hotel, a combined hostel and 4-star-hotel (very interested how that will work out) and a concert hall, future home of the Bavarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra, hopefully finished by 2021.

Granted, it looks a bit deserted, but it was a week day afternoon and now that the days are getting warmer the people of Munich will soon flock to this great area. 

Sonntag, 15. April 2018

Visiting the Ohel-Jakob-Synagogue

Today we visited the Ohel-Jakob-Synagogue (the name translates into tent of Jakob), Munich's main synagogue, inaugurated in 2006.

It is located right in the center of Munich and as I walk past it very often I was intrigued how it would look inside. 
Then I learned of the guided visits and booked straight-away via the website: 
You need to book at least 10 days in advance and should check-out the available dates. You also need a passport or identity card.

St-Jakobs-Platz is one of my favorite Munich spaces, the ensemble of the synagogue, the community center and the Jewish Museum Munich fits in perfectly and offers an escape of the bustling city life. I cannot even remember the place without the synagogue.

After a security check we were led through the 32 meter underground tunnel called the "Gang der Erinnerung" from the community center to the synagogue. 
On the wall we are able to read the names of the 4500 Munich Jews who were killed during the Holocaust.

At the end of the tunnel on the ground floor we were welcomed by Marian Offman, board member of the Jewish Community Munich.
He led us into the main room and told us all about the synagogue,  its architecture, the history of the jewish community in Munich and lots about the Jewish faith and customs. It was absolutely fascinating, especially the stories about the people of Munich and their relationship to its Jewish community.

The ensemble was built by the architectural practice Wandel Höfer Lorch, who even received several awards for it. I love its stunning architecture and the warmth of the yellow stone in the sunshine as well as the glass roof with its diamond shaped metal structure, symbolizing the star of David.

Even if you cannot visit the synagogue make sure to visit the Jewish Museum, the kosher restaurant or just sit outside next to the fountain and enjoy the atmosphere.

Samstag, 24. März 2018

Winter Shenanigans

Last weekend I joined three friends for a Yoga and Snowshoe weekend in the Ammergau Alps organized by Chiara and Jürgen from Traveling Yoga.

We arrived on Friday afternoon in the little village of Altenau to check into the Dorfwirt, a charming inn, old-skool but freshly renovated.

It's a great place with comfortable cosy yet modern rooms, the only drawback was its proximity to the village church, with the bell tolling all night long. 

Before dinner we had our first yoga session to start off into the weekend.

Before breakfast we met up for another yoga practice.

As the reports of snow conditions weren't great for Saturday it was decided to go hiking along fields and through the forrest to the Ammer Gorge.

We stopped for a hearty lunch and returned to the inn at 3pm, ready for a long siesta. We regrouped two hours later for a two-hour yoga-session while outside it finally started to snow.

On Sunday morning we left early to take the train to Unterammergau  and walked up to the edge of town where we donned our snowshoes. Once we headed up into the snow-covered forrest I realized straight away that I had overestimated my fitness again. That happens quite regularly and I should know better but as I don't want to miss out on any adventures I ignore the warning voices inside my head.

In the end it was well worth it. After a two hour climb our group of twelve split up into the ambitious and the relaxed. The relaxed four walked along a hardly visible level path for an hour whereas the ambitious group aimed for the summit of the Pürschling.

The snow blanket looked so soft and pillowy like straight from the Mother Hulda fairy tale (Frau Holle). The scenery was breathtaking. It was completely undisturbed and we were lucky that our guide Chiara new exactly where we were heading. She spurred us on so that we wouldn't get cold after the sweaty uphill climb.

Just before we reached the ski hut we had to wade through waist-high snow which was pretty hard going and  I slipped and slid downhill on my bottom. While struggling to get upright I fell forward on my face. What fun!

We had a quick lunch and then scrambled back downhill into Oberammergau to catch our train back to Altenau for a hot shower and coffee. 

What a weekend. Packed full of relaxing yoga, amazing scenery, sunshine, snow, good talks and good food. I can't wait for my next yoga retreat with Chiara and Jürgen!

Dienstag, 6. Februar 2018

Closlieu in Cologne

This Monday I had the opportunity to join Argentinian artist and close friend of mine, Celeste Palacios, in her atelier in Cologne for a „Closlieu“ (Malspiel in German).

The „Closlieu" has been created by Arno Stern, a German-born pedagogue, now operating from Paris, and means: A space designed to stimulate and protect the emergence of Formulation. 

After completing the training at the Research Institute for the Semiology of Expression Celeste opened her atelier for „Closlieu“ and other art workshops.

At the „Closlieu" groups of up to 10 people of any age are coming together in a closed room to play. The painter dons a smock, attaches a piece of paper to a wall and gets started. The colors are lined up on a special contraption and for each color there’s a handmade brush of squirrel hair. 

The result of the play stays at the „Closlieu" and is not to be regarded or judged by others.

I found the concept of the „Closlieu" intriguing but hard to grasp. As an adult who has been subjected to being taught how to paint or draw, being judged and criticized all my life and is now needing  approval of others, the concept of creating just for myself is foreign but strangely liberating.

Celeste is offering „Closlieu" for children and adults, birthday parties for children and art workshops.

Check out her homepage here:

Montag, 5. Februar 2018

The Kolumba - The best museum ever!

The last few days I spent visiting folks in Cologne who recommended the Kolumba Museum, the museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne,  to me.

What an amazing place! The stunning marriage of old and new architecture and exhibit left me astonished.

Unusual features like rooms with different ceiling heights, some a normal approx. 3 meters, some approx. 10 meters high. The walls stark and bare concrete but in a warm, earthen tone. The exhibits an exciting mix of old and new paintings, sculptures, installations, relics and even a mosaic from the 3rd century.

Go, see this museum and let yourself be inspired!!

clever lighting

very high ceiling

asymetrical rooms
Two-tailed Whale by Paul Thek

3rd century mosaic

ruins of the original church St. Kolumba, destroyed in the 2nd World War

Mittwoch, 24. Januar 2018

Verkehrszentrum - Transport Museum

On my quest to visit museums today I went to see the Verkehrszentrum, the lesser-known branch of the renowned Deutsches Museum.

On show is an amazing collection of everything transport related: bikes, motorbikes, cars, trains, trams, a helicopter and even skis and skates.

Of course, I only wanted to visit to find new sketching motives. It's unbelievable and I definitely have to go again.