14 July 2008

What to do on a Wet Weekend in Munich

It was the Twelfth day of July, and not an Orange Parade to be found in Munich. What to do?

Saturday's options were the Hofbräu-Dult out at the Hofbräu brewery, or the annual Christopher Day parade through Munich city centre. I went with beer.

After a trip out to the edge of the city we arrived at the brewery and stumbled upon an opportunity to sample HB's brew being prepared for Oktoberfest. A half litre with a souvenir mug was 4.50 with unlimited refills for 2 Euro each: very reasonable (for Munich). I discovered later that they sell these mugs - empty - for 12.90.

Apart from drinking beer, we also had a wander round the brewery itself - disappointingly industrial - and the bottling plant - hypnotically watchable. Half a chicken and a pile of chips later we were ready to take on the entertainment stage.

The musical highlight was undoubtedly the Cagey Strings - 'die Partyband aus München' - who treated us to a set of covers of Little Richard, the Beach Boys and Status Quo among others.

The Cagey Strings

The non-musical highlight was definitely the sight of middle aged men in lederhosen dancing to Little Richard, the Beach Boys and the rest.

On Sunday I made it to the Christopher Street festival in Marienplatz. I may have missed the best bits, or it may have been the lousy weather but this was a disappointment. A big stage, half a dozen drag queen's milling around smoking, a smallish crowd hanging around the ubiquitous beer stalls.

The weekend's posh option was the Opera Festival. Every year this includes a handful of public events so that the riff-raff can join in without the schickimickis having to mingle with them. (I shouldn't need to point out that I'm definitely with the riff-raff).

I stopped by at Sunday night's event. A giant screen set up in Max-Joseph-Platz outside the Opera House broadcasts the performance going on inside. This seemed to involved women in sixties clothing sitting on a sofa and standing up from time to time to sing at each other. There was also a television broadcasting figure skating involved. Apparently this was Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky, but subjected to a vicious assault by some trendy director.

I didn't stay. I feel that if the cultural elites are going to inflict opera on us they should be required to have fat blokes with Italian names dressed like 18th Century toffs.

If all this wasn't enough there was also the Münchner Hofgartenturnier organised by the superbly named Münchner Kugelwurfunion. This turned out to be a boules / petanque tournament. Then, later on Sunday there was a Bastille Day warm up party at the Institut Français. I wasn't at this but was in the area while Bella was dragging me around on our evening walk. There was a live band playing. Not a few of their songs were performed in English. Very strange.

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