Living in Munich – The City that Fulfills Every Dream

By Shaira Mohan

It has been two years living in Munich and even today, the city is able to hypnotize me with its unending mysteries and secrets that I endeavor to unravel every day, much like a child opening a Christmas present.

I was hooked from day one. From the moment I landed after the seven hour flight from New Delhi, German efficiency had already won me over. Compared to the long lines for immigration in India, German immigration and airport formalities were a cake walk and after collecting my luggage I was out within 20 minutes, greeting my husband.

‘So far so good!’ I thought. Little did I know that this city that was to be my home for the next few years already had its plan laid out to make me fall in love.

Nymphenburg Palace
  Nymphenburg Palace
  (Source: Shaira Mohan)

Amply endowed with greenery and expanses of gardens and parks, studded by the majestic English Garden that extends from one end of the city to the other, and the serene river Isar cutting across it, Munchen, exudes a subtle magic in its beauty that is simply alluring. Nowhere else in all my ample travels have I come across a city in which in one instant I feel like I am in a country side or a forest with rolling green fields and in the next instant I have stepped out of that illusion and into a city center with a gigantic church, cobbled streets, beer halls, offices, shops, cafes and so on – all those traits synonymous of a European city.  For me, Munich’s charm lies in that flexibility and choice it extends to its inhabitants – from sun bathing by the beach in summer to skiing trips in the winter, Munich is every kind of holiday rolled into one!

Winter or summer, the focus on all things outdoors unflustered by the weather, greatly draws me to the city. From table tennis tables laid out in parks to floating in the river Isar and even a bit of surfing at the popular and impressive Surfer's Spot in The English Garden, there is plenty to do in the few summer months before the overbearing winter sets in. My husband bought a tube float and we managed to indulge in a bit of river floating ourselves which is the perfect way to cool off on a summer weekend. Unlike many other European cities, Munich is a city for the cyclists and boasts wide and ample cycle paths. One of our first purchases after moving here were our own cycles that are a joy to ride in this spacious and lush green city.

Surfers Spot, English Garden
  Surfers Spot, English Garden
  (Source: Shaira Mohan)

And it is not uncommon that I wake up every second or third day to some loud music from the occasional street festival minutes from our neighborhood. From the many wursts or sausages to the various beer breweries that Munich houses, undeniably offering the most delicious beer most of us have ever had, to even outdoor music concerts and streets buzzing with street artists, rock bands and general high spirits, the happiness induced by the summer months is palpable. Then comes the grand Oktoberfest - the mother of all beer festivals! I finally got my chance to visit this king-sized carnival with the unending rows of gigantic beer tents and the throngs of people literally from all parts of the world who book tickets a year in advance to be a part of this sensational event each year. Wearing the traditional Dirndl and Lederhosen Bavarian outfits, 6.3 million people consumed 6.5 million liters of beer at Oktoberfest in 2014 according to statistics - and these figures are a reduction from the year before! 

The harsh winter does not keep everyone indoors either. My first winter here, I was fascinated by the quaint, charming Christmas Markets all over the city, exuding the spirit of the holiday with bright lights, jingles and delicious, hot Gluh Wine. And what one discovers living in European city like Munich is that it is not as much in the bigger, better known restaurants, squares and social haunts but in walking down unknown, smaller streets and corners that you end up making some of the best memories.

One cannot be in Munich and not delve into the historical significance of the city. It is a well-known fact that Adolf Hitler, after joining the German Workers Party in Munich, gave his first speech at the famous beer hall - The Hofbrauhaus as it is called. The historical significance and grandeur of this gigantic brewery still leaves me in awe. The heart-wrenching Dachau Nazi Concentration camp is also situated in Munich where I have been numerous times and have come out each time with a heavy heart, gaining a real sense of how the prisoners were mercilessly treated.

Seehaus Beer Garden, English Garden
  Seehaus Beer Garden, English Garden
  (Source: Shaira Mohan)

Having been bombed in the war, Munich was completely rebuilt post the US occupation in 1945 but in keeping with the old and exquisite architecture instead of modernizing them - another element of intrigue for me. Walking through the cobbled streets and surrounded by varying styles of architecture - from the frills on building balconies to the intricate designs on the facades, often times I tend to forget the extent of the destruction that this mesmerizing city had endured. 

New Town Hall/ Glockenspiel, Marienplatz
  New Town Hall/ Glockenspiel, Marienplatz
  (Source: Shaira Mohan)

Munich is special to me also for being the place where I was able to finally open up to a suppressed talent that I unknowingly possessed – that of writing – perhaps brimming from the inspiration that the move to Munich had ostensibly drawn in me. Being an expatriate housewife in any country means it is imperative to keep oneself busy and socialize with others from time to time. Luckily for me, Munich has so much to offer that I find myself pressed for choice every week on how I should indulge myself. I joined an International Womens Club through which I have met some wonderful ladies from across the globe that engage in a wide and impressive plethora of activities from charity and fund raising to sports like Tennis and Yoga to even city walks and tours. The diversity that Munich has to offer in terms of people, culture, food, entertainment and even open, green spaces is certainly unique and quite unparalleled, in my view.

Old City Gate, Munich
  Old City Gate, Munich
  (Source: Shaira Mohan)

Even after two years I feel like I have just been able to scratch the surface of this exciting city. Being so well connected with many other exotic countries in Europe, we have had the good fortune of seeing a lot of Europe but it is always good to come back home to Munich. As all good things come to an end, our stay in this enchanting city may well come to an end next year, but my love for it will only grow.

If you haven’t been to Munich as yet, I suggest you include it in your next travel itinerary! You have my word, you won't regret it!

Hawaii Travel Guide

Hanauma Bay in Honolulu, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay (pronounced "ha-NOW-mah", in Hawaiian) is a marine embayment formed within a volcanic cone or crater and located along the southeast coast of the Island of Oʻahu (just east of Honolulu) in the Hawaiian Islands. Hana means 'bay' and uma means 'shelter,' rendering "Shelter Bay" The "Bay" is a tautology: Hawaiians simply call this feature "Hanauma". Hanauma is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Island and has suffered somewhat from overuse (at one time accommodating over three million visitors per year). In the 1950s, dynamite was used to clear portions of the reef to expand the area available for swimming.

Hanauma Bay Profile


Waikīkī is a neighborhood of Honolulu, in the City & County of Honolulu, on the south shore of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Waikiki Beach is the shoreline fronting Waikiki and one of the best known beaches in the world. The neighborhood extends from the Ala Wai Canal (a channel dug to drain former wetlands) on the west and north, to Diamond Head (Lēʻahi) on the east. Waikiki has long been a place of relaxation. In particular, the area was a retreat for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800s. Waikiki Beach is noted for its magnificent views of the dormant volcano Diamond Head, its usually warm and cloud-free climate and its surfbreak. The frequently visited tourist beach is actually fairly short, with half of it marked off for surfers. For some distance into the ocean the water is quite shallow, although there are numerous rocks on the bottom, so waders should watch where they put their feet. As with most ocean beaches the waves can have some force, particularly on windy days. The surf at Waikiki is known for its long rolling breaks, making it ideal for long boarding, tandem surfing and beginners. The beach hosts many events a year, including surf competitions, outdoor performances, hula dancing and outrigger canoe races.

The USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial, located at Pearl Harbor, Hawaiʻi, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed on the USS Arizona during the Attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 by Japanese imperial forces and commemorates the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oʻahu was the action that led to United States involvement in World War II.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (also Punchbowl National Cemetery) is a cemetery located in Honolulu, Hawai'i that serves a memorial to those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. It is administered by the National Cemetery Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Thousands of visitors visit the cemetery each year, and it is one of the more popular tourist attractions in Hawai'i.

Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii
Iolani Palace, Oahu

Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace, situated in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi, is the only royal palace used as an official residence by a reigning monarch in the United States and is a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two monarchs governed from ʻIolani Palace: King David Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani.

Diamond Head

Diamond Head is the name of a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi. Its English name was given by British sailors in the 19th century, who mistook calcite crystals embedded in the rock for diamonds.

North Shore (Oahu)

The North Shore refers to the north-facing coastal area of Oʻahu between Kaʻena Point and Kahuku Point. The largest settlement is Haleʻiwa. This area is best known for its massive waves, attracting surfers from all around the globe. During the winter months on the North Shore, swells originating in the stormy North Pacific appear. Notable surfing spots include Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach. The spot of Ehukai Beach, commonly known as the Banzai Pipeline, is the most notable surfing spot on the North Shore, and is considered a prime spot for competitions. The North Shore is considered to be the surfing mecca of the world, and every December hosts three competitions, which make up the Triple Crown of Surfing.

Makapuu Lighthouse

U.S. Coast Guard Makapuu Point Light (Wikipedia)

The hike to the lighthouse is filled with many spectacular views of the ocean along the way. The place is a dry area, so you don't have to worry about being soaked. The trail is paved, so you don't have to worry about mud.

Legislature State Capitol

Visiting this place will be interesting if you are a visitor who enjoys looking at architecture. This building is very unique in that it has various Hawaiian motifs. For example, the House and Senate chambers are volcanoes, columns are coconut trees and the surrounding water symbolizes the Pacific Ocean. Other interesting sites nearby are the Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha Statue, Downtown and the Hawaii State Library.

Aloha Tower

If you are visiting Hawaii, you may want to stop by this place and take a look at Honolulu Harbor from the lookout on the top of the Aloha Tower (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free). The view is a spectacular 360 degrees panorama. There are no large retail stores here. The parking lot is located behind the power plant. If you are staying in Waikiki, you can get here easily via Ala Moana Blvd. From here, you can get to Pearl Harbor in about 30 minutes via Nimitz going west. Aloha Tower was the tallest structure in Hawaii when it was completed in 1926 at a cost of $190,000. It is now the most recognized building in the state and second only to Diamond Head as Hawaii's most famous landmark. The only way up to the 10th floor observation deck is via a small, vintage elevator. Once at the top you’ll be greeted with sweeping views of Honolulu and signage which points out the various landmarks. The observation deck is open to the public daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Source: alohatower.com

Oceanarium Restaurant

This is one of the most interesting restaurants in Hawaii for its gigantic aquarium. Located within walking distance of many hotels in Waikiki, this place will keep you entertained during your meal with sights of interesting tropical fishes and other sea creatures. "... Oceanarium was built in 1979 and is the biggest of its kind located in a single hotel. The three-story, 280,000-gallon, larger-than-life aquarium pro- vides guests with incredible views of nearly 400 fish from more than 70 different species of Indo-Pacific marine life." Source: pacificbeachhotel.com

Dangers of the Ocean, Water Falls and Streams

HAWAII is the only state made up entirely of islands. The various islands of Hawaii all have natural beauty, warm tropical climates, and inviting beaches. Only the Big Island has active volcanoes. Hawaii is one of the World's most popular travel destinations with millions arriving annually. The most serious issues for travelers are the unexpected dangers of the ocean, accidental deaths, and the large homeless population in Waikiki. Tourist regularly drown in the waters of Waikiki or other remote beaches. The beauty of the water is very deceptive and it can easily cause the death of weak or over-confident swimmers. It is best to swim with a group or a with a flotation device. There have been cases of people diving off water falls and falling off hiking trails to their deaths. On June 2010, a diver died after jumping more than 50 feet off the cliff at Spitting Caves in Honolulu. Also, storms will cause a sudden buildup of water in what normally is a small stream. A wall of water will come raging down and sweep away any person who is unlucky enough to be in its path to the ocean. Halona Blowhole is a rock formation off of Hanauma Bay that is the site of many deaths. On windy days when the tide is high, the ocean breeze sends the waves rolling on to the shore where the rock formation then shoots sea spray high into the air through the cave acting like a geyser. A tourist recently got too close, fell in the blowhole, became trapped and died.

Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii
Ala Moana Center, Oahu

Shopping Areas


© 2015 Computer Services Express, Honolulu, Hawaii