My Neighborhood

I’ve shown you some of the sights around my neighborhood, but I’ve collected a number of pictures as I’ve been out walking that I haven’t been able to fit into a specific theme. What I don’t have pictures of are some of the wildlife I’ve seen. On the way to the Institute I walk on a path between two corn fields. There was a small hedgehog on the path the other evening. And, of course, it was one of the first times I had forgotten to put my camera in my pocket.

For some reason, I had it in mind that hedgehogs were native to the Middle East, but apparently not. This one rolled up into a ball when I got close, prickly side out. Later, on the way home from the Institute, I passed a gift and flower shop and I saw you could buy little hedgehog sculptures for your garden. So they must be common to this area.

A saw a pheasant the other night, too, in the same general area. And other birds, that look similar to ones I know, but different coloration. For example, I see a bird that looks like a house finch to me, except instead of being red, this one is yellow. And I see a small chickadee like bird, but with stronger facial markings than the chickadees I usually see in Colorado. I guess I’ll have to look for a bird book at the library (Bücherei).

So, in no specific order, here are some of the daily sights in my neighborhood.

My first apartment building. First Apartment This is the building my first apartment was in. This is a fairly busy street in Garching, and there was a bus stop right in front of my apartment door. My apartment was one floor up and my kitchen window looked down on the bus stop. This produced some good fun when the late bus pulled up with the Oktoberfest revelers. There were a couple of people who had consumed a beer or two, you could tell. Having one or two floors of apartments above shops is typical of nearly every building I’ve seen in this part of Germany. And I would think typical elsewhere, too.

My current apartment building. My Second Apartment This is the building my current apartment is in. I live on the third floor of the farther building, and my balcony looks out to the rear of that building. This is a much quieter neighborhood than the first apartment, but still just a block from the Rathaus Plaza, with its many shops and restaurants.

Brian’s Apartment Building. Brian’s Apartment While not, strictly speaking, in my neighborhood, I thought you might want to see where Brian lives in the Studentenstadt (the student village). This is about 4 U-Bahn stops away from where I live, and about 15 minutes from the center of Munich. Brian lives on the bottom floor in the room with the open curtains. He has a single room. There are four other people on his floor and they share a small bathroom and kitchen.

The Rathaus Plaza. The Rathaus Plaza This is one side of the Rathaus Plaza. There are shops and restaurants on the lower floor, and two floors of apartments above. When the weather is nice, the restaurants all have outside seating and it is a great place to have a beer and relax. My apartment is about a block away, straight off the left side of the picture.

The farmer’s market on the Rathaus Plaza. The Farmer’s Market This picture is looking the other way on the Rathaus Plaza. On Wednesday’s, they have a farmer’s market of sorts on the Plaza. These big trucks come in and you can buy flowers, cheese, fresh meat, and, of course, bread of all sorts. Today it was raining, so not too many customers.

A typical village street. A Typical Village Street This is a typical street in the village. Quite small, no sidewalks, hardly bigger than what we might think of as a bike path in the US. It is hard for me to believe this is a two-way street, but cars, pedestrians, and bikes all seem to cope. I haven’t seen anyone get impatient or upset about having to wait for someone else.

The path to ESO. The path to ESO This is the bike and pedestrian path I take to the Institute. For the most part, there are not suppose to be cars on this path, which really is the size of a bike path in the US. But I have learned never to step into intersections without looking first, because there are cars on this path from time to time. I truly cannot tell these walking paths apart from village roads most of the time.

Typical home in Garching. A Typical Village Home This is the typical kind of home I see on my walk to the Institute. I have seen very, very few stand-alone single family houses. Most homes are like this, attached to other homes. Each has a small yard or garden area, usually in the back, extremely well maintained with abundant flowers and fruit trees.

Back yard garden in home in Garching. Backyard Garden This is the kind of backyard garden I see everywhere as I walk along. Gardening must be a German passion, along with flowers, generally. You can buy flowers everywhere, and you frequently see people walking along, taking them home. Some of the gardens I see are spectacular.

Back yard garden in home in Garching. Wood Everywhere Germans do amazing things with wood. I don’t know if this is a Bavarian specialty, but their windows are often made of wood, they have highly polished and stained balconies, and as I peek through the open windows I see a lot of wooden accents in the home. It gives me a nice, warm feeling to see it. I even feel that way about the wood in my apartment. It is nothing special, but it makes things feel so much more relaxed and home-like.

Yard faces. Yard Faces Who said the Germans don’t have a sense of humor? I continually find these little things that make my day. Yesterday I saw a lava lamp in someone’s window.

The Walkers The Hiking Club I was on my way to work the other morning, still mostly asleep because I didn’t get my coffee (long story), when all of a sudden this group of 10-15 very vigorous walkers turned a corner and were on me, everyone of them about my age with walking poles and lycra outfits. In the ten seconds it took me to get my camera out of my pocket, they were off to who knows where. I definitely need to find out more about this group!

The U-Bahn Extension The U-Bahn Extension Just by way of contrast, this is the new U-Bahn extension they are building through the village of Garching out to the Technical University of Munich, which you see to the left behind the construction. ESO is just to the right, as is the Max-Plank Institute for Astrophysics. This extension is badly needed, but even more so now that they put the new soccer stadium near Garching as well. People are concerned that Garching will be hard pressed to remain a village.

The new soccer stadium The New Soccer Stadium I took this picture of the new soccer stadium while I was stranded on the U-Bahn when everyone got off and left me. This U-Bahn stop is being seriously upgraded to cope with the 70 thousand fans that are expected to come see the soccer matches. Munich has two soccer teams. Bayern-München plays in the Premier League and the other team plays in a league one down from that. Both teams put up half the money for the stadium, but the other team can’t even afford to play in it! It will be a marvel, that’s for sure.

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