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November 2004

Feeling Festive?

There's always cause for celebration in Bavaria's cosmopolitan capital

’Tis the season to be jolly. I know I’m being a bit preemptive with still another eight or so weeks to go until Christmas, but, to be honest, I consider November an acceptable time to start thinking about the whole festive rush. For me the people who complain constantly that “Christmas starts earlier every year” are more irritating than the shops that start stocking festive food in September. Granted, I don’t want to munch Lebkuchen while I’m sitting out in the sun either, but the fact that it sits on the shelves doesn’t mean I have to buy the stuff. (It’s almost as dull an argument as the German favorite about how everything costs double since the euro was introduced. Yawn.) Anyway, what’s wrong with a bit of forethought? After all there’s so much to plan. At least if you start now you’ll stand a chance of a) finding a reasonably priced flight to visit family, b) finding somewhere that’s not fully booked for New Year’s Eve and c) finding somewhere to hold that all important Christmas party. And that’s not to mention shopping. I know men prefer to hit the shops the day before Christmas, but, at the risk of alienating male readers, you can’t fool me that that’s down to traditionalist reasons—it’s just because they can’t organize their time. If you want to give presents that someone will appreciate, rather than some tat, bought last minute just for the sake of it, then now’s the time to hit the shops. (In fact I’ve been pre-Christmas shopping since, ooh, February, and already have a list of gift ideas for various members of my family.) Of course don’t be fooled into thinking that because you’re starting “early” that you’ll be alone. No, you may as well accept that you’ll end up elbowing your way through the crowds and cursing the terrible German attitude to service as you stand in slow-moving lines. Couldn’t they just open one more cash desk? That is, if you make it across the Christmas market on Marienplatz in one piece.

If it’s all just too much for you, then why not treat yourself to a Christmas shopping break somewhere different? We’ve come up with a number of suggestions on page 36 and, more importantly, included some tips for indulging yourself at some fabulous hotels and restaurants. What’s more, we’ve even wangled a special offer for MUNICH FOUND readers at one of Salzburg’s top hotels. Go on, you know you want to!

If it really is too early for you to start thinking about Christmas, then why not make the most of the other celebrations going on this month? The beauty of living in a city as cosmopolitan as Munich is that you can take advantage of all the different cultures around you. Take, for example, the Indian community, which this month celebrates one of its biggest festivals of the year—Diwali. Find out all about what’s going on to mark this “Festival of Light” in our report on page 31. And, of course, it’s Thanksgiving time, so it’ll be pumpkin pie all round at a number of events taking place across Munich. See the News and Views section for full details.

Speaking of food, we’ve gone Italian on you this month. Pizza has never been cooler—so we’ve checked out where you can get the best in town. There’s more comfort food in our recipe on page 28, with a delicious chocolate cake from the chef at Munich’s Zauberberg restaurant. In fact it’s so good, it’s probably one to cut out and keep for a special occasion, like, ooh, Christmas …

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