By Amie Mignatti
Munich was never on my radar. I generally lived my life without a plan, letting it unfold as it did and basing my choices on what was presented at the time, rather than on a future goal. I came to Munich because of a Danish boy I met while in Thailand. I didn’t find a job in Denmark, but rather in Munich.
The relationship lasted for only a few months after I arrived here, but I stayed because I had been living on a sailboat for the prior year and a half and I was very grateful for the stability and for not constantly moving. I quickly fell in love with a German man who was a gardener at the Botanical Gardens. He was a big traveler and nature lover and he showed me the sheer natural beauty of life here.
We went to the mountains almost every weekend for years, in all weather and seasons. We drove his motorcycle deep into the Swiss and Austrian Alps, camped by streams and in the middle of fields, made fires to keep us warm and lived close to nature. I was so captivated by the forests, the mountains, the plants, the herbs and animals that I changed my entire life’s work so that I could be constantly outdoors.
The relationship came to end, which crushed me, but at the same time, I spent so much time in nature that it also healed me. Munich is such an easy stepping stone to exploring the natural world. Deep forests are a bike ride away and several are even inside the city limits; hiking is a train or car ride away, and it’s possible to do a whole trip in one day.
Even within Munich, there is a lot of nature. I ride my bike everywhere and my commute into the city consists of a long stretch of forest and, in the summer, fields of wildflowers and the ability to jump in the Isar if I want to. I have fallen in love with Munich because even though it’s a big city, it is surrounded by nature and getting out of the city is so easy.
One of the things I find so wonderful is that the city of Munich makes it easy to explore the pre-Alps and to get in touch with what makes this part of Europe so very beautiful. The BOB Bahn can take you to different mountain towns where the hiking trails start. For those of you who are interested but a bit unsure, there are great hiking books at Hugendubel that map out trails for children and trails accessible with the bus and train. You can also buy maps of many of the hiking trails throughout Europe at Hugendubel at Karlsplatz- they have a large outdoor section. Joining the DAV is also a great way to get started in the mountains. They offer group tours if you are not comfortable venturing out on your own, or if you want to meet other people with the same interests. I have done several of them and would highly recommend them!
Perhaps your breath will be as taken away by this part of Germany as mine has been.
Amie Mignatti is a free spirited woman with her feet on the earth and her heart in the stars. After traveling the world for many years, she landed in Munich where she wears many different hats: yoga teacher, nature coach, outdoor educator for children, English teacher. She also runs personal development courses for women in nature. She and her family are happiest outdoors with friends and campfires.
Check out her blog here.