Transporting us to the beautiful, “very green, relaxed and culture-jammed” city of Munich, filled with lakes, rivers and mountains on its doorstep is Andrea von Gleichenstein. A baroness by title, she quickly informs us that she doesn’t usually advertise it, except when it works to her advantage: like scoring the best room when she checks into a hotel. Silly perks like that aside, she admits, “Sometimes when I travel, it creates a problem because the name in my passport is too long for most airline systems. And so, they shorten my surname to fit and this causes confusion while checking in.”
But beyond the baroness title, Andrea is the passionate founder of TDC—a training company which specialises in the field of intercultural management and project management. Based out of Germany, the company also has offices in Cape Town, South Africa and San Jose, Costa Rica. The company comprises of 18 trainers from eight different countries and its clients are some of the biggest international companies in the world as well as the chamber of commerce and a variety of institutions. “Understanding culture is my passion and my desire is to encourage people to think out of the box. It increasingly is becoming a global challenge for people from different cultures to live peacefully together with mutual respect. Therefor our trainings at TDC not only help individuals to be successful in international management, but they also give each participant the chance to see situations from different perspectives. I think the trainings help an individual a lot, because in life situations will arise where we do not want to change, so the only chance we have is changing our perception of the situation.” In fact Andrea’s favourite quote just happens to be, “change is the only constant.” Entirely committed to her cause at TDC, funny enough, Andrea revealed that on her 50th birthday she went to Iceland in the quest of seeing an iceberg because for years she always spoke of the ‘iceberg model’ in her trainings. Interesting!
Andrea lives next to a beautiful lake, Starnberger See, South of Munich, in a beautiful modern home with a big garden. She quips, “I like natural materials, stones and wood, and I love to sit in my winter garden… sometimes you even see deers peacefully grazing by.” Revealing that her favourite colour is green and that she likes to be colourful with her interiors, and even a bit chaotic, one notices how every room is very different, and that in fact is her concept. “I like the mix of modern and old furniture. Most of the things in my house have their own unique story—souvenirs or gifts from my travels. For instance, this year’s christmas tree was bought in Cape Town and was made by ladies of the township, handcrafted out of beads. Sometimes I feel there are too many things in my house. After I watched the movie A hundred things with my kids, I decided to start donating some items and live with less, but I haven’t entirely succeeded in that department. I guess after all, the road to development is always under construction.” Indeed it is. As for the art inside her home, most of it is from artists that the baroness knows personally. And juxtaposed with stunning artworks, including her favourite–an abstract painting of the angel of peace from Munich, painted in TDC’s company colours, green and orange—are her kid’s painted portraits—a tradition that runs in her family.
Andrea likes sleeping in, has a go with the flow attitude in life and is a nature lover who, weather-permitting, is always at the lakes paddling around or is hiking up high in the Alps. From open air movies to jazz club nights, cultural events, art exhibitions, sporting events to delicious food and lip smacking brews, we decided to explore Andrea’s hometown, Munich from the perspective, lens and experiences of the baroness herself, fully loaded with the tips you need!
“Most Germans plan everything and do not like surprise visits.
I on the other hand, as my friends often joke, have an
‘open door policy’ for my spontaneous guests.”
Gluttons and beer lovers, listen up…
1. Germans love nature, so when the sun is out they sit in beer gardens or nice open air restaurants.
2. Since Andrea lived in India for sometime, she regularly desires Asian food. She will book a table at Mangostin (www.mangostin.de). And so should you!
3. For traditional food, Andrea likes to go to the Weisse Brahaus (www.schneider-brauhaus.de/). Her order usually includes things like: Obatzda, a savoury cheese deep, Schweinebraten, roasted pork dumplings, the famous white sausages with sweet mustard, all washed down with a nice dark beer called dunkles Weißbier. Sounds delicious!
4. Sometimes she likes to hang out near her old university, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), and visit her favourite pub as a student—Atzinger (www.atzingermuenchen.de/). Be aware: you need to pay cash here!
5. For a meal with a great city view Andrea suggests the rotating restaurant at the Olympic Tower (www.restaurant181.com). Do not worry, there is an elevator to reach the 181 meter high restaurant.
6. Brenners, (www.brennergrill.de/) near the Opera in the old part of the city has a grill area which is characterised by the open fireplace in the middle of the room. A must-have is the the high-quality pasta that is freshly made by hand daily. The bar is enticing with its lounge character too, so sit back and have a drink.
7. A relatively new and hip place is the Esszimmer, located on the third floor of the BMW Welt (www.feinkostkaefer.de/esszimmer-muenchen). It is Munich’s latest gourmet venue that appeals to all the senses.
8. The biggest world famous beer festival is the Octoberfest (www.oktoberfest.de/en). Initially it was in remembrance of a royal wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig with Princess Therese 210 years ago and all the people from Munich were invited for free. Today it is where about 6 million people from all over the world come to enjoy the Bavarian hospitality (Gemütlichkeit). Roasted chicken, pretzels and of course Bavarian beer is peacefully enjoyed with dancing and lots of fun. But it is not all about drinking, there are plenty of exciting merry go rounds. Andrea suggests to go on the ride, the Big Wheel (Riesenrad) to have a fabulous view of the festival and Munich. If you miss Oktoberfest, check out the Munich Fasching (Carneval).
“My favourite meal of the day is lunch, and I like to eat with my son and a good friend Ingeborg who is an extraordinary cook so much so that he never cooks two dishes the same way. My weakness, I love prawns with garlic, guava fruit and white chocolate mouse. As for drinks, besides enjoying water I love gin and tonic, dark yeast beer, and Cremant sparkling wine.”
“I love to go for all kinds of cultural events in Munich, art exhibitions, concerts, musicals and jazz shows. I also enjoy sport events like the Munich marathon or the New Years Eve run at the Olympic ground. I don’t have regular hotspots because I like to explore new things and areas in town. I personally like small theatres and hanging out in nice green locations.”
Top ten things to do when in Munich…
1. Marienplatz (central square of Munich‘s old town (Altstadt). Here you can admire the Rathaus old neo-gothic city hall and watch the famous Glockenspiel carillon (puppet show).
2. Viktualienmarkt, a popular market for fresh food and delicatessen. It is walking distance from Marienplatz and has 140 stalls and shops offering flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, venison and fowl, eggs, butter, honey, fish, meat, sausages, herbs, spices, delicatessens, wine and tea. A good place to grab a snack or taste typical bavarian dishes.
3. Frauenkirche: Cathedral Church of Our Lady is one of the symbols of Munich. The south tower of the cathedral can be climbed to the top and offers a unique, wide view across the rooftops of Munich and on to the Alps. If you don‘t want to climb the stairs you can go up to the Blue Spa Terrace in summer on the 7th floor at Hotel Bayrischer Hof and have a magnificent view of the city whilst enjoying a cocktail, or just have a tea and some snacks. (https://www.bayerischerhof.de/)
4. Hofbräuhaus is the most famous tavern in the world, which was built 500 years ago. Besides drinking beer and eating traditional food you can enjoy the atmosphere and Bavarian local live music as well as observing traditional bavarian clothes (Dirndl or Lederhosen) worn by the waiters and locals. (https://www.hofbraeuhaus.de/de/hofbraeuhaus.html)
5. The Englischer Garten is Munich’s most epic green space, which is even bigger than Central Park in New York, and surrounds the Nymphenburg castle. If you love greenery as much as Andrea does, this is a definitely a go-to destination!
6. Schloss Nympenburg, The Nymphenburg palace served as the main summer residence for the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach. It has a beautiful park that’s also worth the visit! (https://www.schloss-nymphenburg.de/englisch/tourist/index.htm)
7. Olympic Park: The Olympic Park Munich where the Olympic games took place in 1972 is one of the most renowned and successful event venues worldwide. You can explore the park, take the Olympic tour or if you are adventurous, you can even do roof climbing here! (https://www.olympiapark.de/)
8. BMW Welt is close to the olympic ground and located in the immediate vicinity of the main BMW factory, the company’s headquarters in the legendary BMW Tower, and the BMW Museum. If you are a car fan you will love it. (https://www.bmw-welt.com/de.html)
9. Tierpark Hellabrunn: Is home to more than 750 exotic and native species from all continents. Hellabrunn is not a zoo in the classical sense. It is more of a nature preserve within the landscape conservation area of the Isar meadows inhabited by animals that live in large, structured enclosures. (https://www.hellabrunn.de/en/)
10. Kunsthalle München: the Hypobank exhibitions is worth checking out if you are an art and exhibition lover. (https://www.kunsthalle-muc.de/en/)
Make a shopping list, check it twice!
“Use public transport, it’s the easiest way to get around Munich!”
- Höfe is a nice shopping mall and is not flooded with the mainstream brands you get all over the world. You can relax in little coffee shops here.
- Lodenfrey: For traditional bavarian clothes and luxurious designer fashion since 1850. (https://www.lodenfrey.com/)
- Obletter Spielwaren at Karlsplatz is the best and largest toy shop in Munich, with an estimated 16,000 toys to choose from. (https://firstname.lastname@example.org,11.5636021,17z)
- Chococult: For chocolates from a local bavarian producer (https://clement-chococult.de/)
- Dallmayr: For culinary delicacies and coffee. (https://www.dallmayr.com/de/)
- Oberpollinger: A department store that has a beautiful stationary section!(https://www.oberpollinger.de/en/)