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Heiko Mülfarth Photography

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The Tale of Two Cities according to Stephi and Heiko - Part 381

After Stephi had no idea what to write about copy shops last week, I am not going to bore you with a text about copy shops, but will instead talk about a topic I know quite something about: Biergarten or beer garden as google translate tells me it is called in the English language. That was one hell of a sentence.

It is still super hot without any considerable amount of rain. But the latter is beside the point. Yet, during such hot times human beings need to drink a lot. And there is nothing better than go outside and visit one of those great beer gardens that you can find almost everywhere in our cities. It might be in front of a restaurant, in the backyard, in a park or at a public place. It is usually a chill place where you meet with your friends or make new friends and you usually have one beer (after another). No question why it is called beer garden here. 

The first picture shows you a classic beer garden in Munich as every German knows it. You have the typical beer banks (I can tell you stories about these), huge umbrellas and trees. Yes, this is something that is a thing all around Germany. 

The second picture from Cologne shows you a beer garden at a public place that was a meeting place of drug dealers and a dealing point some years ago. Even though the dealers a still lurking around, the city has taken some actions and made the place livable again. One of the main reason is that beer garden (and the fountain close by) that lured in a lot of people and it’s a great place to relax and have a drink. 

Thank god I didn’t tell you about the summer i practically lived in beer gardens or any other drunk stories. But who else has a store about beer gardens in Germany or anywhere else around the globe, please share.

The tale of two cities according to Heiko and Stephi - Part 380

Today, I am going to tell you something about our working process. Heiko and I rarely have a plan what to post in the coming week. We both collect photos of places we think would be worth sharing in the “tales”, and when we have two that fit, post them.

Sometimes, we decide to make a series like the “summer series” and then we try to find places that fits this specific theme.

Some weeks ago, when it was my turn to write the “tales” I saw the only fitting ones were the copyshops. I had no idea what to write about copyshops. So I suggested to make the “summer series”. And we found one “summer” theme after another. So we skipped the copyshops.

Today it was my turn again and when I took a look into our shared Dropbox I saw the only fitting ones are “copyshops” again. And I still don't have a clue what to write.

Does anyone of you have an idea what to write about copyshops, except for that we can make copies and print things there?

BTW the first photo shows a copyshop in Cologne and the second photo shows one in Munich

The Tale of Two Cities according to Stephi and Heiko - Part 379

This week we interrupt our summertime activities by pointing out something that cannot be neglected and denied at all: the climate is changing and it can be seen everywhere. The picture you see this week have been taken by Mid-July this year and show the drought that can be seen everywhere in Germany.

Grass is no longer green but in most instances yellow, the leaves are already falling form the trees and all of this is happening because there isn’t enough rain. There is some rain but it’s either just some drops or it just pours and the earth is unable to hold it, like with the flood in Germany last year. That’s why there are no longer any green parks.

But there are other risks involved with the dry weather. One was the flood last year and this year there are some severe forest fires that are barely under control. For the cities like Munich and Cologne this means that you are no longer allowed to have a barbecue in the parks at all, which has always been a great thing to do in the summer. 

With the dry weather also comes an intensifying heat for longer periods. We are not taking about a dry week but rather months. That leads to the drought you are seeing in our pictures, the first form Munich, the second one from Cologne.

I am well aware that climate change affects all of us but it’s different in every region of the world. So please be kind enough and share how it affects your area.

The tale of two cities according to Heiko and Stephi - Part 378

It is still summer here, and it's still hot. Too hot! In Germany, we have very high temperatures which we aren't used to. In other parts of Europe, it's even worse. The effects on nature will be a subject in our future tales, soon. Today we show you what citizens of our hometowns do to cope with the heat.

The first picture shows the beach of the "Strandbad am Tanzbrunnen" in Cologne where people can go for a swim to cool down or just spend their time and enjoy life.

The second picture shows the "Englischer Garten" in Munich which is a place to enjoy in every time of the year. During summer you can lie there in the shade or take go for a swim in the Eisbach or watch the surfers at Eisbachwelle.

What do you do on hot days?

The Tale of Two Cities according to Stephi and Heiko - Part 377

After having a swim in the hot weather, a lot of young people return to the city and have a blast, especially on the weekend. But since summertime it’s often too hot to go to a club or a bar, people ten to go to places outside. Munich, as well as Cologne, have some places that are frequently visited on a hit summer’s day or night, but we picked out one popular each.

In Munich, a lot of people meet at the Stachus, a place that is actually named Karlsplatz but only referred to as Stachus. Close by are the shopping mile and a huge mall but the center is the fountain. The fountain is at the center and the place where mostly young people meet. Most often they have a beer or two there and then go on but maybe they just stay after all.

The place to meet and hang out in Cologne is the Rheinboulevard. It has been opened to the public in 2015 and became a hot spot really fast. It’s close to the city center and the Dom with a great view over the river Rhein towards the Cathedral and the historic city. You will see a lot of young people there from the early afternoon till late at night, hence the night picture. Actually, the Rheinboulevard is being extend at the moment. 

Are there any such places in your hometown where people, you or old, meet and hang out?

The tale of two cities according to Heiko and Stephi - Part 376

It's still summer in the city, at least in our hometowns. And so I continue with our "summer" series. In and around Munich there are a lot of possibilities to swim in lakes or the river Isar. I always preferred to swim in natural places. But three years ago, I discovered it is nice after works sport to swim a few rounds, and that I prefer to do this in a swimming pool.

It's good that Munich doesn't only have a lot of lakes but also has a lot of public swimming pools, both indoors and outdoors. You can see one of them in the second picture. The first picture shows a swimming pool in Cologne. Of course, Heiko's hometown has also a lot of possibilities to go swimming.

While I like to go swimming as an after works sport activity, I don't like to spend a whole day in a public swimming bath.

What about you? Do you like spending a whole day in a swimming bath or do you prefer lakes as I do?

The Tale of Two Cities according to Stephi and Heiko - Part 375

After showing you some places worth visiting when you come to Munich or Cologne, we decide to continue with another summer theme that Stephi started already last week by showing you ice cream vendors. 

It’s summertime and there are certain activities almost everyone loves to do in order to relax or just forget about the heat, stress and everyday life. This week shows you something that can achieve all of these three things cause what is better to get a swim or in the case of Cologne get some feet in the water.

But let’s start with the first picture from the Ammersee that is located a bit outside of the city. The Ammersee is the third biggest lake in all of Bavaria and it has a countryside connotation compared to Starnberger See that is more associated with royalty. On the Ammersse you can take a boat trip and lots of water-sports like sail boats, water-skiing or diving. 

The second picture shows you a part of the banks of the river Rhine that is called Kölsche Riviera by the locals because there are water mouths kinda like at the Riviera. It is a well visited place by families and young people and lots of these people also go into the river although it is strictly forbidden to take a swim in the Rhine. That’s because it is very dangerous as a lot of big ships pass by, which causes unpredictable currents. It’s not rare that people have to be saved by water guards, yet it is still a great place to hang out and have some fun. Maybe you just step into the water and cool your feet.

Do any one of you go out and take a swim in lakes or other natural waters?

The tale of two cities according to Heiko and Stephi - Part 374

It's "summer in the city" and so far it was a really warm summer. Last weekend we had around 36°C which is actually crazy hot for this area. Buildings and nature are not made to deal with such heat.

Also, I don't like heat very much. I think 25°C in summer would be perfect. But sadly the weather doesn't care what I want or do not want.

But no matter if you like the heat or not it's always good to know what to do on such days. And today we show you one of my ways to deal with heat. It's easy, I just eat tonnes of ice cream. Luckily there are many ice cream parlours in our hometowns. The first picture shows one in Cologne and the second shows one in Munich. I love ice cream and I love all the different flavours. It rarely happens that I have the same flavours twice in a row. So I don't have a favourite flavour, I love them all. And now I have to stop writing because I need to eat some ice, ice baby.

What is your favourite ice cream flavour?

The Tale of Two Cities according to Stephi and Heiko - Part 373

When you go on vacation, there are always typical things a tourist does. You might climb the Eiffel Tower, see the passing of the guards at Buckingham Palace or visit Time Square. There are always these typical tourist attractions you simply have to do. 

This isn’t much different in Munich and Cologne event hough we had a hard time to recognize what that typical tourist activity actually would be. My first guess was to have at least one of the local beers but that’s not what we were actually looking for. 

Stephi said that every tourist in the city comes to hear the Glockenspiel by the City Hall. That’s why you see the market place again this week. The Glockenspiel plays twice every day at 11am and noon. Two sceneries are presented: a marriage from the 15th century and the  return of the people to the streets after the plague. 

I may have seen the Glockenspiel myself from a restaurant across City Hall with Stephi, Pete and Fern. I am not actually sure if we saw the Glockenspiel but I remember it being mentioned in our conversation that morning. 

In Cologne you usually spend some time by the river Rhein and there are a lot of tourists boats that you have no choice but to take a boat trip along the river. That’s actually not a bad idea as you can see a lot from the places we have mentioned over the last couple of weeks, just from another perspective. From time to time I find myself on a boat as well, like on a ship concert or so and I am always amazed by the view, especially in the evening hours when the sun is coming down. 

Both activities are kind of touristy but still worth being done. Now, who has seen the Glockenspiel or taken a boat trip on the Rhine? 

The tale of two cities according to Heiko and Stephi - Part 372

Over the last weeks we showed you some places worth seeing when visiting one of our hometowns. And so will I do today.

While most people only visit museums during bad weather, I will show you two museums you should not miss even when the sun is shining.

The first one is the "Schokoladenmuseum" (chocolate museum) in Cologne. I think the name already gives away why it is worth a visit. I mean, what is not to love about chocolate? And even when you are one of those few people who don't like chocolate it's still interesting to learn about the history of chocolate, and how chocolate is made.

The second photo shows the "Deutsches Museum" in Munich. My old and bad photo sadly doesn't show how cool this museum really is. It is the biggest "science and technology" museum in the world. And it is everything but boring. You take a look into a real submarine that is cut in half (actually, you can look into all sorts of vehicles because there is almost nothing that isn't in this museum), you can walk through a coal mine, watch an "electricity show", or go see the stars in the planetarium. And while I write about this I think I need to plan my next visit.

This week's praise to all the great museums in the world. What were the best museums you have visited?

The Tale of Two Cities according to Stephi and Heiko - Part 371

Another weekend before the summer holidays (even though some of us have already been on vacation, like Stephi and myself) and we will present you another place of our respective cities that is north visiting. 

The first picture gives you a great view of Munich’s Olympia Stadium. But reducing the areal to the Olympic Stadium would actually sell it short. The area is so  much more. Yes, the heart of the area is the stadium, which has been the center of the Olympic Games in 1972 and the home stadium for the local football/soccer club Bayern München for a long time. But next to the stadium is the Olympic Hall, that is used as a concert venue, for hockey games, basketball and whatnot. Then there is the Olympic park where people can meet for walks or drinks and happenings. Plus, it has some fantastic architecture and is simply fun to see and hang around (unless it’s -15°C). 

Speaking of architecture: the second picture of Cologne shows one of the more unusual architectural buildings in Cologne, the Kranhäuser (crane houses in a literal translation) and they are actual one of a kind. They were finished by 2010 and stand along the river Rhine by an old river harbor. That area is now used as a recreational area with the buildings as the marquee point. There are multiple museums, there are markets on a  regular basis, a skate park and it’s also a great place to just walk along the river, close to the center of the city. The Kranhäuser are a must see when you visit cologne, as is the Olympic park. 

Both areas and buildings are also fun for photographers who like architectural photography as there are endless possibilities and motives.

Now, who’s coming for a visit?

The tale of two cities according to Heiko and Stephi - Part 370

This week I continue with the "places worth seeing" in our hometowns.

The first photo shows the historic district of Cologne. It's a beautiful place at day and a fun place at night because it's the party area.

I remember visiting Cologne for business seminars. And two of those times I had tthe time to meet Heiko.

The first time I only had a few hours in the evening, and we both went to the historic district downton to have some mini beers. The second time, I was able to spend some more time, and Heiko gave did a four hour Cologne sightseeing tour with me. He di a great job, and in these four hours I saw a lot of beautiful places and, of course, I saw the historic district. I really like it there, both times, at day and night.

The second photo shows the "Karlsplatz" in Munich. We call this place "Stachus". I took this photo a few years ago. Would I have turned around, you would have seen one of the old city gates. It is the beginning of the historic city centrr of Munich. The "Stachus" fountain is a very popular place, for tourists and for citizens of Munich. It's a nice place for streetphotography but it's always crowded. On hot summer days you can sometimes see people actually walking through this fountain to get some cooling, and I think most "Munichians" already did this, me included.

If you want to see fewer people around (or in) the fountain or downtown you better come for a visit on a Sunday. Sice the city center is also the shopping area, and on Sundays all shops are closed here, not too many people come here.

I guess if you ever make a trip to Cologne or Munich, you don't want to miss any of these places.