Deeper Munich: Slow Life in Altperlach

Deeper Munich: Slow Life in Altperlach

The motto of the blog parade “Journey in front of the door” of 1 THING TO DO, is something I can truly identify with. Why do I love to “travel” in my Munich district Altperlach?

What I would like to tell you about my city district

I will start with a description of the “destination” right in front of my doorstep. For this I will depict how life in the district Altperlach feels for me. Then I will tell you  how I first thought about the move from Schwabing to the new Munich district. Next I will tell you about my arrival and how I eventually became a discoverer there. After that, I will give you a more detailed introduction to Altperlach. Here I will describe the special flair of the neighborhood in detail. I will take you to the calmly babbling Hachinger Bach stream, for example. Finally, I hope to inspire you to journey in front of your own home. It´s definitly a good idea. Let’s go!

Village idyll: How life in Altperlach feels

On Saturdays I like walking to my neighbourhood’s central square, the Pfanzeltplatz, which is the heart of my new district in Munich. The walking tour leads me along the Ottobrunnerstrasse and past pretty old farmhouses. I see houses with colorful window shutters and iron balconies. Then I am happy about spotting a beautiful mix of historical architecture as well as the a pretty baroque church St. Michael next to the Maypole. I cross a small stream and find myself on a tiny picture-book farmers’ market where many vendors know their customers personally. I like to stay there with a freshly roasted coffee. Drinking my cup I enjoy watching the picturesque market scene. It’s weekend and I’m back in my neighborhood with it´s idyllic lifestyle which is unusual in Munich. In a hectic city where standing on escalators on the right and walking on the left is a Religion Altperlach sometimes seems unreal to me.

Alterplach: Another Munich
Alterplach: a different Munich

Travel – to Altperlach

First of all my husband Chris and I traveled to, not in Altperlach. The relocation after 16 years living in Schwabing in 2016 has actually felt like a journey, because Altperlach is a complete different world even if it’s in the same city. At first I had some concerns. I was worried about being cut off from the urban life that I was accustomed to: the subway in front of my street, many exotic restaurants within walking distance and only five minutes by public transport to the center of Munich. Above all, I was worried that we would see our friends rarely. Fortunately it was not proven true.

Travel – in Altperlach

Although I often go on long distance travels , I feel inspired by the idea of ​​traveling in front of my door. So I discovered the district, which I had already liked before the move, deeper and deeper with time. It was not easy to find detailed information on it, because city guides, blogs and similar sources of travel in one’s own city do not burst with information on this southeastern part of Munich. Eventually I found more and more interesting facts. I still enjoy going on a disocovery walkingtour with my camera here. In terms of “discovering beautiful details” Wikipedia has given me a good service to learn more about Altperlach. On this occasion, I learned for example that there are still old castles, which were formerly country residences of the nobility.  They are spread over different streets. I also found a index of listed buildings. This was helpful to find picturesque farmhouses worth a photo. I am currently working on a photo gallery for our apartment with black-and-white pictures, which should display a relationship to our district.

Multicultural and traditionally Bavarian

Perlach is much older than Munich and was first mentioned in a document of the year 790. This was long before the city of Munich was founded. Although Altperlach looks like a strong contrast to the nearby Neuperlach, the two districts have something in common: People from many different countries live there. At the Pfanzeltplatz you will find a Döner Kebab shop close to an old-established inn. The mixture of multiculturalism and traditionally Bavarian culture makes the quarter particularly charming. For those who are interested in Perlach and its history, I recommend the following: In Sebastian-Bauer-Street (No 25) you can regularly admire a large collection of old photographs and other historical documents at an open day. For me it feels like a secret museum. You can find out more under “News” on the website of the Festring Perlach association (available only in German).

Relaxing at the Hachinger Bach stream

Let me tell you about another highlight in my district: I love walking along the water, crossing the many bridges of the Pfanzeltplatz and then sitting easily in a cafe by the water. The Hachinger Bach stream flows through the old village core of Perlach. Together with the many farmhouses it forms a so-called “Angerdorf”, which is a special type of village in Europe, predominantly found in the German speaking world. As you pass the Hachinger Bach south, you will spot St Paulus church, which is the oldest Protestant church building in Munich. It was built in the middle of the 19th century. If you go further, you will reach the neighboring village Unterbiberg, which also looks  impressive with its baroque church and beautiful farmhouses. That village is the base of “Unterbiberger Hofmusik”, the local folk band, which uniquely blends Bavarian and Turkish influences.

In the summer people like having a barbecue at the Hachinger Bach. Since many people living in Perlach have roots in Turkey or other countries with barbecue tradition, it’s  not surprising. The Festring Perlach association has not only given many old houses of the district a tag displaying their history, but has also set up a nature trail along the Hachinger Bach (website only available in German). Here you can learn about the animals and plants that live there. You may discover a lot of new things by walking along this scenic path.

Signposting of houses in Altperlach
Labels displaying the history of the houses

The Hachinger Bach is the heart of Altperlach. Here people get an ice cream, linger, talk to each other and picnic in the summer on the many benches around the Pfanzeltplatz. But the idyll is also in process of change. Huge new housing complexes are being built and urbanization doesn’t stop here. But the mix of old buildings around the Hachinger Bach in the old village center will be preserved. It’s fortunately under monumental protection.

The Hachinger Bach stream in autumn
The Hachinger Bach stream in autumn

Green is everywhere

When I leave our house, I am immediately in the green. First impression: the courtyard with its meadow and the many old trees. There are even orchard trees among them. After crossing a small park I walk along the street Ständlerstraße. The path is completely green. Now I can decide whether I turn north to the Ostpark or follow the Hachinger Bach. No matter how I choose, the green is ubiquitous. Next to the large park and the stream, there is the “Neuer Südfriedhof”, which means new southern cemetery. A cemetery walk may not be for everyone, but this one is very picturesque. In accordance with the population structure there are also Muslim tombs. There You can even find a Celtic hill and a lake there. Gray goose, who sometimes also fly past our house, like it there. The Neuer Südfriedhof is large terrain that reaches up to the A8 Munich-Salzburg highway.

Bluetit in Altperlach
Bluetit in Altperlach

Sometimes it is even enough to stand at my kitchen window keeping my camera handy: In the trees in front of the Apartment often squirrels jump around. Everyday I wake up from the soun of singing birds. Great titmouses chirp in the most beautiful tones. Sometimes it alsp happens that a large colorful jay shows up in front of my window. I am happy every evening when I come home and see so much greenery. Then blackbirds bounce across the meadow and sometimes you can hear a woodpecker. Or you can even watch the colorful animal in the tree with it´s typical movements. When it rains, sometimes a duck couple is sighted and also a hazelmaus was spotted in our courtyard. The courtyard is always good for surprises. I’m curious which animal will be spotted next.

Are you a traveller in the place you live?

As we live everyday life with the traveler’s mentality and keep our eyes steadily open, we can discover new things on each day. Even in places which we know well. In different seasons, but also by seeing people and animals, we discover new perspectives. And we might think something could be worth a photo. With this mindset I recently met my friend Sara for a photowalk in Altperlach. Sara lives in the same district. Aswe  already knew the mix of old farmhouses of the Pfanzeltplatz quite well, we spent most of the time photographing spring flowers and birds in a green space of Altperlach.

Crocus in spring
Crocus in spring

With or without a camera – an explorative walk is an excellent way to slow down. Since you do not have a long way to travel, you stay relaxed. When you look out for beautiful things, you are mindful and stay in the present moment. Worries or other negative thoughts cannot come in this way. I firmly believe that this can become an attitude: First discovering the beautiful small things. Consequently being grateful. All this makes me happy. Have you understood correctly? I now recommend staying at home instead of traveling to other places? No, I still have a nomad’s heart. But also an explorer’s heart. And a passion for exploration can be lived out everywhere. I rarely saw a place where I couldn’t find anything beautiful.

Are you a traveler in the place you live? Do you consciously perceive your surroundings or do you walk past carelessly and miss all the beauty? Have you ever made a photo walk through your neighborhood? Would you like to organize one? What secret corners do you like in your neighborhood? At what time of year is your quarter particularly beautiful? Or maybe you have quite different thoughts about “Traveling in front of the door”. Let me know them in the comments.

If you would like to learn more about “idyllic places in Munich”, I recommend you my guest article I wrote for Muenchen.de. There I portray other Munich districts, where a village core has been preserved and which are made for slowing down a bit.

This post is also available in de_DE.

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