Monday, May 24, 2010

Soccer Fever in Munchen

This past week Munchen has been focused on soccer. While the runup to the World Cup in South Africa is covered, it has been overshadowed by the excitement of the European Finals pitting the local Bayern team against Intermailand of Italy. The depth of this soccer fanaticism was apparent when I noticed little soccer nets with soccer balls in the urinals. A journalist (possibly a woman) investigating these devices determined men, now more physically and mentally focused on their business, were keeping bathrooms much cleaner.

On Saturday afternoon a friend and I went to the beer garden in the Viktualienmarkt (famers' market) in downtown Munchen. Remarkably, from a North American perspective, there is a well treed open space in the middle of downtown where one can buy a beer, wurst and bretzel and settle down for a good talk. However Saturday was not restful, the beer garden resounded with the militant soccer songs of the Bayern fans, all decked out in the red and white team colours. Later I heard the cheers and yells at every restaurant and bar as I walked home. I watched the last third of the game, "Not so good for Bayern so far, they have 22 minutes left to score two goals to win. Intermailand is holding them. Ohh, ohh, Italy just scored again, three goals to win now." Sunday was very quiet in Munich.

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