cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fall in der Viktualienmarkt

Bavaria Calling--Aus München. I have an incredible fondness for the French language--evident as I am living in France--but it is a rather difficult and intimidating language to practice. The German language on the other hand, is more of a sport or game to partake in. Back in school, French surmounted to academics, while German represented the break period of the day, for I stand firm in the conviction that Deutsch is the most most amusing language a human could speak for pleasure. Not convinced? Say birthday and anniversaire, then try geburtstag. Changed your mind eh? Welkommen aus Deutschland! Aus Bayern München wo wir können in der Viktualienmark gehen--one of the most widely known outdoor food markets in Western Europe.

Viktualienmarkt is located just a few steps south of the famous Marienplatz, the location of the old market before it outgrew itself. The market has been a traditional farmers-market style venue since the early nineteenth century. The name stems from the latin victuals--food. Today the market hosts myriad stalls--140 in all--of produce ranging from home grown legumes to imported exotics from around the world. The copious butcher shops, or Metzgerei, that line the market alleys are packed with the carcases of freshly slaughtered swine, game, and poultry, as well as stuffed window displays of linked sausages and bursting cases of bratwurst, weisswurst, and schweinwurst.

Aside from the meat, the fresh dairy and cheese stalls, pretzel vendors, wine and beer stalls, bakeries offering rustic style bröt and cakes--and everything in between from novelty honeys and jams to pine cone bird feeders. But--above all others is the marzipan one will find , windows ans windows of deliciously sculpted marzipan have solidified my German dreams of hospitality, warmth, and fun. One could easily pass the day away in the market under the chiming of the nearby Marienplatz clock tower, and the whinnying of hounds as they stare longingly through the butchers window as their master strikes a deal.

There is a jolliness in Munich, one that is lacking in Paris. Whether this is a shared opinion or a personal stretch I know not. But I have a secret love for all things German--one that leaves many friends and colleagues here in Paris puzzling over--did you pick the wrong country? I have been asked on many an occasion. My ear catches the German at a bar and I move in. What it is I cannot say, perhaps a certain misunderstanding of the German language, culture, and people that I act the champion against. I have fought and will continue to fight for the beauty of the language--too many cringe and spout phrases for description as "ugly, angry, spitting, and harsh." I do not see it. Instead I think of rhyming songs for children about hats, and the poetic verses of Goethe and Heinrich Heine.

Munich is a gem, an insult I payed in only remaining in her hospitality three nights. A city so full of history one can almost claim giddiness. Return is inevitable, Bavaria is vast, and the North beckons as well. I will remain torn between the French and Germans, but I would very much prefer to have the two. Perhaps I should move to Strasbourg. Until then--

A bientôt & Tschüβ


2 comments:

Ryan said...

The hounds staring through the butchers windows, that sounds pretty darn cute.

I like the farmers markets too.. about the only thing I've ever seen that resembles that is "The Strip District" (the name is sure to cause giggles among middle schoolers) in Pittsburgh.

Jeena said...

Interesting post, I never looked at German as funny before :D lovely pictures of the market. :)