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Munich - Small Tour around the City

While retaining a strong Bavarian culture, Munich is quite a cosmopolitan city. Although Munich is Germany's third largest city, you only need to travel a short distance to reach the lovely Bavarian countryside which is host to lots of green pasture, lakes and of course the Alps. Munich has an extensive train and Autobahn network, so it is also possible to live outside the city and commute daily by train or by car.

Getting around the compact inner city is very easy with the public transport network of trams, trains and buses, which runs quite late into the night. There are also several kilometres of safe and flat bike paths. While the roads are in generally good condition, traffic is relatively heavy, especially during peak hour, and parking is limited. There are also strict rules about drunk driving. Taxis are expensive but plentiful.

Of course, German is the official spoken language, although many Münchners prefer to speak their native Bavarian dialect. Like most places in the world these days, English is the default second language. Should you speak English and no German (or Bavarian!), you will be able to get by.

Medical facilities are of a very high standard. Most treatments are covered by insurance, which is compulsory.

Munich is an excellent place for children in terms of facilities, pastimes and extra curricular activities. Free time can be spent pursuing hobbies, music and arts, cultural activities, playing computer games, and of course doing sporting activities. Outdoor activities like cycling, soccer, volleyball, swimming and mountain climbing are very popular during the Summer months. Sports involving sliding over ice or plummeting down a snowy mountain with various appendages strapped to your feet or bottom are popular in Winter.

Just about everything you could possibly need is obtainable in Munich, although you may have to be a little more adventurous or imaginative to get exactly what you are looking for.

The greatest challenges of Munich are:

- the language. Although it is possible to get by with English in your private and professional life, speaking German will open up many more social and career opportunities for you.

- finding accommodation is extremely difficult. Landlords do not like short-term tenants, and in Munich three years is considered short-term. Research the housing market carefully with regard to parking, proximity to public transport and facilities, and price.

- the cost of living in Munich is the highest in Germany. This includes rent and real estate prices, groceries, clothes and going out.

- smoking is allowed in most restaurants, entertainment venues and even work places. Particularly in Winter when outdoor opportunities are limited be prepared for your clothes and hair to reek of smoke.

- German bureaucracy is everything it's cracked up to be, and worse! Always take some reading material or knitting with you when you need to visit a government department. Apply for jobs six months in advance. Seriously.

- in Winter it gets bitterly cold. Make sure you rug up well.


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