A dramedy story with Hans 4 min read

The big Surprise

A multicultural German market spotted in München (Germany)

Viktualienmarkt, 17.45

Hans sighed when he felt his cell phone vibrate in his pocket. ‘No.’ He would not let anyone take this moment. He stretched his legs and opened his eyes. An early spring sun bathed the Viktualienmarkt in soft yellow light. He enjoyed the warmth on his face and felt his muscles relax after a week of hectic work. It was his moment to take it easy, to have half an hour of ‘me time’ before he was expected home. It was almost six and the shops started to close up. A vendor brought a cart full of decorations and candles to a small truck. His neighbor, a flower salesman, checked his plants for rotten specimens.

The big Surprise

Although the market was near closing time, it was still bustling with activity. Tourists, people from Munich, young, middle-aged and old, all taking advantage of the sun to take a walk or buy some food. Hans counted the different languages he heard. It kept amazing him how many nationalities he could spot here. It truly was a place where locals, local culture and tourists came together to create a dynamic and always active atmosphere. 

The Biergarten in the middle of the market was crowded and showed the usual mix of people enjoying a beer and fresh food in the sun. A man slumped against a barrel, half awake, half in a drunken slumber. His friends were in a much better state and continued downing one beer after another. Hans had no doubt some of them would soon follow the drunken stupor of their buddy.

The big Surprise

Viktualienmarkt, 17.55

He continued his walk through the stands and breathed in the smells of the fresh food. Cheese, meat, fruit, honey, herbs, coffee. Whatever a stomach wanted, you could buy there. At a fruit stand, an old woman squeezed some peaches, checking for the ripe specimens and pointed at another piece entirely. The stand owner frowned and with a deep sigh, gave her what she wanted. A bit further, two Italians waved their arms in desperation as they tried to explain what kind of cheese they wanted. Meanwhile, a Chinese tourist took pictures of said cheese, making sure to capture the dairy from all sides. Hans tried to recall the few words of Italian he knew when his phone vibrated again. Annoyed, he switched on his phone and froze on the spot.

‘Honey, I have to work a bit longer. Sorry I’ll be late for our anniversary. Looking forward to seeing what you have cooked. See you in an hour! Love you!’

An ice-cold feeling crept up his spine. ”Scheiße”, he uttered in despair.  Without looking, he dropped down on a bench… Now what?

The big Surprise

Home, 18.55

Exactly one hour later, his wife, Katharia, came home. She removed her jacket, threw off her shoes and walked into the dining room. Hans couldn’t hide a satisfied grin when she let out a loud “wow”. “Would you be so kind as to dine with me?”, he asked with exaggeration in his voice. She nodded and admired the table. A basket with small pieces of bread stood next to a big whole grain bread, two slices already cut off. The smell of the fresh loaf stimulated her appetite and eagerly she looked at what else the table had to offer. Five different pieces of cheese, decorated with dates and nuts, and four sausages all in blue-white wrappings on one side. Two bowls of fruit on the other. In the middle were two bottles of freshly pressed juices. As a cherry on the pie, a flower arrangement and brand new candles adorned the table. 

From around his back, he presented a bottle of wine and poured out two glasses. “Thank you”, she beamed, “it looks amazing”. “With pleasure”, he said taking place at the table. He put up his glass. “To us”, he toasted. “And to the Viktualienmarkt”, he added in his thoughts.

About the spot

Viktualienmarkt is a very busy place. During the summer months all the way up until the Oktoberfest, when the number of tourists is at its peak, it can be an anthill of people. It nevertheless remains quite a pleasant place to go too. This is for two reasons: it is not just tourists. The market has a Bavarian vibe thanks to the many specialized food stands, the maibaum (maypole) and the Biergarten. That attracts both tourists and Munich residents. The second reason is the quality of the food. Make no mistake, the food is expensive, but with that many stands and that many kinds of food, you will always put together a very nice meal. It is that idea which brought us to writing this story.

Practical information

Viktualienmarkt is open on weekdays and on Saturday.

Viktualienmarkt 3, 80331 München, Duitsland

Background information

Part of the Viktualienmarkt used to be a hospice connected to the Heilig-Geist-Kirche. When in 1807 Marienplatz became too small for the daily market, King Maximilian I ordered for the hospice to be demolished and the city market to be moved to that new free area. Over the course of the 19th century, the market got enlarged in all directions (such as the St. Petershill with the St Peterskirche) to eventually reach the size it has now.

The new market was first called the Green Market but received the name Viktualienmarkt later on in the 19th century. Viktualien is derived from the Latin word victus (nutrition).

The small fountains and statues are all famous Bavarian folk singers and comedians from the 20th century.

Every year on the first of May, the people from Munich place the maibaum (maypole) and it remains there until the autumn. The tradition of placing a maibaum has been in use in Munich since the 16th century and is celebrated with many traditional uses such as dancing, drinking and eating traditional food. Each neighborhood places its own pole. Up until the moment it has been put on its spot, it can be stolen by another neighborhood.

The market is 22.000 m² and has over 140 stands.

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