Day 1: Folk and Opera Festivals, München and World Cup 2018

Munich turned out in flying colors for the launch of my World Trip 2018! I’m here for a month to study German, and then travel with hubby and friends at the end of the month before heading to Asia in August.

A quick subway ride two stops from where I am staying brought me to the city’s center. Nearby Marienhof provided locals and tourists with musical accompaniment for Germany’s national pride and specialties—beer and a donor kebab.

The main attraction was a Greek Cultural Day, featuring a dance group:

There was literally “Dancing in the Streets” among the crowds:

A more staid but dedicated group around the corner at Maximilianplatz in front of the National Theater waited patiently for the five-hour free, outdoor live screen production of Wagner’s last opera, Parsifal:

This opera, about the search for the Holy Grail,  featured top international opera stars Jonas Kaufmann as Parsifal, Nina Stemme (from recent NY Metopera Tristan and Isolde); Rene Pape (also from Wagnerian opera fame and many others); and Wolfgang Koch (from Bayreuth fame). You will be hearing more about these stars when I see my second Ring cycle later this month in Munich. This was a great introduction to the operatic skills of these artists in what was touted as the “Opera of the Century” for its blindingly glitzy star lineup.

News Flash: for those interested, you can see the full 5 hour opera live stream for 24 hours from 12:00 pm Monday 7/9 til 12:00 pm Tuesday 7/10 (Munich time, less 9 hours) at:

Despite my excitement in making it here for this major public event, my jet lag started to take effect by the early evening.  I returned home to slog through the rest of the opera by live stream.

At the airport earlier, the quarter final soccer game was televised at the United Lounge. Croatia won in a shootout after a nail-biter with Russia. A Bosnian woman and I became instant friends by watching together. She lived in New Mexico and was flying to meet her family in Frankfurt. I am officially a World Cup soccer fan now after binging this year on nearly every game that was aired on Fox TV.  Here’s one of the exciting moments when Croatia succeeded during one of their kicks:

Hopefully you have become World Cup soccer fans by now too. You only have to invest your time once very four years, so it’s a very efficient and effective form of addiction. Long-time friends Larry and Corene, who were visiting the Bay Area earlier this week, are also avid World Cup soccer fans. I was impressed that Larry could name all the star players and knew the back stories to the coaches in the various leagues.

A few screen shots capture the emotional roller coaster for fans and players, and the elation at the bitter end:

11 thoughts on “Day 1: Folk and Opera Festivals, München and World Cup 2018”

  1. Vive la France!!!! 🇫🇷. Now, is it England or Croatia in the final?

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. I’m not sure that posting on the day of arrival and hitting the intense activity in the streets was coherent but definitely elating!! I glutted myself on soccer before taking off and finished the long day with Wagner. A telling picture of my can’t get enough of it all mentality. Culture collapse from both ends!! Finally started a calming process of 4.5 hours in the afternoon at the Goethe to help pace me. Your fluency in this class would soar! My German is still clunky but it was fun to meet a new group of frisky students. They come from Estonia, Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, France, and Mexico. Only one lone ranger from Indiana. More on the class to come, but you get a personal preview for writing! Thanks for letting me know that you’re out there!! How’s the dining scene in Minnesota?


      1. Vickie, What a delightful surprize to receive a personal note from you!

        May I say you are going to have your work cut out for you to explain, in German no less, the regrettable state of our state to your fellow students from these very diverse countries. My guess is that the Saudi and Chinese students will display minimal engagement in any kind of political chatter, whereas the others may have some very pointed observations indeed.

        Two years ago Fred and I went to Tanya’s wedding in Belarus; afterwards finding ourselves in Tallinn, Estonia. I do have a spot in my heart for small countries; Estonia especially. As I’m sure you know Estonia has had a difficult relationship with Russia over the years, and following independence in 1992 (?) the relationship between the Estonians and the mostly imported Russians was not at all friendly . Since then things have mellowed somewhat, (my Estonia informant told me that The Russians show little interest in returning to Russia, and fully realize that the one BIG THING that being an Estonia Citizen allows then to travel in the EU.) Find out if the Estonians/russians are dating, marrying ,etc.

        I studies at the Goethe in Munich and found it to be super duper. I had a problem with withdrawing Euros and freaked out…the staff set me up straight away with a 250 euro loan until things got squared away. Are you staying at the Goethe Guesthaus? And Enjoy Munich in this beautiful Summer.

        Food in Northern Minnesota is mostly deep fried and always over- cooked. Friends have agreed that whatever it is, we can cook it better so there is a round of eating at each other’s home. Coming up the gang will have a Bastille Day dinner. Frogs on the menu?

        Tom Whiting


      2. I was in the middle of posting and saw your reply. I agree with the sticky situation, not at all like when we were in Schwabisch Hall . I will keep you posted on the Estonian state of affairs as I now am interested in gaining insight to what you mentioned. Stay in touch and we can continue this conversation. I didn’t know that you were in Munich–what year did you come? My German partner in San Francisco attended Munich a couple of years ago. I agree, the city and the center seem to be on the ball.


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