Friday, February 03, 2012

Urbanist thoughts

As I write I am listening the 'The Urbanist' from Monocle24 and reflecting on how very much my life in Munich is concentrated on the village... the Schwabing district... in which I live. To be sure, I take the short trip into the city centre a couple of times a week but that is about all.

Last week I had to go the the studio of a new translation/voiceover client, the television production arm of the vast Munich convention, exhibition and trade fair complex. Now I did not have the advantage of GPS coordinates but when I arrived I had the funny feeling of standing bang in the middle of an airport runway. For the last time I was at this precise geographical location... over twenty years ago... the entire terrain was the Munich-Riem Airport.

After the end of the war, Munich-Riem was the first airport in Germany to be used for civil aviation. Post-war operations started on 6 April 1948 with the landing of a DC-3 operated by Pan American World Airways. Flight operations ended in 1992, when the new Munich Franz Josef Strauss Airport opened.

So there I was in the recording studio, recalling that the last time I was at Riem was when we sent our daughter... then aged two... off on holiday with friends of ours who had a super villa in Mallorca.

And it was moving, too, because the air traffic into an out of Munich-Riem... with the Alps further away... was visible on the not-too-distant horizon from our twelfth floor apartment. So often did I stand with my daughter in my arms at the window watching the planes that it was unsurprising that almost her first word was recognizable as 'Flugzeug'!

Now my family years in Munich saw us living in a different village, Arabella Park. And there we had our favourite local restaurant. For some reason... possibly with the Riem experience as the impetus... there was a decision to re-visit this restaurant yesterday evening. I would not have thought that it had been so long since I last dined at La Cambusa. But it had clearly been long enough to allow for the building of a brand new tram route which passed where we had once lived and then turned to pass the restaurant.

And I thought it was only in the Sandlands that the urban landscape changes so radically whenever one's back is turned. 

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