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Love and Freedom

Urbane, gemuetlich Munich. Germany's "Secret Capital". Voted the town most Germans would prefer to live in if only they could.   Thanks, not least of all, to the fabulous shopping. GrooveTravelers give you some insight into the city...

Munich's stores are so chock full of tempting surprises loaded with style and flair that even confirmed browsers turn into buyers! Fashions, of course, make the Bavarian capital a name known round the world. And for lovers of the outdoor life, her sports shops just can't be beaten.

Here's everything from skis and mountaineering gear to men's and women's sportswear, rustic or elegant. Nor will a more comprehen-sive collection of colorful Bavarian handicrafts, not to mention beer steins, be found anywhere in the world!

On a leisurely stroll through Munich you'll discover fabulously stocked department stores, trendy boutiques, quaint antique and curio shops - all offering a World Class range of goods on a par with those of London, Paris or Milan. And always at truly competitive prices. In many cases, travellers from abroad pay less for the same items here.

And the quality is the best... for example, Martin Margiela just opened his first flagship store in Germany, a posh affair attended by the who's who of Munich. His 270 square meter store located at Maximilianstrasse 34 (top) features both men's and women's collections and is sure to impresseven the most jaded fashionista.

But come,let's take a closer look! In the Kaufinger / Neuhauser Strasse pedestrian zone starting at the "Stachus" (the heart-of-town square officially known as Karlsplatz, with subterranean shopping center) we can first explore one big department store after another.

Along with huge apparel houses, tiny souvenir shops, jewelers and houseware emporiums are all priced for ordinary mortals with ordinary-sized pocketbooks.

All around Marienplatz with its popular Glockenspiel attraction are myriad shops of every description catering to Munchners and tourists from the four corners of the globe. With a choice selection of toys, records, books, music, jewelry, clothing and more. Here too are three of the city's leading sports shops.

Dallmayr (below), one of Europe's leading delicatessen and gourmet food shops, is found at Dienerstratsse 14-15, right behind the Rathaus (Town Hall). Strolling through the various departments is like visiting the land of milk and honey.

Dallmayr

Take a brief detour now to the Viktualienmarkt where flower ladies, fruit-and-vegetable dealers and cheese merchants hawk their tasty wares in a folksy Munich setting that never fails to enchant. Just a few blocks away is Sendlinger Strosse - which has developed into an attractive and less crowded shopping street crammed with boutiques, home furnishings stores, specialists in leatherwares, antiques, clocks and jewelry, as well as Asian goods.

Back across Marienplatz, we arrive at Theatinerstrasse with its upscale range of shops for the more affluent. In charming passages, arcades and inner courtyards are exquisite fashion boutiques, men's haber dashers, hat shops, jewelers, book shops, shoe salons and interior decorators.

The Theatinerboulevard, Munich's ultrachic shopping district, comprises the entire area around Peruso and Residenzstrasse, all the way to Briennerstrasse and Odeonsplatz.

Versace MunichLikewise very exclusive is Maximilianstrasse, offering a special selection of top-name couturiers: Yves St. Laurent, Guy Laroche, Yap, Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, just to name but a few. No wonder you'll rub elbows with so many international celebrities here! Leading off the Stachus is Schotzenstrasse, Munich's newest pedestrian zone.

A big department store plays the leading role here, supported by several sundry surrounding shops. Sonnenstrasse, another Stachus offshoot, features outlets specializing in toys, weapons, bedding, ladies' wear, porcelain, jeans, musical instruments and records.

Antiques? Try the area around Lenbachplatz and the Residenz. Or Ottostrasse, near the Stachus. Luring visitors to Bohemian Schwabing are Leopoldstrosse / Hohenzollernstrasse, where artists, students and street people sell often unique and oddball goods at little stands till late at night.

Here too are charming shops specializing in the latest "with-it" fashions and shoes while their nextdoor neighbors traffic in old books, records and antiques. All enhanced with a generous sprinkling of lively sidewalk cafés, restaurants, discotheques, pubs and pizza parlors. Try Türkenstrasse for a motley medley of this'n' that.

The latest shopping complex, the Platzlgassen, debuted in October 1988, although the opening announcements pointed out that the buildings along these narrow streets - which include the Hofbrduhaus - were originally built in 1463. The goal was to limit access to the more exclusive boutiques and other specialty shops.


Shopping hours in Munich are generally 9a.m. to 8p.m. Saturdays, 9a.m. to 4p.m., with stores traditionally closed on Sundays. Special bargain seasons to checkout include the Summer clearance sales in July/August and the post Christmas Winter clearance sale in January, but regardless of the time of year, Munich is always a great place to go shopping!

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