Great weather accompanied Munich Greeters and guests last weekend, when Monica took us on a public walk through the neighbourhood her father grew up: the Au.
The nowadays popular residential area has not always been that beloved: Close to the Isar and with some other smaller rivers around, it used to have frequent problems with inundations – like the one in 1813. About 100 people died when a bridge over the Isar collapsed because it could not resist the water pressure. Nowadays there’s no need to be afraid when crossing the Ludwigsbrücke, because the river has been domesticated.
But not only because of inundations was the Au considered infamous: Here was the place to settle down for people who could not get the citizenship in Munich. This was an advantage for e.g. tanneries, paper mills or lumber mills and later for the fabrics (e.g. paper, tobacco) on this side of the river, who had no problems in finding cheap workforce. But it also brought along social problems and crimes. The old orphanage (where children had to work or beg to make ends meet) and the former prison (which according to current plans shall be converted in a student hall of residence) still talk of it – other than the bar ex-prisoners were allowed to drink in for free, which luckily has been closed down.
Unfortunately most of the small hostel buildings which have been typical for this former worker’s suburb also do not exist any more. Some nice exemplars still can be found around the Herrgottseck. Here you can easily forget that you are close to the centre of a town with over a million inhabitants. This feeling gets even stronger when strolling along the river Mühlbach, were the murmur of the river is by far the loudest noise to be heard – even though there are apartments around.
To get back to civilization, why not end the day in a nice beer garden – for example in the “Kleine Schmausefalle”? With one or two drinks it will also be easier to make plans for your participation in the next soap box derby at the Gebsattelberg just in front. This race takes place every year during the Auer “Jakobi” Dult, a fair with eating, drinking and shopping opportunities for the grown-ups and amusement rides for kids. You should not miss it when you are around!