Meeting People in a New City: The IFM Stammtisch

Meeting People in a New City: The IFM Stammtisch

By  Thursday, 8.1.2015, 11:11    Moving to Munich

A city of 1.5 million people. Just how do you go about starting to make friends and contacts?

There seem to be a few online outlets to get to know people, but one of the most appealing to meet people in a group was the weekly IFM get together at some bar called Flex near Goetheplatz. I ad contacted the Facebook page administrator, who confirmed the Wednesday meet would start at 19:00 and that usually about 20 people turned up. Perfect.

I guess I was expecting a more traditional German Kneipe, so it was a surprise to be led into a graffiti-strewn basement from the entrance door on the street to a large open bar. With three people in it. I liked it immediately.

The waiter was friendly, and the Weissbier prices (3.40, going down to happy hour at 2.50) and I checked before ordering that I was in the right place. Indeed I was, and the table of three, who made me very welcome quickly became one of 15, then perhaps 30 in all. There were regular friends and long-lost ones, and I think I was the only fresh face, but it did not take long to feel more than welcome.

I particularly enjoyed meeting an interesting Serbian guy who had been to my adopted hometown on my Croatian island as a kid, and who came up with some great suggestions to help me discover some lesser known places in the neighbourhood. Did I know, for example, that the best pizza in the area is made by Moldovans, the best ice cream by Persians, and some of the best food in an Uyghur restaurant run by people from the Turkish-Chinese ethnic group? We will lunch there tomorrow. 

One of the first impressions I had was how clever people were. An international scene where many have been attracted to the city by work opportunities. Programmers, researchers and engineers. A lovely Indian told me his story of swapping the sun of southern India for the cold of Munich. In addition to his excellent German, he speaks three more languages, using a different one to speak to his mother, father and sister. 

I wa surprised also at how many Germans there were, and it was fun to hear the teasing between the locals and those coming in from other parts of Germany for the work. 

"If you want to discover real ethnic minorities in Munich, come and meet this couple," ventured my new Serbian friend. I did as I was told, trying to figure out their nationality, for they looked German. 

"Natives of Munich! They are an ethnic group under threat. I read somewhere that bout 35,000 local a year leave the city due to the high prices - they simply can't afford it any more."

The theme of how expensive Munich is was a recurring theme in many conversations, particularly with regard to accommodation. One guy living in Schwabing talked of the lack of students there these days, as more and more rich people move in, and the students are moving further out. The increasing prices are putting a strain issues such as hospital staff, for example, as nurses cannot afford to live in the vicinity of their places of work. 

A really enjoyable evening with a good introcuction to a wide section of life in Munich, and it was nice as I left for a couple of people to check if I had enjoyed myself, and that they hoped to see me next week. 

I did. And they will. 


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Paul Bradbury

After 12 years living on the most gorgeous island in the world, Hvar in Dalmatia, I have begun to wonder if there is still life beyond its shores. Prior to discovering Paradise in 2002, I was a world traveller, living and working in Japan, Georgia, Somalia, Rwanda, Russia... and Munich.

After 95 countries and some 25 years have passed, the memories of my year in the hotel industry in the Bavarian capital (fired by the Sheraton for losing our pet snake, the first male chambermaid at Hotel Arabella, and a truly eye-watering introduction to five-star living in  my days as a bellboy in luxury Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten) are strong, and the call of Munich has been a constant theme over the last quarter century. 

And so here I am, answering the call some 25 years later. Twelve years of island living have changed me for sure, but also left me curious about life in a big city, and whether or not I could adapt to it after such an insular decade. 

I was surprised to see that for such a magnificent multi-cultural city, English-language blogs and regularly updated information are not that available. Static tourism information, such as that provided by the excellent tourist board website yes, but accounts of daily life delivered daily? Hard to find.

And so I have decided to take a break from my idyllic island and see if I could live in a city again. And what better way to try than to discover modern Munich in all its facets after so many years. It is a journey of discovery which I am relishing, and I hope the site proves to be of interest for Munich residents and its numerous visitors.

About Paul Bradbury

Author of Lebanese Nuns Don't Ski, Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes and Hvar's first comprehensive guidebook, Hvar: An Insider's Guide to Croatia's Premier Island, as well as co-author of Split: An Insider's Guide with Mila Hvilshoj, I have lived in Dalmatia full time since 2003. In addition to running Total Munich, I also run Total Split (, Total Hvar ( and Total Inland Dalmatia (, as well as being an accredited Google News journalist for Digital Journal in Canada.

I also have various blogging clients, including the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, European Coastal Airlines, Touristar TV and Andro Tomic Wines, and print clients include Qatar Airways inflight magazine, Out! magazine from New York, and Croatian Hotspots. 

In December 2014 I was delighted to receive the Marko Polo 2014 Award from FIJET Croatia (Federation of International Travel Writers and Journalists)  at a ceremony for the Croatian Journalists Society for the best international tourism promotion of Croatia. More here.

Ongoing writing projects:

A History of Hajduk Split, co-author with Frane Grgurevic - in 2015

Around the World in 80 Disasters - out in 2015

Total Hvar in the Media:

Interview of the Month, Croatian Embassy in Washington (May 2013)

Special Feature in Globus Magazine (May 2013)

Featured on Croatian TV show, More (2012) - watch the report here

Interviews in Slobodna Dalmacija, Dalmacijanews, Radio Split

I am available for writing services. Please contact me on [email protected] or visit my main writing website, 

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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