Jul 24, 2015

the new Payson

Saori and I have this long running ironic joke about Payson, Arizona as one of the premier cities of the world. When strolling through Paris or Venice, one of us will turn to the other and ask, "yes, but is it Payson?"

(Payson, indubiably, is a pleasant and lovely little town but it is definitely the farthest thing from cosmopolitain this side of Ponca City).

Mmmngn could be the new Payson. I came to Mmmngn for a work assignment lasting a few hours. It's off the main high speed train routes, nestled in the hilly plains in southwestern Bavaria, really within the Allgäu region, where one may wait many hours to see Neuschwanstein castle.

Anyway, it's another one of those scheisse adorable little Bavarian towns which was lucky enough to keep its medieval old center from being destroyed in WWII. These city centers are so much the same at first glance- expensive restaurants in renovated patrician urban palaces and green courtyards. The marketplace square with way too many cheap cafes, a grand city hall, and a produce market most days. Every sixth store a failing family business. Every seventh store, a pharmacy. A small mid-calf-deep canal, with wooden footbridges and adjacent seating for the vine covered cafe or restaurant. Old, leaning, and meticulously maintained half-timbered buildings containing high end boutiques. Two to three massive multistory department stores shoehorned in to the cobblestoned medieval urban fabric. The three to four dozen kebab and pizza shops dotted through like cancerous freckles, and a few gambling halls, strip clubs, and sex shops at the crumbling edges where you can still find some existing segments of the ancient city wall.

So: interesting at least, often photogenic, and lively. A good stage at least for the local festivals so they can at least differentiate thier sleepy hamlet from the next one down the country road.

Speaking of festivals, I happen to miss Mmmngn's biggest festival by ONE DAY. The fisherman's day festival is a historic and surprisingly old tradition distinguished by all the manly Mmmngners (or having lived there for 10 years) jumping into the tiny, muddy city creek and attempting to catch fish. Trophies can then be brought to the market square for weighing and prizes.

Anyway, I had a train to catch so I took the site photos for which I had been sent and explored the old town. I ended up buying a sueded deer leather vest for 20 euros, marked down well over a hundred euros, from a small traditional clothing shop going out of business. Lederhosen was still too expensive to pull the trigger on something you wear twice a year. I also discovered my favorite microbrewery from Ulm had a Mmmngn branch so I happily lunched there and brought home two glass liter bottles of blonde.

Changed trains to the ICE in Ulm and was back at the office a little before 3. The rest of the day flew by, and now I am sitting on my terrace, enjoying a beer and a nice breeze. Happy it's the weekend.

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