The D&O Diary is on assignment in Europe this week, with the first stop in the southern German city of Munich, to attend Munich Re’s Global Casualty Claims Conference. This trip represented my first ever visit to Europe during the summer months. My prior visits have all taken place during other months of the year. Here’s what I discovered about visiting Europe in July; it is a lot more comfortable walking a city in the summer warmth than in colder months, and, even more importantly, a summer visit allows for very late evenings sitting at outdoor cafes and beer gardens in the warm and comfortable twilight that does not turn to darkness until well past 10:00 pm.
In prior visits to the city, I did not really have the opportunity to explore Munich’s rich and interesting history. This visit included an entertaining tour of the city’s historical center district, along with the other conference attendees. The city’s historical architecture, which was so heavily damaged during World War II, has been colorfully restored, as reflected in the pictures at the end of this post. The vivid restorations, the crowds of tourists, and the carnival atmosphere that prevailed in the summer warmth do provide something of an amusement park feel, but the sights are sufficiently picturesque that the overall impression is very positive. (The pictureto the right in this paragraph was taken in the garden of the Residenz München, the seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors, and kings from 1508 to 1918.)
Our first evening in Munich, our host, Munich Re’s Helga Munger, and her husband Simon, took us to what is universally acknowledged as the city’s best beer garden, the Waldwirtschaft, on a leafy hilltop outside the city, overlooking the River Isar. The venue’s many charms included a live Jazz band. Prior to our arrival in Munich, the city had been enduring sweltering heat, with daytime temperatures in the upper 90s, but the weather broke on the morning of our arrival, and so our evening sojourn to the suburban beer garden was actually a little bit on the cool side. In the accompanying pictures, Simon is seated next to me, with Helga and Bill Clarke of Beazley seated opposite.
One of Munich’s features that I particular like is that fact that the city incorporates so much green space. The city’s green heart is the Englischer Garten (English Garden, so named because it follows the English horticultural tradition of allowing nature to shape the garden, by contrast to the highly sculpted French and Italian style), a 910-acre park that runs north to south between the city center and the Isar. The Eisbach, a swiftly running man-made stream, runs through the park’s center. On a warm summer afternoon, a crowd of young people lined both sides of the stream, sunning themselves or swimming in the stream’s waters (as shown in the first picture below). Somewhat startlingly, not all of the sunbathers were fully (or in some cases even slightly) clothed. Perhaps even more disturbingly, some of the goods on display were, shall we say, definitely past their sell-by date.
At the center of the park is a large beer garden surrounding the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower), pictured below. On Friday evening, a festive crowd filled the beer garden’s nearly 7,000 seats, under the dappled sunlight in the shade of numerous tall Chestnut trees and listening to the oompa band, as pictured at the top of post. Afterwards we made our way into the center city for a traditional meal of Würstchen, Kartoffeln, und Sauerkraut.
Although we appreciated the opportunity to enjoy Munich’s many charms in the comfortable July warmth, the primary reason for our visit to the city was for me to participate in the global casualty claims conference at Munich Re. The company’s beautiful headquarters building (pictured left) sits on Königinstraße, just opposite the main entrance to the English Garden. The well-preserved building is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. On Thursday morning, I made a presentation to an internal gathering of several professionals from Munich Re (as depicted in the first picture below). On Friday morning, I participated in a panel at the claims conference itself. The second and third pictures below show the meetings’ attendees. The final picture below shows the panel, with me; Patrick Hill of the DAC Beachcroft law firm; Bill Clarke of Beazley; and Helga Munger.
I would like to thank Helga and Munich Re for inviting me to Munich and to participate in the excellent and successful claims conference. I look forward to the opportunity to visit Munich again soon.
More pictures of Munich:
Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall):
Bayerische Staatskanzlei (Bavarian State Chancellery):
Righty-ho, Mein Herr: