When I think about what’s important to me at Christmas time, words like friendship, tradition, memories, winter, food, drink, gifts and laughter come to mind. I can experience all of these in one wonderful city on the grid. The Bavarian city of München calls itself “die Stadtcommunity”, and it truly is a city-community. It is one of the friendliest places I have ever found in Second Life. You may be more familiar with the city if I call it Munich. I was introduced to this re-creation of the city by a Bavarian friend back in 2007. At the time, he was a university student who regularly commuted to Munich from the countryside and thus knew the city very well.
From the Neues Rathas (town hall) to the nearby Fischbrunnen (Fish Fountain), to the subway and light rail systems, to the historic gateways leading into the city… the two sims of Muenchen and Munich City truly bring this amazing city to life. Touring the city with my Bavarian friend inspired and prompted him to tell me many stories about his real adventures in real-life Munich.
Just after cleaning up the debris of Oktoberfest, preparations begin for what has become a Christmas tradition in both worlds. Rows of little vendor booths are set up to form the traditional Marienplatz Christmas market. There’s also a carousel, food tents and plenty of free gluehwein. As Christmas, 2007 came near, my Bavarian friend became quite eager to take me to Munich in Second Life for the “Bierzelt im Marienhof”.
I experienced the Christmas Market properly… well, as properly as one could with a Bavarian country boy running loose in the big city! By the end of our evening, I had sipped quite a lot of gluehwein (in both realities), I had a friendship bear tucked under one arm, a giant pretzel in hand, a huge gingerbread heart on a ribbon around my neck which proclaimed via frosted letters some romantic endearment (I never did get it translated, he simply laughed every time I asked!) and a shopping bag containing leiderhosen and who knows what else.
Though my friend has since left Second Life, I still feel as if he’s with me in spirit as I make my annual pilgrimage to the Marienplatz Christmas Market. This is my 4th year, and I will continue to enjoy my annual traditions in Munich as long as the sims endure.