It’s a freezing midwinter night when our bus pulls into Munich. Some people poke their heads eagerly out of the window, waiting for the first glimpse of the city. Most people sink lower in their seats, pull blankets up to their chins and start asking around for Compral. (Life tip: if you ever spend a night out in Prague, make sure that the next day or three can be spent in a predominantly horizontal position.)
We are eventually cattle-prodded to our senses and spill out of the bus in very bad grace. The complaining doesn’t last long. One by one, we fall silent, hangovers forgotten, mouths open like guppies.
Munich is dazzling
Like many of its European siblings, the city centre is beautifully built. The stunning architecture isn’t too big a surprise, but its 9 o’clock on a winter’s night and Munich should be buried in the darkness.
Instead, the city is illuminated like a piece of art. Every façade and mantle is lit, every light positioned perfectly and discreetly. In some places the colour gives a gentle glow, in others it’s a riot of cheerful, celebratory colour.
Architectural lighting in Europe
Architectural lighting is something you’ll see throughout Europe. It’s like walking through a living sculpture gallery, like my favourite wing of the Louvre. The cities cheer up after dark, becoming bright and youthful.
Germany is my favourite example – they don’t seem to discriminate between a shopfront and a heritage site, and entire sidewalks and squares spring to life. But you’ll see it again in Prague, Paris, London, Rome.
From the Arc de Triomf, to Westminster Abbey, they all seem to say “there’s no point being beautiful if nobody can see me.”
Which is fair enough.