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In the relaxed and sunnier southern part of Germany, Munich (München) is the proud capital of the state of Bavaria. Even Germans come here to vacation, mixing the city's pleasures with the nearby natural surroundings—on clear days, from downtown the Alps appear to be much closer than around 40 mi away. The city bills itself "Die Weltstadt mit Herz" ("the cosmopolitan city with heart"), but in rare bouts of self-deprecatory humor, friendly Bavarians will remind you that it isn't much more than a country town with a million people. Münchners will also tell visitors that the city is special because of its Gemütlichkeit—loosely translated as "conviviality." This can be overdone, but with open-air markets, numerous parks, the lovely Isar River, and loads of beer halls, Munich has a certain charm that few cities can match.
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