Oddly Enough

Munich's Italian name diverts tourists from Monaco

Munich's skyline is seen during dusk October 15, 2006. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

BERLIN (Reuters) - Two women led themselves on a wild goose chase from Italy to Munich after arranging to meet their niece in Monaco -- which in Italian can mean either the tiny principality on the French Riviera, or Bavaria’s capital.

“The problem was they thought Munich was Monaco,” said a spokesman for Munich police on Wednesday.

Called Monaco di Baviera in Italian, the city is known as Muenchen in High German, Mnichov in Czech, Monachium in Polish and Minga in the local Bavarian dialect.

The two women, originally from the Dominican Republic, had driven across the Alps from Trento in northern Italy to collect the 14-year-old from the Paris-Munich train, but started to panic and went to the police when the girl failed to appear.

As the two spoke only Italian and Spanish, and because the niece had no mobile phone, it took police 1 1/2 hours to establish that she had actually gone to the Mediterranean.

Afterwards, the women got back in their car and set off on the 840 km (523 mile) journey to Monaco, the spokesman said.

Reporting by Dave Graham