Saturday, December 29, 2007

Munchen on a Sunday Morning

I landed in Munich last night, completely but expectedly disoriented. The flights went well, and I was doing alright until a few brief hellacious hours at London´s third-world Heathrow Airport. It knocked the winds out of my sails, and the final leg from London to Munich was a bit of a daze. My original hotel had some water damage, so instead of checking me in they arranged for a room at a higher-class hotel down the road, and handed me enough cash to make up the difference in cost.

That was totally unexpected - especially from a budget hotel sandwiched between Man´s World and Tiffany´s Lap Dance Palace - and kind of puts Waikiki hotel´s to shame. We have so much to learn.

I left my house at 5am Friday morning, and arrived at 5pm Saturday night. Thirty six hours by the clock, though my body only went through 24 hours - and I´m applying this to a new theory on how to beat jet lag, my own little special theory of traveler´s relativity. I won´t think: oh, I´m x hours ahead of home and how will I ever adjust? Instead I´ll tell myself that there is no time difference, and that I merely traveled forward through time at a faster rate than the kids back home. I did one and a half hours for every hour they did, and that´s that.

It might have worked. I was sick and beat when I arrived, but a nap, shower, wander through town, and sauna was all it took. By midnight I was feeling fine - demonstrated by a sudden and ravenous craving from bratwurst. It might have been the statues of pigs all over that triggered it. I first thought it might be a Christmas thing - a Yule hog to go along with the tannenbaum and lights; now I´m thinking it must be some deeper pan-seasonal symbol of Bavaria.

The town itself is beautiful. I arrived with a google map and a rough idea of where the train station, hotel, and sauna were. I planned on winging the rest. I wandered in a good-seeming direction, and stumbled on the Marienplatz. It was bounded by a huge gothic cathedral with a huge Christmas tree out front, and it looked like some child´s fantasy of what the holiday should look like.

I tried to use the castle´s spires as a landmark to navigate home, but I didn´t realize that it was just one of who knows how many castles and cathedrals in a small area. I didn´t get lost, amazingly, but did take a bit of a detour trying to find the route back to my bed.

This morning I´m immobile again, but for a different reason - German breakfasts. The hotel spread was stunning - fourteen kinds of meats and sausage (I counted), fourteen kinds of cheese (ditto), a dozen kinds of bread, two kinds of smoked salmon, a yogurt bar, a muesli bar, strong bitter coffee, espresso, fresh squeezed juice, an assortment of pickles, eggs, potatoes .... frakkin´heaven on a cold rainy morning. Next time someone tries to pass off a croissant and nescafe as a ´Continental Breakfast' they´ll be getting an earful from me. I could´ve spent all day there, but after trying to sample all the meats and cheeses I hit a wall, and would´ve had to purge to continue on.

Twenty more minutes and I leave for the airport to fly to Cairo; then the real adventure begins.

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