Nom de Plumage

February 24, 2013

Munich – I Am Going Home

Filed under: Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 12:55 pm
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Let me rewind the clock by some years and start my story in a city and time that, to this day, holds very special memories.

In 1999, I was both living and working in Munich in the Bayerischer Hof Hotel. It was a strange and yet exhilarating time, where I was living on my own, in a foreign country and missed my family and Australia so much. In those days, being young and emotionally immature, I was very homesick and very alone. I did have friends and my brother (who was also in Europe), but they had their own lives. The city would become my friend and on the days when I was not working, I would walk and discover many wonderful places. It would become my favourite past-time and it would keep the longing for home at bay. It was a time of discovery, an appreciation for the culture and a love for the people. Fast forward to the present and my solo travel through Europe, never was it a possibility that I should not revisit a city that was once home.

I left Prague early on an empty stomach. The hostel would not provide breakfast for another hour and I need to be at the station early. I knew that the train station was not so far away from the hostel and therefore decided to walk. Upon reflection, I cannot believe I did not use common sense. The snow was so thick, which made walking very slippery and at times there is no walk-way for pedestrians. I did not take this into account and struggled and wasted time finding a clear path. Finally the station came into sight and I had to walk across a major road (at peak-hour), made more perilous with the extra weight on my back. I had to take the chance and cross the road. It almost cost me my life. The cars were beeping their horns (and no doubt swearing) at the stupid tourist and I did not feel great either at my stupidity. Sorry to all the driver’s.

Time is now against me and so is the weather. I had hoped to buy some breakfast before my train departs, but then that quickly changed  when all trains are thrown into chaos due to the weather. My eyes had to stay glued to the departure board to see where and when my train departs. I could not buy anything. I then hoped that I would be able to buy food (at a marked-up price of course) on board the train.  Finally when my train’s platform number came up, it is a fast walk to the far end of the station (of course) before the train departs in ten minutes. I just make it. The train is old and it soon became apparent that no refreshments will be available at all. I share a compartment with a middle-aged couple who unbeknownst to them, tortured me when they brought forth a bag filled with home-made lunch and a flask of hot coffee. It will be a long journey.

And it was. The unprecedented amount of snow caused major problems for the crew that worked on the train. At each major stop, our departure is delayed whilst the crew remove ice that has built up over the brakes and under the train. The situation is entirely out of anyone’s control and for safety reasons, these precautions need to be undertaken. It just meant that the journey would be that much longer and my hunger more prevalent.

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Late, tired and hungry, the train pulls slowly into Munich’s train station and I am greeted with a familiar sign – Grundig. And that is where the familiarity ends, for what is before me, is a massive and very much changed station that is now not so familiar. I know that change must occur and time stands still for no-one, but this is ridiculous! Lost, I walk and hope to find some things that can trigger some sense of direction. The changes are great and although I am confused at first, I find my direction and start to enjoy the moment and feeling of being back into a place once so familiar. I need to get to my hostel and more importantly, get something to eat.

But it was not going to be that easy. The first u-bahn I get on, terminates next stop. I get off, get on another and quickly realise I am going in the wrong direction. Last attempt and I finally arrive at my destination, which is in a nice suburb. I check-in, unload my belongings and go in search of dinner. Tomorrow can not come soon enough.

 

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