Central Europe – Day 1 – Fizzy water & kababs

We walk out of the train station and into the heat of the day. I pull up a map on my phone and look around for landmarks to orient myself.

Which way is north?

I’m thirsty but the water I bought in the station is undrinkable. “Mit Kohlensäure” is not the same as “Ohne Kohlensäure”, but my sleepy, post-flight German is weak – not that my non-sleepy German is much better.

Fizzy water should be criminal.

The hotel is not far. We pass kebab stands and strip clubs on the way – this area of Munich seems to be the left-overs of multiple cultures. Left onto Schwanthaler Straße, then two blocks down. Hotel Wallis.

“Hallo.”

“Guten tag.”

The room key is attached to a 1 kilo weight. I guess they don’t want me to lose it.

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There is no air-conditioning in the room. It’s Europe in the summer. I expected this. It’s hot. It’s OK. I drop our bags and lay down on the bed to sweat in the breeze of a $10 fan.

We’re both hungry, but not for kababs, so I shamble downstairs to the Mcdonald’s next to the hotel. The cashier speaks softly in German with a Ukrainian accent, then in broken English with a Ukrainian accent. It’s more that I can’t hear her than can’t understand her. With some pointing and visual guides we stumble through my order.

Back in the room I empty the bag. There’s a packet of BBQ powder and another empty bag covered in directions. Apparently shaking your fries in BBQ powder is a thing.

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We nap on and off as afternoon turns into evening but force ourselves to stay awake until it is fully dark to fight jet lag. The city lights flicker on outside our hotel window and the apartment dwellers across from us lean out their windows to catch what they can of the weak twilight breeze.

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The city concrete holds onto the day’s heat long into the night, but eventually exhaustion overcomes discomfort.

Our alarms are set. We have a train to catch in the morning.