Archive for August, 2012

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. (Henry David Thoreau)

My husband and I haven’t been in Munich longer than a day. Six hours of night dissolved in flight, and I suspect some awareness disappeared too; we walk what we think is a straight path from the hotel. The map is in our room. This proves to be an unfortunate error.

“Look. We’ve got to get a picture of that bakery.” The name captures my attention since I wore it for twenty-five years of my life. In German Ziegler means tile mason. But I suspect that the goodies inside the shop have considerably better taste than construction material. Germany is known for its breads: rye, croissants, pastries, cakes, all baked as works of art. This is good since tasting all of them could be too much for the stomach.

It doesn’t take long for one side trip to lead to another. I trust my husband’s sense of direction. Mine doesn’t exist. This can be documented, but those moments don’t deserve space here. We revel in the old parts of town, genuinely old. Earlier our tour guide pointed out the town hall. When someone asked about its age she laughed. “Oh, that’s the new one. It is was built in 1874. There, across the way, is the old one, constructed in 1480.”

I know we will see areas reconstructed after World War II, but some places have survived—for centuries. Survival, it has its cost.

I find a sign that leads to the Hofbräuhaus one of the sights Jay is especially interested in. He checks out the hall. I am more interested in the painted mime who stands statue still, then grabs unsuspecting people as they pass by. This is no ancient black statue; he couldn’t be more than thirty years old.

Then comes the moment of truth: finding the way back. Many of the local people speak English. However, directions don’t always agree—with one exception: “Oh, you should take a taxi or public transit.” Apparently we strayed farther than we thought.

I would like to say I approach the situation calmly and listen. I don’t. Fear gets in the way and makes the logical sound processed inside a blender. Jay gets us back to the hotel, and I am grateful, most grateful for his lead through the centuries into the present time.

Guess I should be glad we’re healthy enough to walk an unknown distance, then do it again the next day. This time with a map!

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