Return to Munich: A Lesson in Travel
Authored by Jeremy Sutton
When I was in college I spent a year in Munich on a student exchange. I had a good time. It was historically significant because it was when the Berlin Wall came down. The world shared a sense of excitement and worry as the the Iron Curtain opened up to the west. As an adult, I decided I wanted to return to the place where I spent such a significant period of my youth.
I realized that I would not be returning to the exact same place, in that the city and country have changed and modernized just like the rest of the world. What would I see that has changed? The Bavarians are notorious for resisting change, but technology has affected the whole world and certainly the ultra-tech savvy Germans.
This trip was also going to require different planning than in my youth. As a 20 year old, I had little in terms of possessions and I had the luxury of being able to store them with family. Now, I need a dog and house sitter.
“This trip was also going to require different planning than in my youth
Being gone means that I have to consider my obligations. I didn’t want to simply drop of my dog at a friends and leave my home empty while I’m gone.
He told me you needed make a plan for storing all of your belongings because his were ruined when he chose a non-climate controlled storage unit. To him, this meant it was worth it to make sure that nothing happened in my house without vigilant supervision.
If a pipe breaks it can be a small issue or it can completely devastate a home. If no one is there, a broken pipe can run water throughout your home, ruining the house and everything in it if it isn’t stopped and dried. But if I had a house sitter, the situation could be dealt with in a timely fashion. His point was very convincing. I combined forces and paid for a house and pet sitter.
I also did homework on my destination. Even though I had been to Germany and specifically Munich before, I knew it must have changed and I wanted to maximize my trip. I read about the fun things to do in Munich, some were new and some I had experienced. I brushed up on the subway maps and whether or not I should use Uber or taxis.
Photo CC by Jit Bag
Conduct Fresh Research
I spent a lot of time researching a trip to a place where I had already spent a year. What could go wrong, right? One thing that slipped my mind was that I was younger, I drank more and I was better conditioned for partying. On my first night in Munich, I went to a local pub to unwind from the travel and enjoy a beer.
One beer turned into three. No big deal, right? Wrong. I passed out on the table and the server had to wake me up and help me out of the place. Somehow I woke up in my hotel room, but with only a blurry memory of leaving the pub.
I was on vacation, so I felt the need to maximize my days. But, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was hungover like I had never been. I couldn’t get out of bed. I needed aspirin and water and breakfast, but I could hardly roll over. Pain pierced my temples and I was nauseous. I threw up in the wastebasket that was in my room.
Revitalize Your Trip
After I became clear that I wasn’t going to feel much better and I needed food and water I finally pulled myself out of bed and went to the store, got aspirin and carbonated water. I was hungry. Obviously I would go and get some bratwurst, schnitzel or some other German delicacy, right?
Nope. I was so hungover, I found a Pizza Hut, ordered a combination pan pizza with jalapenos and a large Coke. I took my cache of food and beverage back to my room, ate and drank in shame and wasted a whole day.
The next day I probably set a record for cramming the most tourism into one day. I returned to locations that were important to me and I took in new and renovated sites. I ate, not merely German food, but Bavarian food.
I became orthodox in my experience and tried to erase my embarrassment for eating Pizza Hut in my room from my mind. I ended up having a great trip even though it got off to slow start. When I returned home, everything was in place, the dog seemed well fed and walked. The only real issue happened by creating self-inflicted wounds. Chalk that up to new travel wisdom.
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