Munich with a map


Moosach to Lehel [U Bahn]

The guidebooks may not say this, but if you are not a city dweller, the metro should be on your list of things to do while visiting a city. To do the metro is to feel the city’s pulse, it is to see in one place denizens of many neighbourhoods, it is to sense the city’s infrastructure, its wealth, its security. The underground is a reliable guide to the city above (even the weather can be gleaned from what people wear and carry), and the metro is a good place to begin a city tour. This is what I did last Friday, on my way from the hotel, in the outskirts of Munich, to the Indian consulate near the city centre.

Munich metro took me by surprise. The stations wore a spotless, classy, modern, colourful look untypical of underground stops. People were dressed formally: men in woollen coats with quilted sleeves, designer scarves, and shoes so shiny you could comb your hair looking at them; women in cable-knit cardigans, branded leather handbags, high heel boots. They were all whites, they were all on their way to work or to school (where else would you go at 8 am on a Friday morning?), but they seemed dressed for a concert, or a dinner party. The carriages were not crowded (everyone had seats), and all the getting off and getting on was done with no fuss at all, as though they were quietly stepping into a dining room for supper. This was no metro: it was a luxury carriage service for rich Münchners.

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It was past 9 p.m. when we reached Langwies. Sarah, our host at the B&B, had asked us to come in late, so we spent a couple of hours at Chur, a small city not far from Langwies. It was the Monday after Easter Sunday, and the streets in Chur wore an empty look. At the railway station, the lady at the tourist information desk handed me a city map and suggested a walk through the altstadt.

Continue reading “Chur”

What happened on Saturday

On this particular Saturday, the 25th of July 2009, I woke up from the right side of the bed, as usual. (This may seem like an irrelevant detail, but it tells you how things all began normally: there were no signs of what was to come later that day.) The light through the half-shuttered window suggested a sunny day ahead – perfect, I thought, for spending the afternoon outside. After a late breakfast I drove to Heidelberg, taking the B291. There was nothing unusual about the drive; traffic was moderate, there were cyclists on the road, and Radio Regenbogen played its usual mix of popular numbers. Now that I think again about it, perhaps there was something different: I do not remember stopping on the way, so all traffic lights must have been green. Merely a low probability event, you may say; nonetheless, given how events played out in the end, there may be something to this after all. Continue reading “What happened on Saturday”