Embers

Day 10 - Munich

So many people have become just portraits hung only with cobwebs in the attic of my memories. Passing acquaintances and fleeting passions created by chance intersection of different paths criss-crossing the world. And so I thought it was with her. I hadn't seen the girl since those last days of Margaret River, part of the sturm und drang that fires the memory of it. There is a delight in the dramatic recall but memory is just our internal storytelling function, malleable to the narrative that we want to hear. Is all history oral and shaped by Chinese whispers? Maybe this blog will act as my corrective to that, once stripped of the requisite flourish. Even now those events seem improbable, like EastEnders in Oz. After a hasty goodbye shielded from inflamed eyes, and one prompted by belated decency on my part, I welcomed the escape of the road. But they were great days for all their filthy, haphazard melodrama and I tear a little at their remembrance. I guess not all things stay in the box in which you put them though, no matter how prettily wrapped. Proof of that was in the very fact that the autobahn kissed our worn wheels again and I was heading for Munich.

"You're such a tourist!"
It was hard to disagree with the fräulein. Matt, James and I had arranged to meet her in Mariensplatz which, according to the guidebook, is a square (platz in German) in the city of Munich. Okay I didn't read the guidebook but being first there we found a place that satisfied our simple criteria of being in a cellar (keller to the Germans) and served beer. She wasn't enthralled at having to meet us in Munich's equivalent of the M&Ms shop. Not a great first impression - I imagine after two years I'd probably have to make one afresh. In perfect contrast to hers as she walked down the stairs...memory does not always embellish, sometimes it does not do justice. We ordered a platter of mixed meatstuffs from the heavily illustrated menu and listened to a large table of large Americans loudly enjoying the curiosities of 'Bavarian Culture'. We may be Brits abroad but we are not American tourists and, authentic German meal finished, we implored our hostess to take us somewhere a little less obvious. So we found ourselves in a large beer garden in the west of München. It was also the oldest in the city I am reliably informed. Heaving for a Thursday night the clientele ran the the gamut from young to old. A couple were dislodged from a 4-seater table for the promise of our more lucrative business though the waiter soured on our revelation that it would be drinks only. Nevertheless four litres of excellent beer was shortly slammed in front of us in a displeased yet pleasing manner. Of all the good reasons to move to Bavaria, you'd be allowed to support Bayern right?, the beer must be the best. She was also a fan of beer and football, regaling us with memories of the summer of 2014 and open top buses and the best party ever. Well she wasn't born in 1966 but that was pretty great too as I remember. We also learned how to drink like a Bavarian - strong eye contact, slight grip adjustment, wastage. And we learned the international sign language for describing various sizes of boat. What I didn't learn was how to perform the dance commonly known as 'The Postman'. It was performed in my absence to Matt and James' great amusement. Requests for an encore were met with an unequivocal 'nein'. The waiter presented some sausages and a handshake as an olive branch, happily accepted, and the time flew by in a happy haze until there were two people left in the oldest beer garden in Munich. It was a night I'll box up and put away, to be opened again in years to come, a time capsule of flawless enjoyment.
Ich bin ein Municher. Maybe.

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