A Tale of Two Cities

Munich is a city of two faces, one glamorous and beautiful, the other hideous and vile. I wouldn’t say this is a feature unique to Munich, many cities around the world show the collision of two worlds, however I especially noticed it today in our visit to Munich. As I walked from souvenir shop to souvenir shop, and dipped in and out of small corner restaurants and stores I was impressed by the wide range of options that the city offered. There were bakeries, and fruit stands, vegetable markets and everything from sushi to pizza. One particular chocolate store we entered had an amazing aroma and the store owner jokingly told us enjoying the air is free of charge. In contrast, walking down the streets of Munich I was constantly surrounded by packs of smokers and clouds of smoke that made my eyes water and my head hurt. Every few steps there was another smoker casually blowing smoke in my face as if I wanted to enjoy the cigarette as much as they did. As the day continued I was in awe of the many Ferrarris, Porsches, Bentleys and more that I saw driving around the city. These high end cars were accompanied by an assortment of exclusive stores such as Armani, Louis Vuitton, and Dior. It was weird to see such expensive shopping streets when there were homeless people begging for money around the corner. Seeing a thousand dollar pair of shoes after walking by a homeless man who lost his toes is a jarring experience.

Personally I am not a fan of traveling to cities, I prefer trips like the one to the Alps earlier in the week. Nature and peace and quiet are more appealing to me than souvenirs and crowds of people. I was happy to find there were many parks and trees around Munich to provide shade and some areas of nature to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. In the evening we ate a delicious meal in an interesting restaurant that had tree trunks from the tables to the ceiling. It was like eating in a forest and I enjoyed the experience. After dinner we took a page out of Amazing Race and ran for the return train before it departed. We made it just in time and I was thankful for the chance to rest my feet after a long day of walking.

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