Tuesday 7 Jul
On the way to the airport in Istanbul there was a flash flood, with cars drowning in the middle of the road and water streaming under the doors into the bus. This could have been a major problem, but my flight was delayed for two hours, so I wasn't late and now I am here!
Many were the times when I was lost and confused in Asia that I wished I could magically arrive somewhere in Europe. Now here I am in a country where I can get change for a 50 Euro note, where the train timetables are so detailed I'm almost intimidated, and where people are not only polite but they all seem to know what's going on all of the time!
Of course, I also find that the things you miss while travelling are only important while you can't get them. One of the things I used to yearn for was the possibility of having a real beer in a real pub (rather than, for example, a syndicated Egyptian-brewed beer privately smuggled home and drunk among the mosquitoes). I guess the Hofbräuhaus is as good a place as any to make up for this, even if it is entirely touristy, though not touristy enough for us to be able to actually figure out how it works.
It's also interesting to adjust to life in a big, organised, industrial European hostel. I think there are more backpackers in this one place than in a few whole countries I have visited. The vibe is a bit different! It reminds me of my life about two years ago when I was living in Paris. At least the food here is the same as where I have come from... or at least the first kebab shop I went into was so authentic that I nearly said something in Turkish, which would have been embarrassing.
Munich is full of interesting stuff, but some of it requires an unfamiliar mindset to appreciate. For example, I can't remember the last time I went to an art museum, and I'm sure I have forgotten whatever I used to know about such things. But this sort of change of scenery is exactly the point of moving on to a different continent.