Well, Slap My Thigh (and Call me Günter)


Monday 4th February 2008

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The first of my five senses to wake up this morning was my hearing. I could hear a distant rumble. I could also hear my own shallow breathing. I listened to myself inhale then exhale for quite some time. It was a very soothing and meditative process. My peaceful existence was then shattered when the second of my senses woke up. I began to feel. Oh how I felt my aching legs, my churning stomach, my shrunken brain rolling against the inside of my skull. Sheez, what a hangover. Then the third sense kicked in and I noticed my dry mouth tasted like a badger's arse!

It was Julie's sixth sense that woke her up. The sense of being in mortal danger. Sub-consciously she smelt the fear. Moments earlier I had jettisoned some toxic contents. I was now forced to apologise; and open a window; and apologise once more, this time with meaning.

I went down for breakfast alone. Julie decided it was better to stay in bed than vomit over the cured meat platter which was a very wise decision. I was feeling quite delicate myself but I knew that a half a pound of cheese and a litre of mineral water would sort me out. She did eventually make it down for breakfast; just ten minutes before they cleared the buffet away.

We weren't in any rush this morning.

I hadn't set a tight schedule, just a loose outline plan which included a stroll around the city taking in the atmosphere of the festival, maybe see a few sights, visit a beer museum and then a pub crawl.

When I had meticallously planned the "Ultimate Munich Beerhall Crawl" I hadn't taken into consideration the hangover factor.

©Sonya Jones

Wild horses couldn't drag us into a pub this morning!

Anyway, we decided to get the day started and made our way over to Marienplatz in time for the daily 11:00am chiming of the Glockenspiel. One of Munich's must-see attractions.

Along the way, down Sendlingerstrasse, we walked past the narrow facade of Asamkirche, an 18th century private church built by the artistic Asam brothers. The outside was reasonably ornate but it certainly didn't hint towards the treasure trove that hid inside.

The interior was very flamboyant, over-elaborate perhaps but certainly spectacular. It was quite an assault on the sense.

We stood quiet for a minute trying to absorb the room because it was saturated with items of interest and peculiarity. A skull and snake here, cherubs over there, gold leaf leaves above us, an abundance of artistry, an extravagance of style.

The whole thing actually made me feel quite dizzy and overwhelmed, so before someone filled the font with something altogether quite unholy we quickly took a few photos and left the worshippers in peace.

By the time we reached Marienplatz there was a decent crowd gathered waiting with great anticipation for 11:00am to arrive. The famous Glockenspiel began to chime but not with a fanfare but with the excrutiating sound of cowbell ringing.

Plonk - plonk - plinkey - plonk. We all turned to each other with "what the fuck?" faces.

It were as if we were listening to little children perform at their school concert. A painful experience at the best of times.

A "walking-tour" guide with an Australian accent noticed that we weren't especially impressed and she said "Good, huh? Did you know it's been voted Europe's most disappointing tourist attraction?!" No shit Shelia. It was truly laughable.

To make matter's worse it wasn't even a cheerful tune. The droning melody was seriously depressing. Things improved slightly when the mechanical figurines moved along to the plonking but entertaining it was not.

We must have been literally bored rigid because despite possessing the ability to walk, we didn't.

Maybe none of us wanted to be the first to break rank but for whatever reason we all stood there for the full ten torturous minutes.

Eventually it ended but not with a big crescendo, instead it limped to an embarrasing finale. It fizzled out as if the poor little munchkins ringing the cowbells inside had collapsed from exhaustion or tedium. One plink followen by a plonk and then silence. The crowd heaved a huge collective sigh of relief and we all moved on with our lives.

We left Marienplatz past the Altes Rauhaus, the original Town Hall and soon found ourselves up a butcher's back alley, if you pardon the phrase.

Just tucked away behind Peterskirche, on our way to Viktualienmarkt, we stumbled across a whole street of butchers. It was quite an peculiar sight.

They all had pretty much the same wursts on offer, white ones, fat ones, long ones, lumpy ones, saggy ones. They really do love their sausages!

My fragile stomach didn't appreciate it much but despite being a vegetarian's nightmare all those different bangers in a row looked almost like a work of art!

As I said, we were just behind the Peterskirche, the church with its impressive tower and there's one thing I always do when I visit anywhere. That's to find the highest tower to climb for the best views in town.

So I said "I just want to run up the tower for some photos".

Steve took one look at the 300ft tower and decided that it was not for him. Everyone else however decided to join the expedition, so we left the Steve to peruse down Frankfurter Alley all on his own.

The 306 steps to the top of Peterskirche tower started gently enough with a narrow spiralling stone staircase but it soon changed into a wider but steeper wooden staircase.

After 43 steps Julie wasn't feeling very good and the sweats had kicked in. At 91 steps the altitude must had been effecting her as she became dangerously breathless. On step 128, drenched in perspiration, she was on the verge of giving up but she dug deep and pushed herself through the pain barrier.

She marched on to the point of near collapse at step 240 where she sat down on and whispered in between gasps for air, as if they were her last words ....

"You go on without me".

And so I did. I left her behind to perish 66 steps from the summit.

The view from the top was amazing. Looking down on Marienplatz and the iconic Munich skyline of the two onion domes of Frauenkirche, probably the most recognisable view of this city.

I did a full circle of the viewing platform then returned down the stairs where I found a dejected Julie, flaked out on step 294, unable to go on.

©Sonya Jones

She'd thrown in the towel, given up and was just waiting for me to finish so that we could go back down. But I wasn't going to let her miss out.

"Come on, you've only got twelve steps to go. It really is just around the corner!"

With phenomenal determination, (I could almost here the Rocky theme tune) she stood up and lifted one leg in front of another, one by one until she reached the door to the outside where she shat herself with fear, figuratively speaking of course.
She took one glimpse but instead of a splendid view all she saw was a spectacluar drop!
©Sonya Jones

Having made it this far she was determined however to complete a full petrified circle despite her crippling fear.

She edged her way out the door then backed up against the wall and shuffled her way around.

I was glad of my second circumnavigation. I had more time to notice things, like you could see the Allianz Arena from here! Also I'd actually hadn't realised how near the Alps were.

The breathtaking views of the mountains to the south were surprisingly beautiful.

Our descent was far easier than the climb but it was still quite a physical challenge tumbling 306 steps. So it was with great relief we returned to terra firma although our legs were very pedis instabilis.

Whilst we scaled the bell tower Steve had walked up and down and all around the Vilktualienmarkt. We met him back at Sausage strasse.

"I need a drink" said Julie.

For a brief moment I thought the trauma of the tower had driven her to drink but she only wanted to rehydrate with water. Steve had the market mapped and knew exactly where to take us.

In the centre were long tables and benches set out where the serious drinking had already began. We sat down staring into our fruit juices and mineral water whilst behind us a riotous table were chucking confetti and party streamers everywhere.

How the roles had been reversed this morning; we were the miserable ones! It didn't last for long however.

At first our sore heads didn't care much for the party atmosphere but their infectious festivity soon lifted our mood.

Before long we were laughing along with them, launching retaliatory confetti bombs of our own.

There were plenty of places to eat and drink around the market but most of us didn't feel up to it. Although when Sonya returned to the table with a cone of chips we were all tempted. After sharing her cone and before the confetti war escalated to a full blown international incident, we moved on.

Now I knew I didn't feel particularly well but I hadn't realised how rough I looked until I saw this photo of Julie and me. I look as sick as a lobster!

I also hadn't realised just how big Julie's right ear was!

(Oh, sorry that's not her ear!)

Then, outside the Lowenbrau brierhalle on Viktualienmarkt, Steve bumped into his long lost Bavarian cousin.

The similarities were uncanny!

We made our way to a street called Tal and walked out towards Isator, the east gate of the old city. All these medieval names made me feel like we were just around the corner from Mordor in the Middle Earth district!

Just down off Tal was our destination, das Bier und Oktoberfest Museum, which we easily translated to mean the Beer and Octoberfest Museum.

Sadly we couldn't translate the sign on the door that said "Shut on a Monday"!

We tried to ask a friendly passing Munchner but we couldn't find one. The one person who did pass had this "please leave me alone" look on her face.

In the end we assumed that it was shut all day and not just for lunch. (If I had read a gudiebook we would have known that it's always shut on a Monday!)

The time was now fast approaching the end of the lunching hour so we all agreed that it would probably be a good idea to have something to eat, even if we didn't feel like it.

The first pub we came across was Weisses Brauhaus, the flagship pub of Schneider Weisse, a wheat beer brewery and number seven on my ultimate beer hall crawl. It has a reputation for the best sausage in Munich. Now that's some claim!

There was a cracking atmosphere as we walked in. A band was loudly tooting ooom-pah-pah by the door and the room was packed with punters lapping it all up.

Little old sensitive us found it to be a little too lively for a civilised lunch so we were relieved to find that their back room was far more sedate.

We sat down and looked over the menu. There were some grusome sounding dishes on offer. None more wretch inducing than the Bavarian speciality of a Calf's head. No one was brave nor foolish enough to give it a try. We all went for the familiar.

Julie had delicious potato pancakes, I had a "veggie platter" which was a bizarre combination of random non-meat side dishes. Sonya went for a creamy mushroom dish with a huge dumpling in its middle.

Both Garry and Steve went for the famous weisswurst sausages. When they arrived Garry's four were laid out on a hot bed of steaming sauerkraut. It looked seriously unappetising. Steve's sausages were accompanied by a cold potato salad which was just plain wrong.

We decided that the time was right for beer and we ordered Schneider's finest, a dark strong wheat beer they called Original. Sonya and Julie abstained but us boyos were prepared to test the "hair of the dog" theory to overcoming hangovers. The kill or cure approach.

A few tentative mouthfulls later we soon found ourselves regretting our boyo bravado as we strayed towards the kill side of the equation. We struggled against the intense flavour and strong alcohol content of the beer. It was thirsty work to get to the bottom of the glass.

Not to be discouraged we asked for their drinks menu to perhaps choose a lighter option.

"Hey, I didn't know you've been here before" said Steve passing over the menu opened on the spirits page pointing to a photograph of Garry drinking from a dinky glass of Edelbrand schnapps. Of course it wasn't him but the resemblence was spooky!

The menu had seven Schneider Weisse varieties on offer, Original, Weizen Hell, Kristall, Leicht, Eisbock, Weizenstarkbier and Alcoholfrei. We couldn't make our minds up so Julie suggested we should try the Kristall because a friend from work (Steffi from Stuggart) had recommended it as her favourite.

It was a good choice. It was light and fresh, especially after the heaviness of the dark original. It was very drinkable, too drinkable. We knocked them back so quickly we had to order another round.
We left Schneider Weiss behind and headed to Marienplatz where the Fasching festival was now in full swing.

The square was alive with partying Bavarians enjoying the entertainment.

There was actually a lot more smiles per mile today.

We'd almost written off the whole nation as miserable sods but they showed us their fun side. The sound of music was never far as performers were strutting their funky stuff on several stages within the square and along Kaufingerstrasse.
In no time we had reached the Augustiner Gaststatte, another famous inn on the Utlimate Bierhalle Crawl. It had a traditional lace doily restaurant side but also a more casual beer hall side.

Established in 1487 it was probably second only to the Dog's Ball Inn to claim the title "the oldest inn in Munich".

So, as not to be out done, it instead boasts that the Augustiner Monks began brewing as early as the year 1328. So this is the oldest brewery in Munich!

The atmosphere here was a little less lively than Weisse Brauhaus but the beer hall itself had a more earthy comfortable charm. The beer here was good but Julie still wasn't tempted as she stuck to the mineral water. Sonya wasn't too sure what to have. Her indecision wasn't popular with the six hundred year old waitress who rolled her eyes impatiently as Sonya was making her choice and then huffed her displeasure when she opted for the tricky and time consuming hot chocolate. How rude was that?! If it were still the 14th Century she would have been drowned or burnt at the stake! In fact the standard of service so far on this trip had been surprisingly poor.

It wasn't long before we were all struck down with the münchen münchies and chips with mayo had to be administered. Surviving the attack we had one more round of crisp Augustiner beer before we left for our hotel. It was only 4pm but, (showing signs of our age) we all decided that an hour or so of sleep was very necessary if we were going to survive the Bavarian Evening at the Hofbrauhaus we had booked for later.

Before we reached our bed, on the other side of Karlstor, in a square the locals call Sch , a large group of brass musicians were whipping up a storm as the cowd in front of them bounced along to their energetic music.

Old skool oompah-pah it certainly wasn't. I suppose it was similar but on speed. It could be called oooomph-pah-pah! [Sorry - terrible joke alert.]

A good descripiton would be a rock jazz fusion and was very uplifting music.

Only when I got home did I discover that they call this Guggenmusik, which literally translates as happy music.

After a brief search and rescue mission after loosing Sonya and Garry in the crowd we reached our hotel for our siesta. Julie fell fast asleep in an instant but instead of taking my opportunity to recharge my batteries I wrote up yesterday's journal; then before I knew it two hours had flown by and Julie was waking up refreshed(-ish) and ready to slap some thighs.

We actually didn't know what to expect from tonight.

It was billed as a traditional evening of Bavarian hospitality with yodelling, cowbell ringing, Schuhplatteln dancing and finger-wrestling!?!

"I'm sure we'll enjoy it when we get there" said Julie the wise.

As we were leaving the hotel, the lift door opened and we caught Sonya and Garry doing some traditional folk dancing of their own. It could only be described as Bavarian Belly Wrestling!

We stepped inside the elevator with a polite cough "Ahem", but they soon forgot themsleves and were back at it like a pair of penguins!

It was too far to walk to the Hofbrauhaus, yet despite booking a taxi and getting there in good time for the 7pm start we were the last to arrive!

We checked-in with Helga on the second floor reception and were taken through to our seats.

This was quite some room. It felt as if we were walking inside a beer barrel as we stepped into the magnificent banqueting hall. Long tables flanked both sides, enough to sit a thousand people but it certainly wasn't full to capacity tonight. In fact if it wasn't for a thirty strong troop of checked shirted mountain folk we would have been rattling around this famous room.

As we were the last to arrive we just tagged on to an end of a table. It felt odd, as if we were strangers at a wedding reception.

Steve noticed that the security guards had recognised us from last night. They were whispering to each other and throwing glances over in our direction. I feared we would be thrown out and banned from the Hofbrauhaus for life but they left us alone. I expected them to come over to warn us that any funny business would not be tolerated but they didn't. They knew we understood that we were going to be under surveilance tonight.

The evening began with a banquet of traditional Bavarian fayre such as bacon & cabbage salad, homemade potato salad, Original Hofbrauhaus sausages with sauerkraut, crackling roast pork and pork knuckle, Chicken Escalope "vienna style", (which correct if I'm wrong but is over the border in Austria) and thankfully for the non-meat eater a pasta with veg and tomato sauce, (which I can forgive them for that being over the Alps in Italy.)

The lumberjacks must have been given a heads up as they got up and were first in the food queue. I must admit to be getting a little bit stressed out over cross-contamination. I'm a little finnicky when it comes to buffet food, especially the type that are laid out like school dinners in stainless steel tubs. I desperately needed to get to the pasta before some oik dribbled pork fat all over it!

There was a bottleneck around the sausages and kuckles so I made a dash for it down the line. I didn't know German for "Excuse Me" so I went all Italian "Scuzi, Scuzi" . (I'm sure they rolled their eyes and said "Typical Italian!") It was all worth the indignation however as I reached my food before it was soiled.

As I made my way down the line I noticed "Zelle Gugge Music" on the back of some of their coats hanging over the chairs. At the time meant nothing to me other than they were actually gifted musicians and not lumbering lumberjacks. (It's only now as I look at the photograph of the guggenmusik band earlier in the day that I realise that they were indeed them!)

Once we had eaten the entertainment began. We were treated to exactly what it said in the advertisment.

The self-proclaimed "most famous inn" in the world gave us a show the whole of proud Bavaria would have applauded.

First we had the obligatory self-flagelating lederhosen wearing young men, slapping thighs galore; even with spoons.

They left stage left and made way for the next musical spectactular as two grown men stepped up to the mark and blew out a tuneful drone from out of their huge horns.

Buuuuuurrrrpphhh Beeeerrrrrpphhh Boooooorrrpph

Whilst it was completely unharmonius, I was alarmingly impressed by their instruments.

I'm sure Siegmund Freud had a field day contemplating the size of his Alpine Horn.

Size obviously matters but in the Alps it seems to be more length than girth.

The choice of musical instruments made them look like a pair of "odd men from the hills" but the older guy was luckily given another opportunity to redeem his honour and he proved that there was more to him than just blowing rasberries down this Horn.

He showed us that he was actually very talented.


When he took to the stage for a solo recital on his little brass trumpet he gave such a jaw-dropping prerformance that it was worthy of a standing ovation. I had goosebumps all over which is always a sign that the song or piece of music has hit the right mark.

For the first time tonight I applauded like I meant it. This guy had more talent in his dancing eyebrows than all the supporting cast had accumalated all evening.

We later found out that he was not a part of the usual cast but a special guest drafted in for the fasching festival. I for one felt privileged to have witnessed his appearance.

The standards had seriously been raised but before we got carried away our master of ceremonies for the evening delighted us with a little tinkle on his wooden xylophone.

They were on a roll so they played their Joker (by which I mean their ace card) with an excitable frauline shaking her cow bells. Ding dong!

As much as I want to ridicule her performance I must admit to being slightly captivated by her skill in shaking the right bell at the right time.

For the second time this evening I applauded with meaning. (Although this was not a patch on old Hornblower)

We could hardly contain our excitement anymore, infact it had become too much for some to handle as they headed for the exit.

They would have kicked themsleves if they knew they missed out on the spectacle of the finger wrestling. The gladiatorial battle of two men linked only by a hooked finger trying to pull each other over a log. To and frow they lunged.

There didn't appear to be a clear winner so they resorted to furiously chopping the wooden log to music. It was like synchronised swimming with axes.

Oh how the excitement built up to a heady crescendo but still there wasn't a conclusive winner, so the stakes were raised.

The next contest was to spin a frauline as fast as you could and the first one that fell over or hurtled off stage lost.

Apparently the one on the left with tree trunk legs, who went by the name of Gretel, was Germany's "Spinning" champion so their team had an unfair advantage.

As it happened, nobody spun uncontrollably into the crowd thankfully saving the lives of the front four rows on the left.


I guess they must have called it a draw because they soon moved on to a symbolic flag waving ceremony where Germany won.

Each nation's flag was marched in celebration onto stage to be greeted by a "Whoo-hoo" from a proud section of the audience. America, Japan, Italy, France, Spain, even minor incidental European countries like Greece and Portugal were duly represented.

With every flag our anticipation rose. Surely the next one will be the Union Jack. They can't just simply forget about the United Kingdom ?

But the next up was the red, white and blue of the Taiwanese flag which was greeted by a thrilled "Yay" from a solitary Taiwaneser in the front row. "Taiwan for pity sake???" Now we felt ignored !

"They may not like the British but maybe they'll bring out the red dragon of the Welsh flag" we all hoped. But it never happened.

Once the Alpine brotherhood of Switzerland and Austria were paraded and the German flag waved victoriously to the strains of intensely truimphant ooompah-pah, we knew it was game over.

It would be an under statement if I said we were a bit offended by this omission. I mean wars have been started over less!

The dragon's fire in my belly was inciting me to stand up on the tables and sing the Welsh National Anthem in protest but ironically it was the steely eye of the Gestapo that neutered my rising nationalism.

Then, out the corner of my eye, I saw Sonya get up and run towards the stage. "Oh no!"

My heart was in my mouth as I thought she was on her way to sabotage the ceremony by wrestling the flag bearer to the ground and setting fire to the black red and orange cloth.

It was with great relief that we realised she was only sprinting towards the end of a conga line!

We watched with amusement as she took her place in the human snake which weaved itself up and down and all around the hall.

Her energetic efforts hadn't gone unoticed because a few minutes later M.C. Hoffbrau asked her to join him up on stage. She was more than happy to comply.

Also participating was the solitary Taiwaneser, a New York Cop, an Italian with a lazy eye and another American but originally from the Phillipines. When they asked Sonya where she was from she answered "Wales" and some numbskull heckled "Where's Wales?" Now that was just rubbing the salt into our wounds.

Anyway, Sonya played her part in the performance by ringing a cowbell when prompted. Each of them held a different size bell producing a different note and when aided by the MC they performed a traditional plinky plonky song.

Perhaps they were auditioning for the Glockenspiel performance tomorrow morning at 11am!

They wrapped the evening off with some yodelling and even more thigh spinning and frauline slapping .. uh.. I mean ... thigh slapping and frauline spinning. Despite being snubbed by the authorities we were one of the few groups still remaining in our seats.

After leaving the Hofbrauhaus we literally stumbled across the street and into the Hard Rock cafe.

I 'm not a big fan of globalisation, I see a McDonalds next to the Trevi Fountain or a Starbucks in the Forbidden City and weep but there's something different about a Hard Rock Cafe that makes me forget my principles.

I love them not because of their food but all that music memoriabila. It's a mini musical museum.

Across the globe I've seen an Elvis' jump suit, a Jimi Hendrix guitar, a Beatles Drum kit, Led Zeppelin Gold Discs but tonight was probably my favourite Hard Rock Cafe visit.

On display in the shop was a signed guitar that belonged to Slash of Guns 'n' Roses. I stood admiring the sunburst Les Paul when a member of staff appeared and asked "Would you like a closer look?"

A closer look? I practically had my nose up on the glass. I couldn't get any closer!

"Uh ... Yes" I said rather embarrased, unsure whether he was being sarcastic. But he was true to his word and came over with a key to open the glass cabinet. Fantastic!

"Can I touch it?" I asked blurring the boundary between being a keen fan and a crazed groupie.

"Sure, no problem" he consented.

So I stretched out my arm and actually caressed the feminie curves of this beautiful instrument. It was such a thrill !

We went through to the bar restaurant and sat down on some really comfortable leather sofas. I imagined the place to be rocking during Fasching but it was surprisingly quiet. We were almost their only customers.

We had a round of drinks. They served Ayingers beer here, a brewery we hadn't come across as yet.

Sonya and Julie, bored of beer, chose instead to try a cocktail called Pickled Tink which was sensational. It was like having a strawberry cheescake in a glass!

When the next round of drinks were ordered we all had one!

We were then plied with free drinks from the bar staff. They weren't large measures just samplers but even so it was great to get something for nothing.

We called it a night just about midnight but before we left Steve returned to the shop and bought himself a leather jacket that he'd been thinking about all evening.

It was far more tasteful than I expected. I had visions of this thick skinned biker jacket with tassles and a large Hard Rock Cafe logo emblazoned on the back but it was extremely soft leather with just a discreet logo.

As we were leaving we noticed this over-sized Flintstonesque Guitar. It was actually a sculpture made from a piece of the Berlin Wall. It was peculiar to find it here and not in the Berlin HRC but a great idea nonetheless.

©Sonya Jones

After last night's shenanigans not one of us fancied wandering the empty streets in search of the fabled Jizz klob so we headed to where the taxis waited in line outside the Hofbrauhaus. There were none that could legally carry five so we discussed the idea of walking back. It was to everyone's huge relief that a large taxi turned the corner. We waved furiously and it shot to the front of the line to pick us up.

When it arrived it wasn't as big as we thought. In fact the fifth seat was in the boot.

I galantly got in first and climbed into the back, followed by Julie, Sonya and Garry who sat in a row of seats, and Steve joined the driver in the front.

"Herzog-Wilhelm Strasse" I instructed.

He seemed confused but it wasn't my poor pronounciation that was the problem. He turned around and said "Herzog-Wilhelm strasse?" scratching his head. So he understood what I said it was just that he hadn't a clue where in Munich it was.

Impatient taxi drivers tooted behind us so we had to drive off. We were blocking the road.

"Where's he going? He hasn't got a clue where he's going?" the tension in my voice making me squeak a little.

Witihin a minute he safely pulled over to ask us again. "Herzog-Wilhelm strasse?"

I suggested "Sendlinger Tor?" as the nearest navigation beacon but still nothing, nada, nichts! His blank gormless face was looking back me and I was getting a little wound up by his lack of local knowledge, an essential pre-requisite for a taxi driver I would have thought!

"OK" I said, offering "Marienplatz" as a starting point. I saw his eyes light up because he recognised that name. I then chanced my luck with Sendlingerstrasse but his clueless imbecilic face immediately returned.

I couldn't believe it. I was caged in the back and felt like climbing over to the front, pushing him out the door and driving us back myself. Frustrated I launched into a tirade of abuse. "Dear God. I don't believe this. What is he? He must be straight off the plane or something."

Steve meanwhile had a far more diplomatic and sensible idea of reaching into his pocket to pull out the Hotel's business card, which had a postcode that the driver could tap into his TwatNav system. Hooray! Thank heavens for modern technology. And we were off, guided like an exocet missile by some satellite in space. He certainly drove like a bloody rocket. Maybe my constant barracking from the back was annoying him. I was giving a running commentary like tour guide to let him (and Julie) know that I knew exactly where we were.

"That's Isator, the east gate to the old town on the right"

We were on the ring road and he seemed to accelerate the more I spoke. It felt like we'd just experienced G force as Sendlinger Tor was approaching us at some velocity. We screeched off the ring and across towards Herzog-Wilhelm strasse. We pulled up, disembarked a little jelly legged and then everyone wobbled off leaving me to pay him the €9. I refrained from giving him another rant; choosing instead to leave as friends, shaking his hand, giving him a nudge and a wink and a "Danke Schunn".

He replied with an sad apologetic downtrodden face and shuffled off back to his car.

He managed with one look to make me feel terrible. I didn't know anything about him nor his circumstance. How did he end up a taxi driver in Munich? (he probably got in his car one day and got lost!) Had he escaped persecution, did he have family, has he left them in search of a better life only to be given such a hard time from intolerant idiots in the back of his taxi?

I went to sleep feeling quite guilty, contemplating slapping my thighs all night as punishment.

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