I was a little sad not to be going to the office. Instead I headed out today on a business trip to Munich. Two Métro trains took me to Gare d’Est (east train station), where my TGV train awaited me. I got a first-class ticket, which was luxurious. The train was very nice- big seat, great views from the top deck, and a power outlet. Through the Champagne valley, the train hit 200 mph. It’s the fastest train in Europe. I was suprised by a lunch of swordfish with a salad. It was basically airplane food, but still better than eating crackers and an apple.
I got a lot of work done on the train, and even more after I switched trains in Stuttgart. The new ICE train wasn’t as nice, but had WiFi, which more than made up for it. I had a very productive day and was almost disappointed when I pulled into the Munich Hauptbahnhof (main train station).
The first thing I noticed at the Hauptbahnhof was that the giant “Coke” sign was gone. Years ago, Munich was the first non-English place I ever visited. I remembered coming up from the S-Bahn (suburban rail) to the hustle and bustle of the main train station, seeing the gigantic American logo, and feeling strangely comforted by the familiarity of it. So it’s with mixed feelings to see it gone. I felt nostalgia when I saw it on subsequent trips, but on the other hand, I no longer need to be comforted. Munich is one of my favorite cities in the world. I’m more familiar with it than Boston or New York. How weird/cool is that?
One more U-Bahn (subway) and a short walk and I reached my hotel. I stayed just long enough to drop my things and head out again. I met my good friend Daniel Hernández, and we took another U-Bahn to the “French Quarter.” We walked around for awhile, before joining Daniel’s wife Theresia for dinner at the Haufbraukellar. I had my favorite German dish- Schweinshaxe. Schweinshaxe is a pig’s knuckle, a joint from the leg. The inside is the most succulent pork you’ve ever tasted. The outside is crispy skin. It’s twice as good as bacon, and half as healthy, and that’s saying a lot. I think if I ate this on a regular basis, it would kill me, but since I only have it every few years, I think I’ll be fine. I washed it down with two pints of excellent German beer.
The night ended with a tram ride followed by a walk in the city center. Our efforts to find ice cream failed, but it was a delightful walk anyway.
While I was traveling, Dorinna and Nate stayed in Paris. Today they visited the La Cité des Enfants, a science and technology museum for kids. The short movie below shows some of the fun that Nate had at the museum.