Jaza's World Trip

Too late in Munich

I'm officially labelling today "the day that I just missed everything". First there was the train from Dresden that I missed by 2 minutes. Then, this evening, I wandered down to Munich's Christmas market, to grab a bratwurst for dinner — arriving in the square at 7:30pm — only to find all the stalls shutting in my face as I got there! Apparently, the market closes at 7:30pm sharp on Sunday evenings. Next, I went for the next-best (and next-cheapest) option, and found a kebab shop at which to grab some tucker. Too late: they'd already stopped serving for the evening; luckily I found another one around the corner, that obliged me with a meaty plate of doner and salad. Finally, I jumped online at a nearby café; and they decided to close ½ an hour earlier than advertised ("family crisis" with the owners), and to kick me out prematurely. It definitely hasn't been my lucky day!

The train I can understand. The Internet I can understand. But the food? What bizarre logic was going through the minds of the Christmas market organisers, when they decided that they'd shut at 7:30pm on Sunday evenings — exactly the time when everyone's looking for some dinner? And when I got to the market, there were actually a lot of people in the same boat as me, looking for a bite and perplexed that there was none available. Same with the (first) kebab place: if you want to stay in business, then you gotta be open when people are hungry.

I think I'm still struggling to adjust to the whole German "punctuality and earliness" thing. As with the German "respect for small rules" thing, it's quite alien to what I've become accustomed with, while travelling in the Latin world. Here in Germany, things start early and they finish early; and they start not a minute before the time advertised, and close up shop not a minute after. Their retail mindset is the same as their train-catching mindset. If you arrive at one hot dog shop at 7:31pm, and it's closed, then you've got 14 minutes to get to the other hot dog shop that closes at 7:45pm. I think that what one fellow traveller told me a few days ago is spot-on: the Deutsche Bahn does indeed run the entire country — in mind, body and soul.