16 September 2008

Day 15: Munich–Paris–Los Angeles

Home. No matter how long you are gone, or what sites you see, the name has power more than almost any other. Home.

So, after two weeks, I'm back in Los Angeles from Bavaria and Slovenia.

During my last night in Munich, I stayed up with Colleen and Armin and chatted about the trip, and then I got to hear some of Armin's outrageous travel tales. He's far better traveled than I am, but I don't envy some of the frightening things he has had to go through. I'm satisfied with exploring Europe for the moment.

I got up early and took the long train ride out the Munich Airport, which had some scary moments because of a strange pattern to the trains that was making some of them run late—an odd occurrence with German trains. But I only arrived ten minutes later to the airport than I had planned.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was much more tolerable this time because I had a three hour layover and no rush navigating the airport's general "mouse in a maze" weirdness. If I were in a rush, the long bus ride over to the other terminal to make my connection would have freaked me out. The newer terminal where I made my flight to L.A. was larger and calmer than the other terminal, so I was able to relax for two hours before boarding.

And now… I'm home.

It was an unusual trip in many ways. The time in Munich was calm and domestic, unlike the standard feeling people get on a foreign trip. My sister and her husband have settled down to their new life, and it a warm and wonderful feeling seeing the new family develop. Baby Diego is the greatest thing that has happened to my sister, and I am so proud to be his uncle and I hope to share in his life in a big way. Munich has turned into one of my favorite cities, and I imagine it will seem as much a part of my life as the places in the U.S. where my other relatives live (Portland and Seattle).

Slovenia… I had no idea really what to expect, but it was quite a ride. I can't say enough about the beauty of Ljubljana, a small but incredibly well-preserved city with a taste of Paris, Germany, and Eastern Europe mixed into one. It's also the only time in my life I really felt that I was appreciating wine. I see now why Slovene wine has picked up such a fine reputation in Los Angeles.

But, even after a trip to Germany and Slovenia, I'm still not a "beer" or "wine" sort of guy. Radler I love, but that's beer lightened with lemon soda, a mixture I think makes a great complement. But here in the U.S. I just can't imagine myself ordering a beer. Gin and tonic and whiskey sour remain my favorite drinks. (Acutally, plain old Coca-Cola is probably my favorite drink, but you know what I mean.)

The MVP for the trip is the Alphasmart NEO, the writing device that made this extensive blog possible. Stop in the middle of a museum, a castle, a biergarten, a café, or at the foot of a statue and pull out the writing device to pound out notes and impressions. The NEO made me feel like a true romantic, the wandering writing grabbing inspiration whenever it appears.

Tomorrow is all-errand day. Thrill.

But still, I'm always glad to be home.