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Crosspost! Hallo An Alle May 16, 2012

Posted by Sean in Burritos (and other awesome things).
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For the next three weeks, I’ll be in Europe studying abroad as part of a school trip (course credit for drinking German beer studying hard in a foreign country? say whaaat).  Part of the class requirements are to blog about our experiences on the class site here: http://wordpress.philau.edu/germany2012/ .  Along with that, I’ll also crosspost all of my posts over here, because that’s what a blog is for, or something.  Enjoy!

To start off Day 2, we were at Zoozie’z Cafe, where we would have our class discussion on selected chapter’s of Erik Larsen’s In The Garden of Beasts.

But first we had to get there.

Five of us (Dylan, Eric, Do, Alex, and I) competed in what was dubbed the “Amazing Race”– we were given the destination and a start time of 9:15, but we had to figure out how to get there on our own.

Figuring that everyone else was going to take the train and make the race a sprint to the finish (something I wouldn’t win…), I opted to walk to the cafe, which, according to Google, took slightly more time.  But, I figured, with traffic, and transfers, and limited German knowledge if one of them got lost, the time difference between public transit and walking was negligible, or perhaps even in my favor.

That is of course, if I didn’t get lost…
View Larger Map (Edit: Oh, I guess WordPress won’t let me embed a map… Go click that link <— )

Bavarian (and European, at large) streets are crazy– they’re all twisty, and turny, and big and dumb and stupid.  I got lost coming off the Bavariaring– what I thought was still Bavariaring was suddenly Ruckertstrasse, which then somehow became Kaiser-Ludwig Platz, which became Herzog-Heinrich Strasse.  It’s all confusing, and it made me miss Philadelphia’s familiar grid with all the numbered streets and non-twisty, turny streets…

Ever since I was little, I had always heard from people how Philadelphia was “revolutionary” because it’s streets were laid out in a grid-like fashion, which had never been done before and was “distinctly non-European.”  Until today, it never really registered just how revolutionary it was/is– Muenchen, and presumably, the rest of Europe, have streets that gravitate around a “center square” of some kind (in this case, it’s more or less the Marienplatz), which is a great thing when streets and cities are designed for pedestrians/not cars or horses/pre-18th century cities.  It gives a distinct place for socialization and the “to-be” place.

But it doesn’t make any verdammt sense when cars and navigation enter the equation.

“What’s the best way to get from point A to point B?”

Germany:

“Oh, well, you go down this strasse here, then it turns left, but you stay straight.  When you hit the funny looking platz, hang a right until you reach the other funny looking platz.  If you hit the red light, you’ve gone too far.”  Except, in German, because that’s what they speak here…

Philadelphia:

“Oh, that’s easy… You walk down 7th street until you hit Market, and stay on that until you get to 13th.  It’s right there, you can’t miss it.”

I may have exaggerated a little, but you get the idea.

In closing, I really like Munich’s layout from a social perspective, but I hate hate HATE it from a navigation point of view. If you don’t have a street layout that I can’t plot on a graph, your streets are not laid out well.

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