From Newark International to the Dark Ages in under 12 hours. The square was empty but since this was Europe there were plenty of Mercedes(es) around. Eight thousand kg of baggage and four exhausted Mädchens were hefted into two taxis for the trip to the Novotel, and somehow traveling the exact same distance at the exact same time of day cost 6 euros in one car and 10 in the other. I asked no questions since for once I was on the right side of history, even though our cab driver seemed homicidal. It's tough to tell with cab drivers, though, isn't it? The ones who look normal always go 600 km/h while staging a running commentary on Cuban refugees or the cost of pretzels, while the crazy ones obey traffic signals and take the time to extend the handle of your carry-on bag when they deposit you on the curb.
Filling in the blanks
Ad hoc experiment on surviving an overnight transatlantic crossing: you can in fact manipulate a neck pillow in such a way as to make it impossible to drool on yourself, so everyone can stop worrying about that. As with most things there’s a Faustian flipside, which is that even if you do manage to fall asleep, you run the risk of waking up face to face with some German. The choice is yours.
It was winter, as I said, and it snowed for three days, and on the second day I succumbed to the acute febrile contagious disease that had been bequeathed unto me by the alchemy of aviation (viruses on planes being one check my body's guaranteed to cash). In addition to the usual phlegm-induced misery and snoring, this really set back my beer drinking.
Munich was beautiful, by the way. Terribly civilized. Fine museums, easy to navigate, good for adults. My recommendation is to visit the Hofbräuhaus when you are already in your cups, or bypass it entirely and head to Tavernetta on Hildegardstrasse instead. Those cats will feed you enormous pizzas.
An interlude from James Salter
"Kant had four questions that he believed philosophy should answer: What can I know? What may I hope? What ought I to do? What is man? All of these Europe helped to clarify. It was the home of a veteran civilization. Its strengths are vertical, which is to say they are deep."