Day 14: München 1979 #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Inspired by Jimena’s #MultiFri post, I was feeling lucky with Google Earth, and decided to see where it would take me. And it was München. I have to confess that I was hoping for an unknown small place in the middle of nowhere, instead of a well known metropolis. I was disappointed but decided to stick with my luck and not tempt it.

Three things came to my mind when I saw Munich on my screen (a digression: I will never understand how the English language distort so much the writing and pronunciation of some names of cities or people. Magellan instead of Magallanes or Magalhães, really?).

Continuing with Munich…I thought of the summer Olympics of 1972 killing, the seven gold medals of my idol at that time, swimmer Mark Spitz (second digression: I just googled him and got horrified by how old he looks. My horrific thoughts are not of him per se, but of thinking how old I might look to other people, if I think that of Spitz, my childhood hero). Finally, I thought of my brief stay in München while being a student exchange in the Northern part of Germany in 1979.

In theory, I know München. But I don’t remember anything specific of the city. I remember my flight from Chile arrived at the München Flughafen and that we departed to our final family destination from the Hauptbahnhof, Central Train Station. I remember the group of Chilean kids getting obsessed with beer, and how the coordinator of the group didn’t really care that we were under age and we got drunk along with him and the bus drivers that drove us everywhere. I remember strolling through the streets of München, the traffic, the novelty, the youth hostel, the snow, and that I have a great granduncle whose paintings were at the Alte Pinakothek.

I remember I needed to visit this museum otherwise my dad would have thought he wasted his money by sending me to Germany. I grew up hearing about this famous uncle. We had a reproduction of one of his paintings, the Rowers, in our living room. Three years before my dad died in 2018, he travelled with my family and I to Italy, and he made us drive all the way to Napoli (sorry, Naples in English, do you see what I mean?), just to see one of the paintings in the Rowers series found in an obscure library of the Center for Marine Zoology.

I remember being shy, tall and skinny, and returning with 20 kilos more after my 5 months stay in Germany. I remember being unsecure about my relationship with boys, coming from an only girls German nun school. I remember being very well read and knowledgeable for an average teenager. I remember not only being a nerd, but being frowned upon to be a nerd by some of my peers. I remember I didn’t smoke or drink but got drunk for the first time thanks to the bus drivers who kept pouring vodka in my screwdriver while I tasted just sweet orange juice.

I remember I travelled with a Canon camera and took infinite rolls of slides that are still inside a box in a corner of my closet.

Munich, yes, München. Where is that city now?

My friend and classmate, Claudia on the streets of München in 1979
Mark Spitz and his 7 medals at the 1972 München Olympics