Good on You London

The Munich Eye's Intrepid reporter Robert Johnson is on his way to Edinburgh to attend and cover the biggest English Language Theater Festival in the world. Follow him here exclusively at the Eye.

Gentle reader, thank you very much for tuning in to this dispatch of what will hopefully be a successful run of columns, interviews and on the spot the updates from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We are going to track down the Munich influence at this festival, and explore one of Munich's most appealing sister cities. I hope you enjoy reading about it, as much as I am enjoying doing it.

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Newsflash! Big cities can be rude. We all know it, and in Munich it is not usually the case. For a city that has 1.3 million residents, Munich has an amazing small town feel. So much so that it has even earned the sobriquet Millionendorf "A village of a million people." Granted, the knife cuts both ways and the phrase can be used pejoratively to call the city provincial. This is of course only done by those with an utter lack of perspective or the envious (i.e. everyone not in or of Munich).

The journey begins in earnest. Photo: Robert Johnson

The London Metropolitian area is at least 7 million people strong and has a reputation for brusqueness that, although not as bad as Paris, can leave one wondering why they came in the first place.

Not so this year, gentle readers. London is putting its best foot forward for the Olympic Games and it shows. If you have been following our coverage here at the Munich Eye of this intrepid reporter's trip to the Fringe, then you would have seen that he is in fact heavily laden with a lot of kit. London is not a wheels friendly city, as anyone with a stroller and a child could tell you.

This has not changed. Not one bit. In fact, it's even worse. Many familiar connection from one end of London to the other have been changed temporarily to one ways in an effort to help people find their Olympic goals.

In fact, a certain reporter for Munich's English language local was trapped in St. Pancras station for about an hour trying to navigate the one way paths, because they all lead to the Olympics. No one really planned for people who weren't going to an event. There were no exits to local trains on my side of the station. There was a lift, despite it being at the end of a mile long tunnel at the other end of the station, in the opposite direction that was necessary. Take your exits where you can get them ladies and gentlemen. Photos to follow. A more tunnel like tunnel does not exist in Great Britain.

Back to the luggage. I will break protocol use the personal and admit, after two motorcycling accidents my back is 20 years older than the rest of me. This year I thought taking the dolly would help. In London it became the worst sort of hindrance. The little steps in between the varying and unexplainable half stories that make up all the underground stations were quite difficult to handle with a herniated disc. Soldiering on, and taking it one step, literally at a time, was possible, but as you can imagine, after a 10 hour train trip, very discouraging. And then...

Lo and behold, the spirit of London revealed itself to a very tired and somewhat discouraged travelling reporter in the face of strangers with that slightly twangy accent, asking "Do you need a hand?" "Let me get that." "Here there, let me help, all right then, lift up!" Quite unexpected from previous experience. Like the best kind of assistance, it was most welcome and definitely unexpected. Nothing heroic or superhuman - merely a decent bit of help. Decency which has not shown its face in previous visits.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that luggage was not the only thing that London lifted up on the first day of this trip. Good on you London.


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