That was probably the only certain point of the European part of the trip because my cousin has lived here for 5 years and I haven’t seen her for just the same amount of time. I felt quite nervous about how I would enter this huge city and find the address but, as I wrote in the previous story, Gaby and Claudia solved my problems at a blow dropping me right at the address.

A hot bath, a bed, food… nothing but things which came just at the right time.

My cousin’s name is Veselina and her husband is Stefan. They married 5 years ago and since then they live in Munich. Not 3 months ago, they had a son - Tim - a big squalling baby who loves being the center of attention :)) Their flat is situated pretty nearly in the central part of the city, close to the Olympia park where the Olympic games were held in 1972. The neighbourhood is very peaceful and tidy and the building they live in is 50 years old and yet looks better that a 5-year-old Bulgarian block of flats.

Stefan works as seller for a bakery and confectionery chain and his shop is exactly at the square in the center of the city. Munich is an expensive city and in order to cope with the family budget he deals with choosy customers and foreigners 6 days a week, 8 hours a day, as well as 2 extra Sundays monthly. That is to say, each month he has 2 days off. For all of that he gets 1500 euros. Add 300 euros maternity leave and 150 euros child benefit and subtract 900 euro for rent, this makes enough money just to cover their monthly expenses.

As early as tomorrow, regardless of the intermittent rainfalls, Stefan and I went out for a walk. On Sundays all shops are closed and tranquility reigned in town. On Monday, however, to my surprise I found out that even on weekdays tranquility reigned still. There were no shouting people, no traffic jams, no car horns.

First we walked about two of the parks. They are of such vast size that everybody can find what they look for - alleys of huge autumn-tinted trees, vast open areas of green lawns, ponds and summerhouses. It was obvious that the bad weather can’t stop the Germans not only from riding their bikes and jogging  but even from playing football in the parks. It is generally known that most people of Western European countries use bicycles for transportation, yet their amount amazed me. In motion, parked, abandoned…

While walking in the streets, I was looking for some waste containers which we skilfully and delicately skirt around on the pavements and streets of Sofia but there were just none of them. The mystery was solved on the day after, when Stefan decided to throw the garbage out. I saw they were hidden in one garage where a truck picks them from twice a week.

On the pavements there are some boxes in which the newspapers are. You open the lid, take one newspaper and put coins in a slit for that purpose. Stefan, who has been in Bulgaria many times, told me, “If those things were in Bulgaria, somebody would steal the money from them.” But I made a correction - if those things were in Bulgaria, nobody could steal them because nobody would have put money in it :).

Stefan likes Bulgaria but he likes it as something different and exotic. Probably due to the fact that people normally like what they don’t have.

Munich is a city where modern and old are combined in an exceptionally clever way. In the center most buildings are antique, with a beautiful architecture, and the most outstanding one is probably the city hall. The huge height, all those stone ornaments, arches, statues in combination with the bright red flowers make it a really impressing building. In general, the atmosphere in the center is really pleasant and the Bavarian songs coming out of the street musicians’ accordions put the finishing touches on the scene.

Although most people would like the tidiness and the silence reigning over the city, and probably over all Germany, personally I feel like I wouldn’t like and could not live in such a place. The feeling I get from it is like a museum - tidy and sterile. Cold people, living quietly and close in their flats.

Those three days elapsed rapidly and it’s time to move forward. The next goal is to see Frankfurt.

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