03 January 2009

Like Belfast After a Riot

I don't see much of the city when I'm walking my dog. My eyes are scanning the pavement looking out for broken glass - something Munich has more of than any other city I've ever been in.

Since New Year's Eve the problem is worse than ever. My dog and I have been rolling and swaying along the streets like a couple of drunks coming home from the pub as we try to avoid the scattered shards. Perhaps smashing bottles is an old Silvester tradition I hadn't previously heard of. Or perhaps these people lack basic motor skills - and the basic social skill of clearing up after themselves.

Tonight on our walk we picked our way the Hauptbahnhof and I decided to take the U-bahn back. I descended the first flight of stairs, turned the corner and found that the next flight of stairs was covered in broken glass. I don't know how many bottles had been broken but every single step had broken glass on it and the shards were spread across the full width of the steps.

Short of picking my dog up or finding a brush there was no way of geting down these steps. I turned back, went to the information desk to ask where I could find a lift or alternative stairs. I explained about the broken glass. He shrugged.

I lived for two years in Tirana. It's not a particularly clean city, but in two years there I never came across anything like this. I grew up in Belfast, another dirty city, but we only ever managed to achieve this much broken glass in the streets by rioting.

This is a wealthy city. There's no excuse for this.

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