Posted by: morgangoesabroad | September 24, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Many, Many Automobiles.

Let me start this one by first saying that this past weekend was probably one of the coolest experiences of my life. I met up with two of my friends from the states in Munich, Germany for the opening weekend of Oktoberfest and we had so much fun. It was so cool getting to see and explore a culture that I have had ZERO previous experience with. The journey started at the main train station where we all met up Saturday among all the Germans already preparing for Oktoberfest. Yes, in case you were wondering, everyone DOES where those funny little outfits (which I now know are called lederhosen and dirndls) and yes, I felt super under dressed and American not wearing one. Although I did get a kick out of the fact that I waiting for my friends on a bench surrounded by four big burly men in flowery overalls and pink checkered shirts…

We were fortunate enough to actually know someone through family friends who lives in Munich and took us in for the weekend. That absolutely MADE our weekend, especially considering how hard and expensive it is to find a place to stay in Munich during Oktoberfest. Saturday night we just went and walked around “Thereseinwiese” (the field) as the locals call it just to get a handle on things and it was super overwhelming. For some reason I always pictured Okotberfest as being an elevated version of Busch Gardens…and I was a little off. It was more like prom meets county fair meets party of the century. The food was AMAZING and I think I ate about six “brezen” (pretzels as big as your head) in three days. In addition to all of the tents where food and drinks are served (which for the point of imagery are less like tents and more like temporary CASTLES) there is an entire amusement park’s worth of rides and carnival games. Some of the tents close at a capacity of 11,000…so you can imagine how many people were there based on the fact that we couldn’t get in anywhere Saturday night.

Sunday we woke up early to go see the Oktoberfest parade which was really cool. Every brewery and sporting club in Bavaria had decorated a carriage and horses and entourage of members. Since we had a German-American as our tour guide and hostess, we watched from a street that was basically empty and got to get up really close. After that we walked around all of the main touristy spots in Munich and climbed the steps of one of the sister towers that is Munich’s symbol to get an amazing view of the city. Then we of course joined in the festivities for the rest of the day and got to meet a lot of interesting people.

On Monday we followed a similar schedule and went exploring around a huge farmer’s market to buy some food to bring to a “Bier Garten”. I thought these were really funny because as opposed to restaurants in the U.S. that are ‘byob’, they were ‘byof’ and all you bought were drinks. The one we ended up going to was really pretty and sort of like a picnic. After that we spent the rest of the day running around down at Oktoberfest, finally having gotten a handle on how things really work. Small world story of the century: We randomly ran into a guy who also swims in the Centennial Conference and is good friends with a girl on my team.  HOW does that happen not only in a different country but in an area of that country with 50,000+ people?! Crazy.

On Tuesday morning we all had flights out pretty early annnnddd that is when the real fun began. Long story short: I missed my flight due to a mix up of bus schedules and a severely limited understanding of the German transportation system (and language!). Bright side: I got to go on a full train tour of the German countryside I wouldn’t have otherwise probably EVER seen, and now know the transportation system like the back of my hand (keep me in mind if you’re ever in Munich!). Basically, I spent from 5am Tuesday morning to 2pm Wednesday traveling by myself on a very convoluted journey back to Spain from Munich. If it wasn’t for the SUPER generous help of the woman we stayed with, I might still be wandering around begging train conductors to let me keep riding even though my ticket had long since expired. In the end though, everything was totally still worth it, and I would do it again in a heart beat. Not that I recommend traveling by yourself in a strange country that you only know three phrases of the language (thank you, I love you, and cheers…) but even three days later I already see it as a huge learning experience.

Also, after finally getting back, Spanish has NEVER sounded more like music to my ears…

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Responses

  1. Glad to know you are safe and sound. How great to know you can handle yourself when the going gets tough.

  2. I believe you forgot one important german phrase I taught you…telling someone you had peanuts up your nose could have really helped you out

  3. I was so relieved to hear everything turned out fine from your adventures around the public transportation system in Germany. Your trip sounded fantastic, and you added humor to the trip getting back to Spain. You are a very independent lady!

    Love,
    Grandma


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