I know I seem to now always be starting my blog posts with ‘omg the past few days have been mental’, but, again, omg – the past few days have been mental.
The biggest thing to happen was Oktoberfest. Myself, along with 9 other fellow year abroaders, headed to Munich on Friday to experience one of the biggest festivals in the world (or, if not, the biggest). As they say (or, as myself and Lucianna made up on the train journey – YOHOYA meaning You Only Have One Year Abroad). This was exciting for me in many ways, with it being not only my first proper Oktoberfest experience (I’m sorry, Hannover, but yours just doesn’t compare), but it was also my first ICE train experience (the mega high speed ones), as well as the first time I’ve been to the south of Germany, as I’ve never been further south than Cologne. Though the ICE train excitement died down pretty much as the train left Hannover, Munich did not fail to impress.
Lucianna and I met with the rest of the guys who had got there before us at a little café, and Munich greeted us with hundreds of people dressed in Lederhosen and Dirndls, as well as a wonderfully (and sometimes impossible to understand) southern accent. We then set off for our… let’s say, ‘interesting’ hostel, which consisted of rows of tents, which had 28 beds in each, but were halved with a massive, what looked like, a bed sheet. After getting dressed into our Lederhosen and Dirndls, we headed back into town and had some food at a wonderful Thai restaurant. Afterwards, we headed straight back to the hostel, where we were offered a club crawl for 15€ which included free entry to all the clubs in the area (our hostel was right on the ‘Kultfabrik’ which is a big place with loads of clubs and bars), as well as a free drink in each one. Being hardcore, just myself, Rae and Shane took the opportunity, and, though it was an absolutely fantastic night clubbing in our Lederhosen, it did result in me shouting at our next door neighbours when we got back, as well as one hour’s sleep, but this did mean a hangover did not kick in before Oktoberfest.
We woke up (in mine, Shane and Rae’s case after our ‘nap’) at 5:30am, and headed for Oktoberfest. After getting there at 6:50am, the queue was already pretty big, and it wasn’t until 9am when the doors finally opened. Weirdly enough, still to possibly being a little tipsy/tired/dead, it didn’t feel like 2 hours and 10 minutes, and next thing we knew, we had claimed our tables in the Hofbräu tent and were standing on the benches cheering along with the other few thousand people there. The beers starting being served (not a clue how the women there could carry around 10 Maße, one Maß being a litre of beer, when I found it hard enough to pick up one) and the day of drinking commenced at around 9:30am.
I won’t go into too much detail with the whole event, but summed up: It was amazing, I wouldn’t change one bit, I ate a pretzel bigger than my head, I queued in the toilets for about 20 minutes, we lost some people, we found those people, a certain Exeter student downed a Maß with everyone watching and cheering along (and I got a video), I bought a t-shirt, and I ended up actually drinking just 2 Maße due to drinking so much the night before (3 tequilas… why, guys… why?!).
In the evening, Shane and I went into town to meet one of Shane’s friends who’s doing her year abroad in Munich, Heather, and we also found Beth and Charis, so we went to an Italian restaurant, Vapiano, for a bit of tea. I’ve heard a bit about Vapiano, but I must say I wasn’t too impressed with the food, bit it could have slightly been the fact the hangover was finally kicking in. Those salami in the calzone were pretty damn spicy though! Despite that, we planned to do the club crawl again (YOHOYA), but at around 11:30pm when we all arrived at the tent ‘ready to go out’, all 10 of us decided Oktoberfest had taken it out of us, so we had an early night (despite the creepy Scottish guy… he wasn’t too… sane? and resulted in us having to use a dirndl as a door lock).
Sunday came, and after me slowly waking most of the group up when I realised nobody else’s alarm had gone off (I apologise to those particular ones of you I frightened the life out of), we packed our stuff and set off back to the main train station in the rain. As Lucianna, Shane and my train wasn’t until 3:15pm, whereas the others’ trains were earlier, the three of us decided to explore Munich. By explore, I mean ‘explore and discover’ for me, but more just ‘rediscover’ for Lucianna and Shane. Munich, in one word, is beautiful. It weirdly reminded me of Shrek in Far Far Away, but it was amazing.
On the Rathaus, there’s the ‘Glockenspiel‘, which only plays at 11am when it’s not summer, so we were extremely lucky to have turned up there at around 10:45am! Basically, there are figures at the top (you can see in the picture) and bells start playing and the figures dance around. You can see more details on the link above on the word ‘Glockenspiel’. It lasted about 10 minutes long, and was actually really cool to watch, as well as hear the crowd react when certain things happened to the figures.
Then, it was food time, and after a massively long search, as well as a quick stop at the Hofbräuhaus which is a very big brewery in Munich, we ended up at a Block House, which followed by a dash to the U-Bahn station as the sky decided to absolutely chuck it down (and I mean absolutely chuck it down), meaning we got soaked in the matter of being outside for 15 seconds. Not ideal.
We met with Beth and Charis at Starbucks, where Shane was called Chung, and we all bought trendy Oktoberfest coffee flasks, and soon enough it was time for the train back up t’North. The train journey was no fun as there were no seats, but we managed to claim the only seats in the small on-board restaurant for the majority of the journey.
On Monday, we decided to go to Oktoberfest in Hannover, this time wearing our Lederhosen. Basically, we were mega, mega disappointed. Not only was it pretty much dead, but I’ve never been stared at so much in my life – why were Germans staring at us like we were weirdos wearing Lederhosen at an Oktoberfest? I do not know. What I do know though, is that Hannover Oktoberfest will never, ever compare to Munich. Not even the log flume.
Today has been an extremely exciting day. This morning, I had my favourite 4th class, and was basically asked 1 minute before the lesson if I could take the entire lesson, due to the teacher having to take the children to the school nurse (it was injection day!) every 5 minutes. So given a work sheet and a bunch of clothes, I improvised throughout, and the kids seemed to enjoy myself, as did I!
Afterwards, I met with none other than Phoebe, a very close friend of mine, and also future housemate when we return to Exeterland, and we had a little tour of Hannover, as well as some ice cream. It was brilliant to see Phoebe again after over a month, and also brilliant how she got the free ticket to and from Hannover! I’ll hopefully be seeing her very soon for our massive excursion back down to the South to Stuttgart and Tübingen.
As if today couldn’t have got more exciting, I had another flat viewing. Stress and year abroad seem to go hand in hand, and today was no exception. After worrying about student accommodation (should I email them? Why is the move out notice period 3 months? Why is the Internet limit only 4GB per week?), I managed to get a flat viewing in the Nordstadt of Hannover as I saw on wg-gesucht that they were searching for a Zwischenmieter (i.e. someone who stays in someone’s room when they’re not there) from 1st December until 31st May – 31st May being when we finish being foreign language assistants. Forever trying to be optimistic, I emailed yesterday, and I got a reply in the space of a few minutes saying I could see the flat tomorrow (i.e. today), so I did. After having a good chat and laugh with the people who live there, and falling in love with the flat itself, I got my hopes up, especially after Elsa, the girl who lives there, got excited when I asked if I could have visitors from England. Then I asked how many people were interested and how long it would take the to make a decision, and basically that shot my hopes back down. Then, suddenly, I got home an hour later, and there in my inbox sat an email saying they would love to live with me – so I immediately accepted! This therefore means that student accommodation is a no-go (phew!) and that I will be living with my mentor for the rest of October, and then living with another teacher in a guest room for November. Then, I will be moving into my new WG in December, which I really cannot wait for!
So, all in all, hectic days, and hectic days lay head, with moving in with my mentor, as well as hopefully a trip to the beautiful city of Cologne.