My first blog post! And because the past three days have been pretty crazy, it's going to be long so prepare yourself...
So I left Newark airport on Wednesday night to head to Munich. But getting on the flight was not as easy as it sounds..both of my bags were overweight by a LOT. Not to mention insanely heavy. The airlines were trying to charge me $500 for the extra weight...they then said that I could buy a third bag for $40 and only pay $200 instead. Half the price but still. Definitely could not afford that...
Fortunately, I got lucky. I met these three really nice guys who had just graduated from Cornell and were headed to Oktoberfest for the weekend. They offered to help me take out the heavy stuff and carry it for me in plastic bags as their carry-on. A little sketchy that I let random strangers carry my stuff for me? Perhaps. Frowned upon by the bitchy airline lady? Most definitely. But my other option was far less appealing..So I finally checked all my bags (without paying a single dime!) and with boarding pass in hand, I headed to the gate. Meanwhile, these three nice guys each carried a plastic bag full of my stuff (mostly shoes) and definitely received several comments from security...Thank God for nice people!
The plane ride was especially long because we had to turn back around to Canada after some woman needed to be hospitalized-I've never seen something like that happen on a flight before and it was pretty scary. Fortunately she ended up being okay but it did delay us 3 hours. Luckily I was entertained by The Hangover and some free wine (gotta love transatlantic flights)!
After finally arriving in Munich, I somehow got my luggage to the central station with the help of the boys...only I didnt know where I was going (Clearly, I think ahead..).
During my stay in Munich, I opted to couchsurf (couchsurfing is an internet site where you stay with people who offer up their couches-free of charge obviously). Saves a lot of money and is not nearly as sketchy as it sounds! After this trip, I'm a huge fan-it's a great way to meet the locals and make a friend in a new city (while saving money on hostels/hotels of course!)
Only problem was that I didnt have Sebastian (my host's) address nor did I have his phone number on me. Fortunately I managed to find an internet cafe across the street from the central station where I got his number and some nice Germany boy let me use his phone to call Sebastian. He then helped me carry my luggage all the way down to the subway and directed me to the subway I was supposed to take. I love nice people :)
I finally got to the subway stop and managed to get all my luggage up the escalators one by one. From there, some very nice lady helped me get my luggage to where I was supposed to meet Sebastian (and finally did!). I'm really not sure what I would have done without the help of all these random strangers! But after meeting Sebastian, we went to his apartment where two other Swiss guys (Jonas and Thomas) were also staying with him. From there, we all headed to Oktoberfest...
And so the craziness began...One thing (among many) that I love about Oktoberfest is that everyone is in a really good mood, so friendly and making friends with everyone else around them. So we ended up squeezing in a table with a large group of British guys who definitely made it a fun afternoon/night!
The next day we walked around the city a bit (so at least we could have done something other than drink beer for 3 days straight!) and met up with a Swedish guy (named Love-such a cool name!) that was ALSO going to stay with us tonight. While near some church in the center of town, I saw a few of my younger Kappa sisters riding a beer bike! I'll get to what that is in a minute...Very cool and just goes to show what a small world/city Munich is!
After some more wandering, we got a beer at Haubrahouse (no idea how to spell that-shows how good my German is..) because it's 2 euros cheaper and we wanted to stop in for a bit before encountering the masses at Oktoberfest. The beer garden that we sat in was adorable (and MUCH less hectic than the Oktoberfest tents of course). Then, we headed to the fest and went into the HB tent this time, where we saw the SAME British guys from the day before! Once again: small world. 6 million people come to Oktoberfest and we see the same group of people two days in a row! We were pretty excited. We sat down at another table and made some new friends and then joined the British lads a beer or two later. PS: If you've never been to Oktoberfest, a beer is not just a beer-they all come in pints...oh, how I love Germany :)
Later in the night things got crazier and so commenced people dancing on tables and getting rowdy. How can you not have fun at Oktoberfest? It's pretty much impossible. After we left (everyone gets kicked out of the tents at like 11pm) we headed to a club where my REAL drivers license got turned down because the bouncer claimed "this is a really bad fake ID." I showed him my other forms of ID but no dice..You only have to be 18 to get into clubs and I'm almost 23...seriously? Fortunately Oktoberfest had worn me out anyway so I wasn't really in the mood to go clubbing..but it was still slightly frustrating.
The next day I finally met up with 3 people from my program (Victoria, Allie and Geraldo) who had been staying with someone else on couchsurfing. But their host was not nearly as cool as mine because he didn't a) show them around the city or b) party with them...haha. We ended up going on a beer bike tour (told you I would bring it up again) which was basically one large bike (that fits like 15-20 people) with a bar in the middle. Then there was a big barrel of beer in the front and a tour guide who steered it in the front. Everyone pedaled (well, most people did) and drank beer whilst cranking some good ol' American tunes and also getting a tour of the city. It was the best tour I've ever been on, hands on.
And alsooooo on the tour were a bunch of Wake juniors that are studying abroad and here for the weekend. I repeat: small world! I only knew one of them but it was really good to see her and our group definitely made the bike tour more fun. When we were getting on the bike, there was a huge crowd just watching us and taking pictures. I think people were pretty fascinated by what we were doing, haha. And while we were riding around the city, many onlookers also seemed very amused and people continued to take pictures. I'm sure it helped that everyone on the tour was female (minus Geraldo). That was one of my favorite parts of the trip, for sure. Only complaint is that I wish it were longer!
We then wandered around the English gardens (where there were nudist men lying about-don't really get that in the States) and later, had a beer in the beer garden and practiced our French with 3 Parisian boys. C'est très excitant! Allie had to leave to catch a flight to London so Geraldo and Victoria brought their stuff to Sebastian's place because their host was leaving. It was late by the time we got to his place (like 8?) but we went to Oktoberfest anyway and managed to get into a tent.
Jonas and Thomas came to our tent and met up with us later on in the night. There was also a lady walking around with a breathalizer, where people (like Jonas and Thomas) would pay like 3 and a half euros to see what they blew. The girl would then yell "Blow, blow blow!" I thought it was pretty funny how they make a breathalizer test into a game/way to earn money at Oktoberfest. Somehow I can't see that happening in the States, where breathalizers only conjure up images of uniformed police officers, vehicles and handcuffs. So I thought it was interesting that something taken so seriously back home was all simply fun and games over here. More reasons to love Europe!
We ended the night at a chill restaurant/bar and sort of wandering around the city, hesitantly checking out clubs and such. Nothing quite as exciting or crazy as Oktoberfest!
Overall, it's been an awesome trip and I've had a great host who's helped me see the German way of life a bit more! Having a crazy time and making friends with random strangers has made it well worth the 8.30 euro for a pint of beer. But I do have to say that I am pretty excited about entering a NEW country where I speak more than three words in the native tongue. "Non sprekensei deutche"(spelling??!! exactly-I can't even write it) -will no longer be part of my vocabularly-for now at least!