Heaven and Helles.



This weekend the gorgeous girls organised a fantastic two day trip to a sleepy Austrian village, with the help of Niklas. It was absolutely brilliant and a well-deserved weekend of R&R. We rented a chalet and managed to get a good deal because it was out of the ski-season. A celebration was called for as last week because Niklas “Finnished” his internship ahead of starting his final year at LMU. We knew whatever happened it was going to be a good weekend. And it certainly did not disappoint.

Hopping down to Hopfgarten.

Straight after work we met outside the office and divided into two groups. We took a load of essential supplies as well as warm winter clothes. Amongst the mandatory items were food, alcohol, biscuits and alcohol…to name but a few (not to mention some good quality Bavarian beer). Like a good British tourist, I was overdressed from the start and stood grinning at everyone in my clumpy snowboots. “Marcus vy are your vearing your Schnee-boots? Are you making a trip to zee Äntarctic, or samsing?”  I wasn’t too worried about enduring a bit of ridiculing, because I secretly knew that I’d be the one laughing in the end!

Ready for the weekend!

So we ventured off in Prince Charming’s Ford Fiesta and Inglorious Ingo’s Škoda Fabia to Hopfgarten im Brixental, a snoozy little alpine village not far from Kitzbühel. Looking out of the window, I began to understand the raw beauty of the Bavarian landscape, the evergreen pine trees and foothills of the mountains. After less than an hour on the Autobahn (Richtung Salzburg)  we were away and enjoyed a cheeky bit of racing and overtaking before quickly making our exit. After a pleasant stretch on the motorway we were soon accelerating up winding roads singing along to Robbie Villiams – Angels at full volume.

Chateau or Chalet?

After a remarkably short journey we were suddenly there. The chalet did not disappoint and we unpacked immediately. The plan was to find a restaurant in the village below. At first this proved tricky, but because Niklas’ family have a flat in one of the neighbouring villages, he was able to orientate himself and we eventually found a rather swanky restaurant called “zeitlos”. Having had more than enough beer for a lifetime in the past couple of months, I decided to become a sophisitaced red wine drinker. The meal was equisite and although paying seperately turned out to be a complete nightmare, the ambience and good conversation and great company more than made up for it.

All the interns: Thomas, Sisom, Niklas, Jean-Remy, Selina, myself, Ingo, Juliette, Lena and Anne-Charlotte.

After a leisurely pudding we went back to the chalet or Ferienwohnung (holiday house) for a few more drinks and  we drank the night away. We played Ludo. Twice. And me and Juliette lost both times, despite rolling a fair amount of sixes. Shortly after the second time of playing JR was so bored that he actually went to bed – who could blame him, to be fair.

The following morning I woke up last out of everyone and was still in the shower when everyone was ready. Thinking that no-one would have noticed my absence, I carried on singing and scrubbing away, much like I would with the Fabian Family in the Isle of Wight.  I opened the kitchen door and I saw all these civilised Europeans. I was like…what? They were all poised holding various cutting implements and I began to think that they had lured me to Austria because of my juicy thighs and that they in fact intended to eat me. (Who could blame them I would fetch a fair few steaks). But that wasn’t the point. No, instead they were waiting for me. Waiting for me. So I sat down and pretended that this was a normal experience for me and we began to eat.  The massive European breakfast was delicious, of course. Then it came to plan the rest of the day. Since the sky was just giving us an outline of the mountains due to the heavy fog and sleet, we decided to remain inside for the day. But at the same time we didn’t want to spend the entire day in the chalet itself. Niklas then suggested that instead of hiking (which the Brit and the Finn were up for) we should instead go swimming! The French and Germans couldn’t handle the poor weather, as a Brit I tried to explain that if we decided not to do anything when the weather was bad then we would never get anything done. This unfortunately fell on deaf ears.

Instead we spent the day in this luxurious Thermalbad which was sort of like a leisure centre similar to Latchmere (which has a wave machine by the way) but also had a salt bath where you could lie back and float, whilst listening to gentle music played from an underwater speaker system. Then I noticed the slides…Everyone was being really mature and pretending they didn’t want to go “rutschen“. As I was deciding whether or not it would be weird to go by myself, it occurred to me that Jean-Remy would be up for it! Being almost as immature as me he practically jumped at the opportunity to get some serious sliding in. After a little more relaxing in the various indoor and outdoor pools, there’s only so many times you can be excited by the concept of bubbles going on and off, sos we decided to retreat back into our log cabin. At this moment I began to notice the sheer cliff face and the trees as the fog cleared. What I saw was simple yet amazing. I could see the mountain freezing from the top down as a white mist engulfed its tip. Such a simple sight was very beautiful to witness.

We arrived back to the house and it was early evening so we decided to get the drinks in (obviously). And then it started snowing. This evening was to be effectively like the video of Wham! – Last Christmas. The girls had managed to procure two Raclette sets (yes “racleeeeeeeeeette” – joke for Granny) and we tucked into yet another feast. Having got battered inside on the Swedish equivalent of Bailey’s we were all ready for the snowball fight that then ensued. Yes, that’s right, unable to contain ourselves, the excitement had just got too much and we ventured out into fairly deep snow at two in the morning.

On Sunday we woke up maybe a bit later than usual. We woke up to the most amazing snowfall you could possibly imagine. Literally a blanket of whiteness engulfed the mountain. it had now been snowing for around 15 hours. The snow just made everyone feel great and what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than a bit of free white powder?

Sisom and Lena on the balcony.

Another view from the 318 balcony.

We are all missing Niklas at work now and it’s definitely not the same without him. We struggle on though and look forward to meeting up with him soon. Here are a few more photos of us lot from the weekend.

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So today is the 31st of October…and what does that mean? Hallowe’en! But what I find brilliant about Bavaria is that they will be introducing a Tanzverbot (literally a dancing ban) from midnight tonight onwards, meaning that bars and clubs will have to shut early. You can imagine an angry mad Bavarian King declaring “Zee act of dancing is currently forbidden!!” And since the Germans only really go out at around midnight…bars and clubs may as well not open at all. Religious holidays are taken very seriously and citizens have the right to call the police if you make noise during a Feiertag. And they often invoke that right. Allerheiligen or All Saint’s Day is a day of rest, relaxation but most importantly reflection. There are no amount of pumpkins or trick-or.treaters that can change that. I have to say I do admire the Bavarian ability to withstand American culture, perhaps us Brits could take a leaf out of their forest.

That was all for you own information – it bears no relation to my plans whatsoever because I won’t actually be in Bavaria for Hallowe’en. This evening I am travelling to a land far far away to surprise a very good friend of mine. If you are reading this blog…we are coming to surprise you tomorrow!


Meet the Fuggers.

Hello again and apologies for the small delay of this post. It’s been a very busy week.

Summary. This weekend was yet another hectic one! Last Friday, Simon drove to Munich with two mates in a truly Inbetweeners-style car. We went out then they left on Saturday afternoon. In the evening I visited a Turkish restaurant with Ludo and a couple of other Erasmus people. We then went to Augsburg with a whole bunch of students on Sunday.

Living it up at the Hostel California

On Friday afternoon I met Simon and his two colleagues (Flo and Sebastian) at the fountains by Universität. We started off with a Maß at the Chinesischer Turm in Englischer Garten, a compulsory checkpoint as anyone who has visited me thus far will know. This is mainly because of the beautiful environment but also due to the tuneful brass music.

Having quenched our initial thirst, we trotted off to Sausilito’s, a well known bar in Türkenstraße. It had great ambience and fairly good-value cocktails. Yes, a couple of group deals were enjoyed. We had a fair few drinks, after which the cherry on the cake was the heroic emergence of “Prosecco Barney” just before we were about to leave. He earnt his nickname by ordering a bottle in shortly before our scheduled departure from said bar, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. He then bagan generously pouring glasses and sending them down the table in a sort of pass-the-salt attitude.

By this stage we were all fairly tempura* and we headed off to an edgy club called Neuraum, located behind Hauptbahnhof, the closest station actually being Hackerbrücke. The night started off well and we headed downstairs to the main clubbing area and straight to our table. When you book the table you actually pay by guaranteeing that a certain amount of alcohol will be consumed. I learnt long ago that forcing Jägerbombs down Simon’s throat, although fun while it lasts, will almost certainly lead to extreme emesis. In my old age I knew that, much like a fine wine, the Jäger must at first be aired so that the drinkers can psychologically adjust to its prescence, thus off-setting the vomitus projectilis effect.

A great night was had by all, Good Deal** played a couple of times which was very exciting for me and Simon, and a bit like “what?!” for everyone else. The usual amount of piggybacks were achieved and we all left content yet stumbling at around 3:30am. We still can’t quite yet party like the Germans – they will often stay out until sunrise which is ridiculous in my opinion.

Ich verstehe nur Hauptbahnhof

The subsequent Saturday was spent luxuriating in the sun in the English Gardens after having chewed our way through – let’s be honest – disgusting burgers at best. If you are in Munich make sure you don’t go to La Cucaracha’s for food. Though I’m sure you wouldn’t anyway. Of course there is a bot of Ostalgie attached to it because it is where me an d Nath had our first beers of Year Abroad. Like many of our jaunts it is indeed round the corner from Hauptbahnhof, and conveniently a stone’s throw from Hostel Central. The sun was shining and as any good Englishman will know…when the sun is shining that means you must be abroad. With that in mind we headed straight back to the Englischer Garten. After all, it had been almost twelve hours since we were last there.

Through the day I realised that I was without two items a chap simply can’t live without. Vision and a gilet. This is like a combination of first and third-world problems, I guess. So on average it’s a second world problem. Ok a gilet is obviously a bit of a first world problem, nevertheless it didn’t make it any easier being blind. Vision is probably a third world problem I had taken my contact lenses out the night before and therefore was stumbling around the city not being able to see expressions on people’s faces or to read signs. Luckily I now know the city like the back of my hand, by that I mean I know where the park is and also the main train station. So as the afternoon drew to a close we said our fairwells to the boys and sent them on their way back home to Stuttgart.

In the evening, myself and Ludo were feeling pretty hungry and so we did what hungry people do all around the world. They try to find Turkish people. Not to eat, but to find that internationally renowned piece of meat that delicious treat: the kebab. Having dabbled in a Turkish language module last year, I took it upon myself to essentially practice some of the vocab I had learnt. All you need to know in Turkish is how to order food and drinks. Judging from my textbook, Turks spend all or most of the day drinking Raki and eating aubergines, not to mention plenty of hummus. My kebabulary is now fairly decent, the only problem is that small talk starts and finishes with declaring that “I’m from London”.Anyhow, I managed to remember the word for bill (Hesap) just in the nick of time.

Sunday was not a day of rest. Instead we thought it would be a good idea to go West to Augsburg.  Our initial impression was Croydon-esque at best. As soon as we stepped off the train, the Brits amongst us were blamed for flattening the place 68 years ago.

Sadly, Augsburg is still suffering the consequences of the Allied air raids carried out on the night of the 25th and 26th of February 1944. Meanwhile the Finns were still making jokes about “decorative adjustments to the city by the RAF”. The Brits amongst us came under a heavy fire of criticism for essentially bringing the city to the ground. Although we can in no way compare this suffering with that of the citizens of Augsburg, whose city centre was anihalated during the day by 8 AF (US Eight Air Force) and during the night by RAF Bomber Command with 594 Aircraft, killing 730 people and injuring 1,335. In total 85,000 people were left homeless as a result of the destruction.

Augsburg is the third largest city in Bavaria and since all good things come in threes it also boasts being Germany’s third oldest city, having previously been a major trading hub between Italy and Germany. Generations of bankers made their fortunes here and the mercantile class ruled Augsburg for many years. The banking families even got the Renaissance ball rolling as they funded much artwork throughout the city. Interesting fact: it is also the only city in Germany to have its own legal holiday which takes place on August the 8th every year.  This means it has more bank holidays than any other region in the Bundesrepublik.

Childishly imitating the Emporor’s stance with  Léonard and  Augustus.

NB the fountain is out of action in the winter because of low temperatures and therefore covered.

Fugger, the most established banking family established the world’s ver first council estate. It is still in use today and the prices have been unaffected by inflation. This means that even today only costs 83 cents per year to live there. The only condition is that you must pray three times a day. A pretty good deal I think. Although many Muslims would laugh at this – they pray five times a day and don’t expect free rent. Famous people who have lived there include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s great-gradnfather Franz Mozart.

In a matter of hours we are heading off to Kitzbühel, Austria this weekend with the colleagues hopefully in the style of Wham’s Last Christmas. It’s going to get chilly so many layers have been packed, not to mention snow boots!

*See previous post for explanation.

**Traditionally sung to the tune of “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida/Avici

The Only Way is Essen.

This weekend Mum and Dad were in town! They decided to opt for a city break, which is convenient seeing as I have now set up residence here.

Friday evening: I met Mum and Dad at a rather suave hotel and to fit in I decided to pretend I was James Bond by walking up to the desk very abruptly in a dark jacket. Coupled with my sinister and serious attitude I decided to speak more than one language in the vicinity of the receptionist, mainly to throw her off. Yes, that’s how I roll. We had a good catch up in the hotel room whilst we prepared to brave the drizzle in search of traditional German eateries. In the lift on the way down we agreed that it was in fact best to plan tomorrow once we were intoxicated.

To my dismay, all the good restaurants seemed to be booked out. Just when I was starting to wish I had booked somewhere ..anywhere…where else did we stumble upon on Friday evening but the Hofbräuhaus! The world famous beer house has been delivering mouthwatering, thirst-quenching beers and starchy grub since it was founded in 1589 by the then Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm the 5th.  Amongst the regulars were Lenin, Mozart and Hitler, though presumably not at the same time (Hallo ve’d like a table for four…Bismarck vill be joining us at eight sirty). Without being too flippant, we embraced ourselves for a messy night knowing that on previous occasions the antics had in fact inspired World Wars. Without a moment’s hesitation we ducked out of the rain and hurried on inside just before Mum started making jokes about sausages (she had by this stage already expressed a preference for restaurants which offer more than just porcine recipies). As the men of the party, myself and Dad took it upon ourselves to look not only busy but authoritative, by sorting out a table. We tried our best to get the attention of the waiter. A waiter, we thought naively, would surely be polite, accommodating and friendly before leading us away to free table. We were wrong. Not in Germany. Politeness is inefficiency. You’d have thought I’d know by now that waiters weren’t as friendly as in the UK. And like any normal Brits we were immediately displeased with a foreign queueing system and publicly criticised it, mainly because we didn’t understand it. However, out of the corner of our eyes we noticed Mum waving a bit manically at us. She was giving us the signal. The technique she had employed actually predates me…it dates back to her days in training with the Grandparents at Saffron Walden car park…my Mum’s side of the family have yet to be defeated in the theatre of war that is Car Park Management (shout out to Granddad and Grandma!). Nowadays you could probably dedicate four years of your life to a degree in Parking Studies. Before we knew it we were working in synchronisation like a team of honeybees supported by the Queen Bee (Mum, of course). She had managed to chat to a smashed Irishman and partly because of his drunken stupor, partly because of her charm she secured us a table. We waited…poised and ready to pounce once the current guests eventually decided to leave.

Once sat comfotably we ordered drei mal Maß, drei mal Schnitzel (mit Pommes, obvs). We got our three Steins without a problem at all. However, the waitress had misunderstood me and brought a meagre two Schnitzel with chips. Deep breaths were in order…but I instead decided to vent my dissatisfaction with the situaiton in the direction of the waitress, to whom I had clearly repeated the order to…with counting on fingers and everything. In the style of Inglorious Basterds, I then realised that I had used my middle three fingers to describe the number of Schnitzel required, instead of the Germanic thumb, first finger and middle finger. Needless to say she was very apologetic and continued to bring me a steady supply of Jäger shots as I waited for my food to be prepared. Andy and Alex took almost no notice because they were busy tucking in to the grub and discussing the different merits of the Bavarian delicacy. Both were absolutely loving the lemon juice sqeezed onto the breaded meat. So we eventually washed our meals down with another beer and stumbled back in the direction of Marienplatz. All feeling fairly tipsy we rejoiced in Germany’s ability to provide brass music, hearty meals washed down with frothy beer.

Hofbräuhaus with Mum and Dad

Saturday: Some of us feeling slightly worse for wear, we met at BMW Welt at around lunchtime. We had a look around at all the cutting-edge technology in the German automakers pristine and iconic King showroom. BMW Welt really showcases the future of automotive travel. The secrets lie in the heart of this building in the new electric cars the BMW i8 and the BMW i3. Awestruck by the shiny cars, we took a look at Rolls-Royce once I had persuaded Dad out of the Junior-Campus kindergarten room. I then found myself dragging Mum away before she convinced herself that buying the new Phantom was a good idea. We grabbed a snack and no sooner had we started chomping away on sausage, than a chap from Husqvarna Motorcycles had started revving up. He showed off by giving us an ironic indoor display of one of their new off-road bikes. It ripped around the showroom going up and down stairs, doing wheelies and other cool tricks. Every kid wanted a photo with the motorbike man after the display – it was a truly spontaneous and unforgettable performance. We then decided to hit the BMW Museum located just over the road, right in the shadow of the awesome BMW-Vierzylinder building.

Andy & Alex at BMW Welt/BMW-Vierzylinder. We keeping you up, Dad?

We took a quick look around the museum and were amazed at the different types of early engines. So many cylinders…so many changes in design – it really showed just how far BMW had come in so many years of innovation. As the weather was fantastic we decided to take a quick walk up to the hill in Olympiapark where on a clear day there is a breathtaking view over Munich with the mountains in the distance. Deciding to capitalise on the great weather we then headed straight to the Chinesischer Turm at the Englischer Garten for needless to say…a couple of Steins. Andy was still feeling it from Friday night but me and Mum didn’t want to let the side down so we cracked on and got zwei Maß Weißbier in. Having drunk previous generations of rugby players under the table at Oxford…Mum was polishing off her Bier in no time at all – a great effort indeed.

Sunday: The Munich Marathon happened to be on and we cheered on competitors including the leading woman who was miles ahead of everyone else, including a load of older men. We paid a visit to the Alte Pinakothek (recommended by Alfie) which is a massive art gallery near the Technisches Universität München (TUM) main campus. The Alte Pinakothek was very interesting indeed and gave a great overview of some impressive pieces of art throughout the centuries. And because Sunday is a cheap day to visit museums, we paid 1€ each for the pleasure – not bad in the slightest. The only thing that did get on our nerves was the blatant disregard for British art, the gallery made a point of displaying zero English paintings. Still though, you can’t change the fact that we are associated with the flag of St. George. So there! If you like to see Jesus doing some of his magic tricks then you would have loved this place. He was a real magician. One minute he was dying (on and off the cross) then he was being reborn. Then he was being a baby again. Mary was also ascending and descending throughout, if that interests you. To really appreciate the amount of different pieces of art, a quick morning visit simply wouldn’t suffice. It was a marathon in itself. In the early afternoon we decided to call it a day and head in the direction of the university to a very trendy Thai restaurant. The last thing we wanted was more German food! Again the weather was bright and despite being a bit chilly in the late afternoon we managed to sit outside comfortably in the fresh air having demolished our various dishes. It was then that Dad came up with a pun that will go down in history. He described my chemical state during Oktoberfest as “tempura”. Tempura being battered shrimp. “Were you absolutely tempura, Marcus?”

Mum and I doing our best to look edgy.

I really can’t thank Mum and Dad enough for taking time out of busy schedules to come and visit. They treated me very well indeed and I believe the weekend was a huge success. But best of all it was great to just see them again and I now look forward to coming back and seeing the whole family at Christmas and finding out how everyone is getting on.  I am very lucky to have had so many people visit me already – may it continue the entire year.

Weapons of Maß Destruction.

Tuesday 9th October 2012

“I’m in a theme park, and the theme is beer. Where am I?”

A cheeky pose from Angus. (NB Exclusive Olympic Watch).

If you’re bored of hearing about Oktoberfest then turn off now. Trying to describe this weekend is going to be hard. Partly because after the weekend I’ve had, typing itself is a stretch, but also because it was the best weekend of my life…so far. So much happened in so few hours. I’m not really sure what could top it. Bungee-jumping off Mount Everest? Taking an easyRocket to the moon. Going back in time? As we know, all good things must come to an end, eventually. But not before a lot of beer, banter and babes had been enjoyed.

Friday night. Right. Let’s start from the top. Having completed a necessary resupply at LIDL (including enough Nachos to feed the Mexican army), I was anticipating the arrival of my guests. Simon & Scouse would be the first to turn up, travelling from Stuttgart and Tübingen respectively. They arrived at Westpark and without any fuss hopped straight on the U-Bahn and were with me in the early evening. They came bearing gifts! A fantastic retro Stein which is now standing proudly on the mantlepiece. We had a bite to eat and started a Peep Show marathon which would take us later than expected into the night. Our next arrival was the lionhearted Nonie the Nomad, who has recently moved to Berlin to start her Year Abroad. She gets the most points this weekend because of her sheer spontaneity. She had been in Germany less than a week. So why was she so determined to come to Munich? Her reasoning was that she might not get a better excuse to come to Munich’s universally recognised beer festival in the future. You only live abroad once (#yolao) etc. On Thursday night she decided she was coming. I gave her my address, thinking she wouldn’t actually get round to sorting out transport and dirndl etc. How wrong I was. Sure enough she was heading to Munich at 200kmph on Friday evening. Great effort, especially as she knew her predicament. Staying in a room with six lads. Four of whom she had never met. A brave girl to say the least.

Simon, Scouse and Nonie were here. So that was three down, three to go. The cheeky chappies Adam & Euan are a bad influence on each other at the best of times, and with a combination of spite and sheer excitement (what you could call “exspitement“), they defied my warning of “peaking too soon” and of course got mildly merry on the train journey from Magdeburg (their nearest big town). But to be fair they had five changes (don’t get us started on Deutsche Bahn!) so they had a pretty good excuse. Euan sort of gave himself away when I answered his call. As soon as I’d picked up, he simply blurted out “FABIAN. OKTOBERFEST. HAUPTBAHNHOF” with Adam giggling in the background. I rolled my eyes at Si and Scouse – from then on we knew these two tipsy lads – armed to the teeth with Burger King – would be a force to be reckoned with.

Some hours later…

When Adam and Euan finally got in at around 01:30, they were pretty lively and got us all a bit too fired up. Their childishness rubbed off on all of us and before we knew it we were all rolling around on the floor laughing so much we needn’t do a core workout for some time. All the while we were getting updates from Sam who was travelling in from Hamburg. His journey had started off with a minor delay which then turned out to be a more major delay. Because of previous cancellations he was on a particularly crowded train and at some point the driver decided that actually he didn’t want to be a train driver any longer but that in actual fact his calling in life was to be a taxi driver. Unfortunately for Sam, this wasn’t only a change in career path but also a change in his path to Munich. The train stopped at Hanover then went backwards. Then, once it had got back on track, it stopped at every village on the way down to Bavaria, dropping off induviduals whose trains had been cancelled. Sam’s ETA had changed from 01:00 to around 05:30. He held out and eventually somehow made it to mine, despite the uncivilised hour. What was even more impressive was that even though he must have been absolutely shattered the following morning but he was a real trooper and showed no signs of weakness. Well, sort of.

Friends, Germans, Countrymen. From the left: Euan, Scouse, Adam, myself+bananas+radishes, Sam and Simon. Excuse my face – I think I was eating at the time.

Saturday day. Having attempted to cook a full English, we were ready and on our way to the Theresienwiese. Radishes and bananas at the ready. We met everyone at the Schottenhammel tent including Greggers, his housemate and Kirstie, and managed eventually to get into the outside seating area, but not into the tent itself. Had the weather not been perfect, we might have been dissappointed, but as it stood we were more than happy to sip our Steins in the sun.

Cigars and Pretzels. Greggers and Hannah on the right. Everyone looking cool.

So there we sat the entire day. Initially I was worried that – radishes or no radishes – we would all be in a horrific way by the end of the day. As it turned out we paced ourselves really well and throughout the day only sunk around five or six Maß (Steins) each. We made sure we ate throughout the day, popular choices being traditional Bavarian “Hendl” which is a succulent roast chicken. Some “tactical naps” were taken by Sam and Vinnie along the way. And apart from a rather troubling episode involving Adam getting molested by a creepy man called Tobias whilst on the phone to his girlfriend, everyone made it through to the evening without a problem. He seemed to be adopting a “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it approach” which was dangerous to say the least. Needless to say he is on the road to recovery and I’m sure after a few months of intensive counselling and therapy should sort him out. Seriously though, he assures us he is fine.

Enjoying the sun with Miles, Kat, Nonie.


Having stayed around the tent for most of the day, there came a time in the evening when we decided to head off around the park. At around seven or eight we were stumbling around the festival enjoying the weekend to the max and I think we were just genuinely happy to be reunited, even if only for a while. We went on as many roller coasters and dodgems (whilst wearing colour-filtered glasses – try it!) as we could until we realised we were either broke or lost. Going on rides and rollercoasters whilst drunk has got to be one of the most exhilarating things ever, i can definitely recommend it.

“Wir feiern die ganze Nacht” with Vinnie, Angus, Sam, Nonie, Euan and Kirstie. All loving life.

But wait! Where were Scouse and Adam?

Scouse and Adam taking a well deserved break from it all.

Absolutely shattered and with Adam and Scouse nowhere to be seen, and since their phones were either dead or out of credit, we decided there was no option other than to crash out at home. We eventually made it to our respective homes Saturday night which is exactly what we did ready to go straight to bed. Our concerns about the Liverpudlian and the Leicesterian were short lived and  they were home before midnight which was even earlier than predicted.

Sunday. My favourite quote of the weekend came from Euan. Having got out of the shower he delcared: “Marcus. I’m really sorry, but I’ve accidentally turned your bathroom into Bangladesh”. Unfortunately, the weather continued in much the same vein and it was a drizzly day. However, we braved the town and went for a fantastic five-star Schnitzel at the Augustiner Bräu just off Marienplatz. Afterwards it absolutely poured it down but we nipped on the U-Bahn one stop to Hauptbahnhof. We were accompanying Adam, Euan, Simon, Scouse and Nonie to the main train station so they could meet their various connections on time. So after all this who was left? Sam and I, obviously dressed for the second time in Lederhosen. As well as Angus, Miles, Vinnie and Kat who were flying out in the evening. Did they have time to come to the final day of the festival? Of course they did. And inside the Armbrustschützenzelt the atmosphere was unbelievable. We soaked up the last few house of carefree fun and learnt a few Italian drinking songs. My GCSE Italian proving to be almost useless apart from the brilliant phrase “Ci sono molte da fare qui” which can be used little or often in any context, because all it means is “There’s lots to do here”.

As I fell asleep last night my ears were ringing with “Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit”. Robbie Williams hits were going round and round in my head. I’m slightly glad it’s over, because another week of Oktoberfest definitely would not have been good, both fiscally or physically. It’s been an amazing couple of weeks and I can’t thank everyone enough for making the effort and braving the journey to Munich and putting up with the accommodation. I am please to report that everyone got home safely. Now to plan our next trip…

The Good, the Bad and the Olga.



Over the past week I have been reunited with my good friend Ludo, viewed some houses and attended Oktoberfest, obviously.

Saturday: It was great to see the boy Ludo, we haven’t seen each other since school but by coincidence he is also in Munich this year to study at LMU. He has been looking for an apartment, so I accompanied him to a couple of viewings on Saturday. The first landlord was just a normal guy, the second was a wicked witch. Ludo obviously preferred the wicked witch of the east. We set off in the morning to get some house-viewing done, and weirdly the overcast weather had made the Fernsehturm look almost like a second-hand maraca, rather than a TV tower.


Once upon a time there was a very intimidating Russian landlady named Olga. She was older than the trees. We pressed the buzzer to her apartment and instantly knew she was a nutter because she had taken the time to etch KEINE WERBUNG in black marker next to her surname. After an initial click, the door creaked open and we shuffled inside the dimly lit entrance. In true horror-movie style, the door slammed behind us and we could see our breath in the cold, damp foyer. If you can call it a foyer. Before we could even gather our thoughts, she burst out of the lift in a cloud of dust, clutching a larg green rug firmly under her left arm whilst her right arm was confidfently outstreched to embrace me. She told us to go upstairs and wait for her whilst she took the rug to the cellar. Guessing that she was in fact preparing a lime green cauldron, we embraced our inevitable deaths and took the lift to the third floor. To make things worse, she had a proper cackle, again more signs that she was in fact a previous Slytherin housemistress. We waited outside her apartment, even though the door was wide open, trying to remember if it was Hansel or Grethel that got cooked in the stove. When she finally came back upstairs she howled with laughter at our reservation and to ease the tension, she cracked out a Chernobyl joke. Needless to say, it didn’t break the ice.

Ushering us inside, she looked like she might actually shove us into a giant microwave and stick us on high for 15 minutes, if not 20. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a rack of carving knives and wondered how many children she had previously butchered. Whilst giving us an interesting but completely unneccessary history of the surrounding area, she mentioned a grand church that was round the corner. Clearly our reaction wasn’t enthusiastic enough and she asked us worriedly whether we were Roman catholic or not. Every few minutes she would interupt  with “MOMENT….langgggssam. Ich bin nur eine alte Frau…”. At which point we really didn’t know if we were being rude or whether she was just a complete nutter. Having said that though she was by her own admission completely mad. She explained that “Ich bin ziemlich crazy aber nicht soo crazy”. Yes clearly Olga, whatever you say.

“Jazz ist ziemlich modern, Doppelglas ist sehr modern.” ~ Music and construction were just some of Olga’s interests.

Olga seemed to be recovering from integrating with other nationalities as she explained how different previous tenants had used the shower. “Die Griechen und Japaner duschen hier” pointing to the floor. “Wir duschen aber hier” pointing to the bath. “Verstehst du? Ich weiß noch nicht, wo die Engländer duschen”. This was followed by a lengthly cackle whilst glancing to and from myself and Ludo showing a horrific grin when she displayed her sharp canines and and black, worn-down incisors. (All the better to eat you with). Anyway, Ludo was a massive fan and rang her the following day. Needless to say she had apparently found him too loud and on this basis had rejected him. Sad times. But hey, at least my friend won’t get boiled alive by Outrageous Olga.

Sunday: Every year the middle weekend of the Wiesn is an unofficial Italian weekend. As expected they invaded our city and effectively ruined Oktoberfest for the weekend. Ask anyone, who isn’t italian and they will agree. So naturally Munich was full of outrageous amounts of the people, bringing this time not pizza nor pasta, but bad attitudes and worse facial hair. On top of this they brought atrocious weather. The cheek of it! Thanks to the horrific concentration of them I was unable to get into a tent to see friends and instead had to wait in the rain inhaling their second-hand smoke, only to be turned away and end up going home a bit miserable. So as you can imagine I wasn’t best pleased. The Aussies, Americans and Brits may get bad names but we are definitely not the worst tourists. We may be mental and do a few silly things but at least we do so with the best of intentions. Definitely looking forward to the coming weekend which will be truly a gentlemanly and English affair.

This Tuesday we were all dressed in Lederhosen at work, for one reason and one reason only. We were all headed to the biggest event of all time: Oktoberfest 2012. A Tuesday night, you say? That seems a bit irresponsible…even by Marcus’ standards. Normally you would be right, but this Wednesday was Tag der Deutschen Einheit or the Day of German Reunification. This is to a nationwide bank holiday to celebrate the unification of East and West and the creation of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland. We had tables reserved in the Armbrustschützenzelt, one of the most prestigious tents and a great time was had by all!

The lads!

And finally a huge shout out to early birds Angus, Miles and Vinnie who travelled from deepest, darkest Yorkshire to be in Munich for the next few days! We will be joined on Friday evening/Saturday morning by Simon, Sam, Scouse, Euan and Adam probably in that order but we’re not 100% sure. Definitely cannot contain my excitement. This will be the real reunification.