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

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