Mein Krampf.


Last Wednesday I headed off to Stammtisch with Rémi and his mate Francis at Sausalitos im Thal, round the corner from Marienplatz. It was a good night if a little bit warm, but I guess that’s what you get when you go to a Mexican restaurant. Actual humidity comes free of charge. “It’s actually hot – just like in Mexico!”, exclaim overexcited Germans, probably.

The day after we arranged to visit Niklas because he has a bad foot. It was so good to see him again on Thursday and hear that he’s enjoying being back at University. We all wish him a speedy recovery with his injury, which is on the mend already. The highlight of the evening had to be Lena trying to encourage Esperanza to speak German, in order to learn. With a well-meaning but disastrous translation from German she firmly declared: “Esperanza. You really need to exercise”. This obviously caused a raucous cacophony of domino laughter, realising one after the other, what exactly had happened.

On Friday evening I had found myself craving an Indian. I’m referring to the food of course, not some jolly rickshaw driver. Although that would be useful in terms of commuting. Having said that: Monday morning on the Frankfurter Ring is hectic enough – it would probably go down like a Zeppelin crammed full of Nazi Gold. So Barney had found a great Curry house coincidentally round the corner from Ludo’s (he was in Austria at the time though so unfortunately missed out). Before meeting Barney at Lehel, I bumped into the first colleague, in what was going to be a very colleague-infested weekend. Good old Eric was on his way to Oslo to see his girlfriend. After a brief chat, the infamous Prosecco Barney turned up. We made our way to the restaurant and not only was the service excellent, but the meal went down a treat. Barney also exposed me to the inner workings of the Oxford Crew Dates. Needless to say, the evening wasn’t quite as apocalyptic as these Oxford students sound. Afterwards we were off for a drink in the Fünf Höfe. It was then that I bumped into Mohamed, another colleague from the department. Very random indeed. Barney and I had a few cocktails with JR and Juliette and a couple of Barney’s acquaintances turned up. A fairly early night was had by all as most people had planned to do some form of sport on the Saturday.

On Saturday morning I arose and decided to go for a jog with a springy Frenchman. Jean-Remy destroys most French stereotypes, he doesn’t smoke cigarillos, he doesn’t have one of those Garlic necklaces they’re so fond of, but he is often late. This wasn’t the case on Saturday when we met outside the Olympische Schwimmhalle, located somewhat unsurprisingly, in the Olympic Park (which hosted the 1972 Games) . Unlike many frogs, he doesn’t carry a white flag in his back pocket, not even for emergency use. Comical stereotyping to one side, the French are of course, usually first to surrender. This also wasn’t the case as JR, like some mad Norman warrior started shooting off “up the mountain”. I most certainly didn’t do Her Majesty proud as I stumbled up the hill after him. In fairness, I did have horrific cramp (hence the title of this post).

“You love Munich, Marcus. But your belly, he does not love Munich so much.” ~ Jean-Remy

The run was never going to turn out well because JR is fit as a flea, but at least I turned up. It’s the taking part that counts, right? No, it’s not the taking part the counts, it’s the not-being-last that counts. To make things worse, the the pool was closed for the filming of a dubious German TV show. The best way to explain it is the German equivalent of Dancing on Ice, but rather than dancing on the ice like civilised people, they somehow create a show by forcing C-list celebrities to spontaneously dive. When it comes to ideas for awful TV, the Germans really have thought of everything, including an annoying title to accompany it with: Das große TV Total Turmspringen 2012.

So we jogged to Nordbad, another pool which was “nearby”. It was a pretty well designed pool although had the odd length of 33m indoors. It did also have a heated outdoor section. It turned out to be very similar to Michaelibad, only located just south of the Olympic Park. He was also unsympathetic to my cramp (hence this week’s title). I bumped, or rather swam, into Florian another colleague at Nordbad.

In the evening I arranged to have a couple of drinks at mine and we then went into town to the “Milchbar”. It was a good night involving Barney (without Prosecco), Nath and myself having a few civilised drinks before going home in the early hours.

“Auch die schlechte Tänze müssen getanzt werden.” ~ A German idiom I learnt from Rémi (yet another frog).

Sunday was a very relaxed day with nothing much of interest occurring. But we were all excited for the Christmas markets to open on Monday! Eventually we decided that Tuesday would fit better to all of our timetables and I met Prince Charming, Inglorious Ingo, Schöne Selina and Lovely Lena at “Tollwood” which is an edgy Christmas market with loads of stalls supplying everything from your Native American Indian essentials straight out of a wigwam to massive marquees. Everyone is selling Glühwein for around 3,00€ so it’s a good deal to be had by all.

This morning it has started to snow and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop. The temperature is just above freezing and it looks like it’s set to reach minus 17 degrees Celsius this weekend. Wish me luck!

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Fitness and Fits.


The weekend was enjoyable. On Friday evening we decided it would be a good idea to have a few drinks at the Wohnheim. We then got a few beers in from Real and of course, a cheeky bit of that dangerous spirit. Jägermeister. It was good to get a bunch of the interns together and hear about everyone’s different experiences. Here is some vocabulary that I used on the night.

21 Essential German Party Phrases

hast du heute Abend schon etwas vor?
up to much tonight?

könnten mal etwas irgendwo trinken?
we could go and get a drink somewhere?

kommst du heute Abend zum Party?
are you up for getting battered tonight?

dann sag mir Bescheid, ob du zum Real mitfahren willst
let me know if you want a lift to Real (big supermarket with even bigger deals)

weiß noch nicht
not sure yet

muss mal schauen
we’ll have to see

hast du Bock?
are you up for it? (lit. do you have a goat)

ich wollte mal Samstag in der früh ‘ne Runde Sport oder so machen
I was sort of thinking I’d get some sport done on Saturday morning.

naja aber bist du dabei für ein Bier?
yeah but are you up for a beer?

auf gar keinen Fall
NO!

auf keinen Fall
definitley not

vielleicht
maybe

kann sein
potentially

auf jeden Fall
definitely

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DISCOUNT! Very strong traditional spirit only 8 pounds sterling

du warst total fertig Marcus!
Marcus you were completely finished!

keine Sorge
no worries

kann passieren
it can happen

weißt du was das schlimmste ist?
and you know what the worst thing is?

ich hab’ so einen schlechten Kater
I’ve got such a bad hangover

…und ich muss heute auch ein bisschen Training machen
…and I still need to do some sport today

Saturday was spent mainly lounging around, and teaching one of the natives how we Brits are able to cure a hangover. That’s right, I’m of course referring to God’s greatest gift to cuisine; the hearty English breakfast. I switched theme in the evening to blend in with the Europeans and we opted for pizza in Stiglmaier Platz with Esperanza, Niklas and Nath.

Having neglected excercise in recent months in the pursuit of beer-related activities, I finally decided on Sunday morning it was time to start running off the Oktoberfest belly that I have acquired in the name of “cultural integration”. What better way to kick start a fitness regime with a really unrealistic goal: a triathlon in the Olympic Park! It was of course the appropriate moment to don the London2012 Games Maker shoes – the Olympic spirit lives on. It ended up being a sort of mini-triathlon and thankfully I didn’t bother to measure time spent or distance covered. All I knew was that I was completely ruined afterwards because I kept doing each part until I was well and truly shattered. It’s currently Wednesday afternoon and my legs still haven’t recovered from the beating. The highlight was finishing with a 1.2km swim which was the most I think I have ever swum. I have also discovered that instead of paying 4€ every time like JR has been doing for the past 5 months, it is actually possible to get a Student Pass which is valid for 6 months and only costs 15€. Deal!

On Monday evening like some sort of Channel4 missionary/4OD Jesuit, I introduced Ingo and Rémi to Peep Show. One of the greatest of British TV and a knew series is back on UK screens this Sunday. They understood, enjoyed and most important of all, appreciated the humour. Watching it with them I felt like I was watching it again for the first time.  Although both are more than competent in terms of English, it really highlighted to me so many British words that can’t be easily translated into German or French. And also how much difficulty I would have translating them into French. They reckon that Mark Corrigan is stereotypically British, which had never really occurred to me, but I suppose he is.

On Tuesday I went home and had finished doing my washing, just like any normal Tuesday. When suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard a massive crash. It sounded like someone had poured out the contents of a kitchen out into the landing. At the time I thought it couldn’t be anything serious and part of me was tempted not to check what it was. Until everything went quiet. That was when I knew something wasn’t right. As I made my way upstairs, a spoon came hurtling towards me from above, ricocheting off the railings. I cautiously followed a trail of smashed pieces of plate, with a newfound suspicion for airborne cutlery and crockery. I felt much like Hansel only without Grethel and in a sort of IKEA setting, rather than a woodland trail. Not that they enjoying a weekend in Centreparcs, they obviously had a serious job to do.

There was a bit of commotion and I noticed a bloke completely still lying on the stairs. He was definitely not in a good way. As I took out my phone to ring 112, I noticed that someone else was already speaking with the Emergency Services. All of a sudden the chap that lay still on the floor started having what looked like an epileptic fit. He entered several different episodes, going in and out of consciousness. After around ten minutes, it was apparent that the Paramedics were on their way. Just before they arrived, the man in question picked himself up off the floor and started walking upstairs. Whilst trying to get him to take it easy, we chatted to him about what had happened and he thanked us for our help etc. We then promtply advised him to take a few minutes to rest whilst we got him some water. The patient was of a thin build but was nevertheless at least 6’6″ and weighed a fair amount. At this point the two hundred centimetre tall guy looked blank in the face and fainted. We were only just able to catch him before he hit the ground. Then I decided he needed to be moved to a more secure facility, so that the Paramedics could analyse his situation more easily.  I took a knee and gave some brief orders. Since my bedroom was the closest, we proceeded to evacuate him to my room and laid him on the bed.

By this time his mate had been informed of the situation and came rushing in. As he then sat on the bed and checked if his friend was ok, it became apparent that he was also not in a great way either! It did look extremely suspicious. To the untrained eye, you would have thought that these boys were both high as kites.

Because of patient privacy, I was then advised to leave my own apartment by paramedics as they tended to the patients. I was then given the order to collect the Notarzt. Think Mary Poppins but with fewer umbrellas and more fully equipped BMW X1. I heard the sirens get louder and started to think about any lessons lectures or seminars even vaguely related to Emergencies.

Afterwards when the paramedics and Notartz had left, we had a chat with the two men in question. Partly to make sure they were ok and partly to make sure we never smoked what they were smoking. I did of course what any stoic Brit would have done and supplied a steady stream of superficial jokes to ease the tension. The first patient turned out to be a professional basketballer and explained that he was 100% against smoking of all varieties, apart from shisha, he said, which was just to relax him.  They confessed they had been smoking on a shisha pipe for four hours upstairs together with his mate and had been on his return journey to his room on the ground floor.

Despite the medical dramas, it was a good week and I look forward to Stammtisch tonight.

Bye-Bye Bavarian Ben.


This weekend has been a lot less busy than the last few. Nevertheless, we had plenty of fun on the weekend.  On Friday, I went out with the colleagues. It was obviously a great night, we went to a bar called Cafe Cord near Sendlinger Tor where Sisom and his friend joined us. When they left then the rest of us proceeded to “089 Club” in Sonnenstraße with Jean-Remy, Ingo, his girlfriend, her flatmate, her two friends from home Lea and Pia as well as a fellow student called Michelle. I think everyone had a good night, especially Jean-Remy who was in a perpetual state of celebration the entire night, presumably due to the rapid injection of BECK’s into his bloodstream. Ingo and I – along with a battered JR – amused ourselves by providing a constant flow of songs translated loosely into German. One example was “Bewegen Sie, Hund…geh aus dem Weg. Geh aus dem Weg, Hund, geh aus dem Weg”. This didn’t get tiring for us lads, but the fun started to wear off for the girls pretty quickly. Take note guys; German girls are not easily impressed by such tomfoolery, it must be said. In spite of this, Selina, Lea and Pia were really fun to go out with and hopefully we will see them again in the near future. At the end of the night we all said our goodbyes and myself and Ingo argued about which fast food outlets were the best in terms of value. We parted ways at McDonald’s, after it dawned upon me that I really am more of a Burger King man. The meat is juicier and the service is better, in my humble opinion. My customer loyalty came at a price, however, and after a half hour detour I returned from Hauptbahnhof to catch a bus home. It turned out a couple of days later that poor Ingo had in fact taken a wrong turning and got completely lost and in his desperate panic, he then rang Selina who gave him directions via Google Maps back to his house (which is literally round the corner). Rule number one of drinking: ensure you have hearty meal beforehand. An extension of this notion is “Kein Bier bevor Vier” . This phrases meaning that no beer should be consumed before four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the many German drinking rules I have learnt from Inglorious Ingo.

On Saturday, I was summoned to Starbuck’s by Nath, who was undertaking some important administrative business. Our plan was to then do some of the toursity things which, as semi-professional beer drinkers, we had neglected in the past few months. By a strange coincidence, Selina, Pia and Lea strolled in like zombies to purchase revitalising Frapuccinos or some such other girly drinks. We then joined them on doing a little bit of sightseeing around the city centre. Of course we ended up going to the Chiesischer Turm in the Englischer Garten for a nice mug of Glühwein. The entire afternoon we were cracking jokes and Nath remarked that Germans are actually a really good laugh. Granted that his scope was limited to these three charming girls, but still it was sort of an insight.

Nath, me, Selina and Lea outside the Bayerischer Staatsoper. Photo taken by the lovely Pia.

As many of you will know, I have had the pleasure of living with a Bavarian, namely Ben, for the past six weeks. He has been a great friend to me and we have had a lot of fun together. Any fun that I had on the weekend was sadly overshadowed by yesterday’s news that Ben was planning on moving out. On Thursday (today). The distance from work, the fact that our shower curtain doesn’t work, the uncomfortable location of work, our lack of internet connection and the fact that I was always there, getting in the way of romantic evenings with his girlfriend all became too much for BB and he informed me on Wednesday morning that he was leaving. Before I had time to react, it became clear that he had already signed the contract for the new apartment whcih is closer to work, has internet…and most importantly it is a one person room. The condition was that he had to move in right away, as the had just been refurbished.

Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the fact that this was his first time living away from home let alone living in a big city. Apart from our shared love of both Burger King and KFC, you could say me and Ben were polar opposites. I, being a Londoner who owns a pair of Lederhosen, he being a Bavarian who not only doesn’t own Lederhosen but proudly wears David Beckham’s newest fragrance and sports a Manchester United shirt. Great times together include teaching him the ways of the British student (now an endangered species after the hike in tuition fees). For example, I explained how the main goal of the taxi drivers in Leeds is to secure a deals for the students and thereby hooking in customers. He would then compare their accents to that of German-speaking Raj in is favourite TV show: HowImetyaMazzer. I have learnt huge amounts from the clean and efficient electronics engineer that is and always will be Bavarian. I aspire one day to be more like him.  I want to thank him for being supportive to me as I was finding my footing in Munich – I have now progressed to the level of an Intermediate Form-filler-outer. Ben was only too eager in helping me to sign forms which I had forgotten to fill out and thereby ensuring that some German, in some tax office somewhere in the Bundesrepublik had their “Formular Fetish” satisfied that day. I wish Ben great success for the rest of his internship and indeed his Ausbildung and hope that we will see each other every now and then before he leaves in February.I now wish him all the best as his finds peace and quiet in his own newly furnished apartment with internet and a fully functioning bathroom!

Bavarian Ben

The final theme I will write about today is something I have been putting off for a long time. Learning to drive. Even though I have now realised that I do need to learn to drive pronto (and sort of require it for my job), unfortunately, it looks like I won’t be able to afford the course that I wish to do in my only week of holiday in the first week of January. Annoyingly enough, the student loan comes in the week after I would be able to take the course and I will have no other holiday for the rest of the year. Since it is also extortionate and difficult to do it in Germany I think I will have to wait until next year to complete it. Financially I’m not far from the total cost of the course, but far enough that the dream probably won’t become a reality. Unfortunately money doesn’t grow on cars.

Surprising Serious Sam.


Thanks to the Pope and a couple of thousand years of oppression, a bank holiday was declared on Thursday the 1st  of November. Something about all the saints rising up? Putting our bibles to one side, there was only one thing for it: a city break! Firms will often award their workers with a Brücketag meaning you get the Friday off as well making it a relaxed three-day week followed by a cheeky five nights of weekend.

Captain’s Blog: Stardate 09.11.2012.

If you read last week’s post you’ll know that Hallowe’en wasn’t even celebrated in Munich this year. They genuinely banned it. They essentially had had enough. They could ban it all they want in Bavaria but they couldn’t stop us doing what people of all nationalities do that like to party: simply migrate further North (whether it be from London to Leeds, Juba to Khartoum, or Sana’a to Riyadh – to name but a few examples). Taking advantage of this foolish Catholic generosity, I travelled together with my Jewish friend (Semitic Simon) to join my Protestant brothers in arms in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Our objectives were clear: 1) to surprise Serious Sam by rocking up to his work thus severley reducing the gravity of his personality & 2) to soak up the atmosphere by penetrating the heart of the city’s vibrant nightlife. This would be a four day operation, encompassing over 3000km of sheer voyage. The surprise was made all the more hilarious by the fact that Sam was convinced that Si was arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday. (What an idiot – he believed us!). Little did he know that not only was I coming from Munich (big news) but also Euan was making the trip from Wolfie as well (also news). Euan’s plan was to arrive on Friday and to leave on Saturday. Obviously that didn’t happen. Due to various persuasive friends he ended up staying Saturday night too.

Wednesday 31st October
Let us start from the beginning. Once again back in the comfort of Prince Charming’s luxury Ford Fiesta we left an empty office at around 1700hrs. We departed Munich in October and arrived in November and it honestly did feel like it had taken us a month to get to the North, even to get out of Bavaria was a task as everyone had the same idea; visiting friends and family. After what is normally an hour long journey to Ingolstadt we ended up taking around three. We passed the time by chatting to our carsharer, a jovial Italian man called Fabio (obviously) from South Tyrol who spoke perfect German but with a strong Italian accent. Having built up a bit of hunger it didn’t take us long to decided it was time for a solemn Burger King before Nuremberg, as we sat there we attempted to digest not only the traffic situation but also the saturated fatty acids we had just gobbled down. After around eleven hours on the road we eventually ended up in Hamburg at around 4am. Having subsequently checked into the Generator Hostel, I proceeded to my chamber of choice, I found Simon, who had arrived a few hours prior to me, asleep at his station and spread-eagled on my bed. Bed Number 7! Too tired to kick up my usual fuss (what would have been the point, anyway?), I clambered reluctantly up to the top bunk where I promtly fell into a deep sleep.

“You sound like you’re from Landungsbrücke”

Thursday 1st November
We awoke bright and early on Thursday morning after only a few pitiful hours of sleep but credits where credit’s due the beds were comfy indeed.  There were some friendly girls in the dorm who we impressed with our plans to surprise Sam at work, we added them to a long list of people who were in on Germany’s best kept secret. Conversation swiftly over, we opted for a continental pastry and were on our way to the Hafen City. After a few minutes of walking our city boy instincts kicked in and we got ourselves day tickets which entitled us to use some of the many transport services on offer. The most useful of which is the U-Bahn. Before we knew it we were en route to Sam’s place of work; only one of the most well-respected advertising agencies in Germany and one of the most successful in Europe. Their modern office looks over the state of the art Hafen City and has a fantastic view even from the ground floor, it is not a stretch to imagine that the panorama gets better and better as you venture further up the building into the suave meeting rooms.  We have to remember that Sam works in advertising and he assures us that some members of the “Creative Team” even come in wearing snap-backs and jeans (for our older readers these are the baseball caps with the flat peak, instead of a curved one and is comparable to the modern flat cap). That all said, Sam did indeed look like he was having a somewhat “Casual Thursday”.

“What are you guys doing here? And how the hell do you know where I work?”

We didn’t travel across Europe’s largest country empty handed, we came bearing gifts of course. And we brought arguably the most flavoursome beer in the world: Augustiner Helles*. Because, you know, we’re good mates like that. The plan was to plonk both bottles on his desk, but this plan went about as far as the reception because we were denied upstairs access. Instead we explained our story to the sectretary. We filled her in on the details, reciting perfectly how I had left Munich in October and arrived in Hamburg in November travelling over 800km in an overwhelming 12hours and cutting Germany right down the middle in order to be here. She then rang Sam, explaining that there was a package that he needed to collect from reception. (In case you don’t follow: There wasn’t really a package…she just said that to trick him into coming down to the reception!) I know, sneaky Germans.

Needless to say he was definitely surprised to the max, although managed to contain his excitement over a coffee in their cosy cafeteria. Myself and Simon then had roughly an hour to kill as Sam unfortunately had to get back behind the wheel of the German economy. We then decided a trip to the Rathaus was in order and we went up in the lift and read about the destruction of Hamburg in WWII. Afterwards we checked out the Miniatur Wunderland which houses a collection of complex train networks and is one of the things you have to do when in Hamburg.

Some people loving it, others also present.

After a leisurely lunch at one of Sam’s trendy local jaunts, myself and Simon got the list of “things we wanted to see in Hamburg” out. In an attempt to ascertain whether there would still be tickets available for the legendary König der Löwen (Lion King), we went to some of the different box offices located along the sea wall just a stroll down from Hafen City. If you then look over the harbour you can see the Theater am Hafen which boasts a huge picture of Mufasa’s mug on it. This spectacular theatre is only accessible by boat and each musical has its own transport vessel, decorated differently according to the production it associates with. Unfortunately, they were sold out for Thursday and the weekend but there were two tickets going for the Friday evening. It was pretty much fully booked because it was half term (or Herbstferien) throughout the Bundesrepublik. We were sort of tempted by the idea until she explained these were balcony seats and costed 120€. EACH. I winced at Simon and he winced back at me after which he grumbled something in Northern which I couldn’t quite make out but which I took to mean: “My dear fellow, I think we shall have to decline”.

The rest of the day was spent taking a bus tour around the town. Where we saw the world’s biggest shoe shop and learnt other interesting facts. Amongst other facts we picked up along the way were that at  Hamburg (2300) boasts double the amount of bridges as Venice (480) AND Amsterdam (600). Pretty cool, eh? Once Sam was done with work we met at one of his favourite Turkish restaurants where we had a typically delicious kebab, we expect no less now, since we are all fully qualified connoisseurs of kebabs. When evening turned to night, we found ourselves in a karaoke bar on the Reeperbahn and ended partying with some lads from Birmingham whose accents made CharChar sound like a sophisticated Southerner. The night was going fairly well until the end when everything just went simply mental. Having perhaps slightly raised the roof al little with my rendition of Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver, I returned to my beer and the audience waited to see if the next act could fill my boots. Then out of nowhere appeared what must have been the landlady, brandishing an armful of plates. During the following Robbie Villiams song she proceeded to smash a plate in time with the beat of the music. As if this wasn’t strange enough, I turned round to find one of the barmaids waving around a bottle of lighter fluid around and proceeding to squeeze copious amounts of it along the length of the bar before promtly setting it alight (taking the song We Are Young perhaps a little bit too literally).

Friday 2nd November
We awoke to the smell of burning and immdeiately we knew zee Germans were up to something. As I peered over the edge of my bed, bleary-eyed and cloudy headed, I noticed the Nurembabes were ferociously preparing breakfast. Unlike any normal people attempting to have a normal breakfast, we remembered they were very German indeed and had of course planned this event weeks ago. We realised they were refering to as a “Sandvich-maschine” which sounds like some form of equipment to torture cheese & ham was actually what civilised English people might call a “toastie maker”. Unsure as to whether we should form some sort of Allied Sandwich Force in order to attempt to liberate said Sandwiches from their certain firey death, we ended up engaging in a quick chat with the perpatrators who turned out to be rather harmless students from Bavaria.

Sam is a lucky man and has a snug apartment just a five minute stroll (or stumble) to the Reeperbahn. As Friday drew close, we were all up for a first proper night out so Sam organised a pre-drinks (which with Hindsight was perhaps a tactical error) and invited Kirstie (perhaps also an error). Whilst in Edeke trying to gather supplies for the messy weekend ahead, a slightly panicky Simon was trying to coordinate Euan’s arrival. “I don’t know what to do!” Having managed to just about calm him down and I explained that I would take care of Sam whilst suggesting that Simon disappear into one of the aisles (prefereably a kosher one) thus continuing his covert coordination. We stocked up on the essentials, careful not to buy anything which could do us any good. With a bag of frozen chicken wings, a crate of beer, a bottle of vodka and some weird pizzas split evenly between us, we found ourselves back at the flat. Half an hour later and we got our first knock on the door, and in walked none other than Euan “Golden” Graham. Man by day, Wolfie by night. Sam was again well and truly surprised and started to convince himself that Adi was on his way, having created an Inception-style alter-ego and visiting a pretend girlfriend in Hong Kong. Needless to say this was wishful thinking, not only was the girlfriend a real one and at the time Adam was indeed almost “Taken” in Paris before catching an Air France flight to the Far East. Some real life guests included Dan who had travelled from where he calls “sweaty Chemnitz” and brought along a friend who now lives in Hamburg. When they knocked on the door, we remembered that they weren’t aware of Euan’s prescence either!  So we arranged for Euan to jump out of a cupboard (which he did actually fit into) as they entered Sam’s room. The evening started off with many many Mexicanas (Vodka, tomato juice and tabasco in a shot for 0.5€ = deal). Some of our members were slightly worse for wear as we joked about doing an Otley Run style outing. Later on in the evening, the combination of surprise, good value vodka, cheap wine and beer took full effect on poor Sam and he was not in a good way. Simon proceeded to evacuate him from the Creeperbahn.

Saturday 3rd November
All fairly hungover we decided to do what any Brits would have done: head straight to the Irish pub. After an unconvincing game of football between Manchester United and Arsenal we knew it was time to head off. I think Man U must’ve won because Simon wasn’t depressed for the rest of the weekend. We decided it would be a good idea to join one of Hamburg’s famous boat tours despite the miserable weather. We refused to let a bit of rain dampen our spirits. We hit the Glühwein relatively hard and Sam ordered an extra shot of Amaretto to really kick the evening off. Euan was trudging around with his bag and contemplating listening to Lonely by Akon on his way back to Wolfsburg (which is a real place by the way – I saw it on a sign). After a few drinks at a pub near the Fischmarkt we had managed to persuade him to stay! Then began Saturday night. Of course we were out on the Reeperbahn once again, although this time drinking fewer Mexicanas. We went to an interesting club which really opened our eyes into the different ways dollar bills could be used. Fanstastic innovation. When we’d had enough of the frankly overpriced drinks we headed over for a last drink in the HSV Fan Quarter located just off Herbertstraße. Simon was proudly grinning and displaying his newly purchased St. Pauli scarf in the HSV fan quarter. (St. Pauli being the rival team in the city). Thankfully we noticed this before we went into one of their famously rowdy bars. Once Sam reminded him where he was, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone take off a scarf quicker in my life.

Sunday 4th November
The weekend in general was made all the more smelly by Sam’s refusal to shower and Euan’s propensity to supply our local atmosphere with a constant stream of farts. Despite the lingering wake of these smelly men,  enjoyment of our weekend increased by approximately 3.4% due to H&M’s current billboard campaign featuring the ludicrously luscious Lana Del Ray. We sometimes found ourselves stopped in amazement at the sheer and jaw-dropping beauty of that sparkling woman. It is safe to say we all have a soft spot for her.

On the one hand it’s an unbelievably sketchy city seething with serpents, riddled with rascals and crawling with creeps, but on the other hand it is full of green spaces and is technically Germany’s most liveable city. Despite it raining every single day without fail, we really enjoyed our time in Hamburg and it was great not only to see another part of Germany but also to catch up with good friends. Hamburg is certainly an interesting city but I have to say I was happy to find myself looking forward to being back home in Munich. Definitely no regrets that I am here in Bayern – I must have settled in now because I really did feel at home as we cruised down the usually stifling Frankfurter Ring late on Sunday night. On behalf of Simon and Euan and myself, I would like to extend a massive thanks to Sam for putting up with us at such short notice and we look forward to our next official group trip to Berlin in December.

Source: Interview with Ben (Bavarian) October 2012.

NB: Sam’s very own account of what exactly occurred during Oktoberfest all the way up until Hamburg.