On Friday evening I met up with my Personal Tutor, Mandy who is Director of German Language Teaching at the University of Leeds as well as being a DAAD Lektorin. She is THE persion to know when it comes to the realm of Germanistik. We agreed to meet outside the Apple Store at Marienplatz and go and have a drink (non-alcoholic) somewhere. Upon hearing of our well-planned date, Ed Gallaway (who left without paying for his beer last week) then decided it would be a good idea to third-wheel us. I wasn’t quite sure how he’d got wind of it in the first place, but it was good to catch up with him too, even if he did insist on taking us on some mad wild goose chase around the back streets of the old city centre. Having stepped through a french window at the back entrace of a restaurant, we eventually got ourselves sat down in Paulaner im Thal. Little did I know this wouldn’t be the last time I would visit this place. We had an Apfelschorle (it’s just fizzy apple juice, but the Germans get a bit overexcited about it). I managed to speak almost entirely in German and I was happy to hear that my German has apparently improved a lot. Tick!
Back at the Wohnheim, Remi le Roi cooked a fantastic meal and introduced me to some of his colleagues, Sebastian, Christian (such German names), Melissa and Francis (fairly French names, yet all four admitted to being German – hmm…). He cooked a load of “délicieux” French food and even cracked open a bottle of cognac that his parents had brought him, presumably to really kick the evening off. Upon polishing off a bottle of red, he proudly declared “ca de plus que les bosches n’auront pas” which roughly means: “That’s at least something that the Germans can’t take away from us”.
“Ein echter Pirat sticht auch ins rote Meer” ~Christian.
Having just about finished a three-course meal after ten we headed off to Niklas’ highly anticipated Hau5 Party. After a few minutes of brief interrogation of Frnehcman (almost always neccessary) Remi was eventually admitted to the event. I had thought this process would run slightly more smoothly, but when in Germany, such administrative tasks become the norm: where are you from, who the hell even are you, why are you here, are you working in the country, are you Greek/Italian/Spanish etc). Niklas eventually handed poor Remi’s ID card back to him and we were admitted to the flat. As we opened the door, Jean-Remy shouted “Mahlzeit Marcuuuus” – and then we knew. We knew that everyone was completely and utterly battered. Prince Charming was pouring red wine into his belly-button (for some reason, and showing off his hairy chest to some LMU girls). He is usually more charming than that. I promise. As per usual, Ingo (wiz zee cool hair) came out with another cracking Sprichwort at the house party:
“Woher nehmen, wenn nicht stehlen?”~Ingo (when opening himself a beer).
Where should I get it if I don’t steal it?
We made our way to Ruby in Stachus and a good night was had by all. Drinks were flying around, shots were all over the shop, Remi was falling all over the place, Jean-Remy was blind drink. All of these memories are hilarious. What I will say to my apprentice Christophe is the following: “Christophe you have learnt much along the road of Babology. Your powers are becoming stronger”.
On Saturday I woke up and recovered from a brutal hangover. The ingredients of the hangover potion are ancient, but contain a modern twist. Force a Frenchman to watch British comedy. We started off with the Inbetweeners, but Remi didn’t warm to it – mainly because he was suspicious of Jay’s British hair.
Continuing my Bavarian travels, I visited Nuremburg (Franken) on Sunday, in order to see the world famous Christmas Markets. At Hauptbahnhof we met the MESA Erasmus Group and they sorted out tickets for us. I also happened to bump into my mate who plays Basketball for MTSV Schwabing. They had a match against Bayreuth in the afternoon. This is one of the things I quite like about Munich. It’s a city in its own right, of course, but it’s still small enough that you are constantly bumping into people. On the registration list, I managed to just about scribble down United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a tiny box intended for one word, which I found pretty hilarious until I saw a column of “Italy, Italy, italia, Italy” , at which point I looked up only to find that there were lots of very confused bearded men looking at me with an air of scepticism. “Eh Marco, why you write so many word for country?” Whilst waiting for the international biffs to eventually put pen to paper, I did what Londoners do on a daily basis – strike up conversation with a Polish person. Medical Maciek (as he was known from the start) is studying Medicine (surprise surprise) here at LMU but is from Krakow. I could tell me and Maciek were going to get on from the start, as his first impressions of the city were the same as mine. We quickly became friends and planned what we were going to do in Nuremburg. Upon arrival, we were both disappointed with the “English weather” and decided it would be best to hunker down in a Bierkeller somewhere until the dreariness had blown over. So that’s exactly what we did. We headed to the Hofmühl Bierkeller, a stone’s throw from the main Christmas markets.
We exchanged stories and he explained how cheap and awesome everything is in Krakow, whilst we took a look at the menu. Bearing in mind it was coming up to one o’clock, I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to order a beer. Maciek felt otherwise and we both got a Weiß‘ in. Then came the food. I ordered not six, not eight but TEN Nürnberger Würstchen with a side order of Saurkraut. (Andere Länder, andere Sitten). And they were fantastic sausages. After digesting our meals, we felt it would be best to end on a high. So the desert menus were brought to us immediately. Of course we ordered the most Bavarian thing on the menu. Apfelstrudel with custard, pomegranate, laiced in a wild berry sauce. It was to die for. Undoubtedly the best Apfelstrudel that I have ever tasted/ever will taste. During the course of the meal Maicek and I realised we share a love for Woody Allen and Weißbier. After the food we wandered around the markets tasting all the different varieties of Glühwein. It was amazing.
On Monday, Far-Eastern Felix cooked a Chinese (what else?). For someone who is more of an Indian-lover at heart, it was difficult to get that excited about. Having said that, the soup was great and Felix invited his mate Joe (not Farrag) as well. Joe is also a Chinaman (of course) but has slightly more dubious opinions about the communist party and basically thinks that Chairman Mao saved the Chinese people from themselves. To me, this was like waving a Chinese flag at a bull and I refused to accept his rather patronising explanation of how amazing this tyrant eradicated hunger and mobilized Chinese industry such that it has become a leading world power. Some of which is a fair point. Who cares about systematic human rights abuse when you are exporting little McDonald’s toys by the millions.
Tuesday night was the big night. Dreckige Dienstags, Troublesome Tuesdays – call it what you will. We were out, we were about and it was another Tuesday night in Munich. We found ourselves in Paulaner im Thal with a massive table. The Weißbier was flowing and “Other Bethan ” also made a cameo appearance. It wasn’t long after that our good friend Ben turned up. Ben lives in the Bavarian State Parliament as part of an exchange with St. John’s College, Oxford. He very kindly sorted us out with drinks and led us on a candlelit tour of the Bavarian State Parliament. It was fascinating to see the place from an insider’s perspective.
Wednesday was a night of recovery, but on Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing Izzy, Nath, Greggers and Alex Smith (a friend of Ed Gallaway’s also studying German at Leeds). We all went to Tollwood and had a really “toll” time. As per usual plenty of Glühwein was consumed but it was also time to say goodbye to Izzy, who is going to be in Toulouse for the remainder of her Year Abroad.
Tonight (Thursday night) I am on the Tollwood again for a last shindig with Jean-Remy, Juliette, Lena and Sisom, all of whom won’t be with us in January. Sisom is starting a proper job in Frankfurt and we all wish him the best, and Lena is finishing off her Master’s in Kaiserslautern. Maybe we will see each other at Oktoberfest 2013? It will be a shame to say goodbye to all of them but especially JR, who has taught me a lot since I have been here. No more allegorical Allied Table Football competitions where JR would surrender to the Hun as soon as we let in one goal, leaving me (brave old Tommy) all alone to fight the Jerries. Alas, it shouldn’t be the last we see of each other as he is hopefully heading to London with his girlfriend in February! From everyone here we wish them the best of luck in London.
Speaking of London, I am looking forward to heading home on Saturday morning, even if only for a short while. It will be great to see family and friends again. Greggers and I are heading to the airport Friday night, to make extra sure that we won’t miss our early morning flights. I regret to inform you that we won’t be travelling in leather. We haven’t become completely Bavarian. Yet.
London, England. Agenda:
- sip tea on British Airways flight
- arrive in LHR
- use the Royal Mail (even though I have no need)
- ring someone from a red phonebox (also unneccessary)
- top up oyster card (unfortunately very neccessary)
- party at the Elliott’s (22nd)
- Dad’s birthday (23rd)
- Xmas eve and Day
- Boxing Day football
- drink optimal champagne
- drink good wine
- drink awful beer
- make jokes about the Germans
- Isle of Wight (26th-27th)
- Brogan’s 21st (28th)
- pre-drinks with Prince Harry
- eat scrambled eggs & bacon sarnies with the Queen
- New Year’s eve (31st)
- Fly home (1st)
If you are around in London on the 29th, 20th or 31st and have any ideas, then do get in touch. Nächster Halt: London Heathrow. Bitte zurückbleiben. In the meantime, if anyone would like to feed me, clothe me and put a roof over my head on the 29th, 30th and 31st of December, do let me know – I will be very grateful and also very homeless.
A Merry Christmas to all my readers and a Happy New Year!