Bundesbrüder, Bier & Blades.


mim

So it’s official. Taylor Swift and thingy from One Direction have officially broken up. But the lad knew exactly where his first stop was after leaving the British Virgin Islands, the best place to be single if you are wanting to mingle: Leeds, West Yorkshire. What it may lack in virgins, it certainly makes up for with pouring rain and chips and beer and curry. All mixed together. The shocking news of the death of Olympic and Paralymic hero Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend at his home has thrown South Africa into the limelight., let’s be honest though he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

But you are probably reading this post because you wan’t to hear about another celebrity, that celeb being Marvellous Marcus, know to some as Multilingual Marcus or even sometimes Mischievous Marcus.

The adventures start here. On Wednesday night we paid a visit to cosmogrill, where the burgers were good, but just not quite big enough. It would be a stretch to say it was disappointing, but uplifting it was not.

The first of February offered greetings to the new month and also the discovery of the racism engrained in European bakeries. On the menu is “la tête-de-nègre” (FR) also refered to as “der Mohrenkopf ” (GER). The  phrases respectively translate as “head of the nigger” and “Nigger head”. The Swiss, French and German colleagues all seemed to be fine with this and asked me what we called it in England, expecting to hear an appropriately outrageous name. I was glad I could reply innocently, explaining how we call it a “Chocolate Marshmallow”. Good old England.

Friday night was good fun. The pre-lash was planned at Wealthy Wolfgang’s, a fantastic colleague from Switzerland. He is also the first “native” I have met with an impecable knowledge of English comedy shows and a solid grasp of the humour. Of course, we headed into town after a well-hosted gathering. It was unfortunate that we parted ways due to some taxi mis-communications. Some big names featured such as Guillaume le Conquérant, Northern Niklas and of course Rémi le Roi.

A poster in Wolfie’s apartment.

Saturday night was the real highlight of the past couple of weeks. Thinking of myself as a rather dashing young Ian Fleming I rushed out of the house at five to meet Rémi le Roi for a drink in town. Soon after, the time had come for my appointment  to take place. Having been summoned by HRH Prince Charming’s invitation to the Hofbräuhaus to partake in the first official black tie event of the year with the infamous Studentenverbindung. A Studentenverbindung is like a fraternity, for those who weren’t aware. For more information regarding this very German concept, click here  Beer by the barrel, plus weaponry plus the German National Anthem all in the location of the VIP section of the Hofbräuhaus. I felt like Jay-Z when he was on his Year Abroad in Paris. It couldn’t have been any more exclusive and authentic. The Germanophile in me was excited beyond words (not like that). I was watching German history in the making. As I walked into the Kneipe*, I remembered past evenings shared here, first with my parents the week after Oktoberfest and evenings with Prosecco Barney** and the like.

The format of these events is comparable to military events in the British Army in the sense that it involves copious amounts of music, speeches, National Anthems whilst maintaining a multitude of strange traditions and rules.

  • you can’t go to the toilet at any point during the meal
  • you must refer to everyone as “Bundesbruder “.
  • if at any point/many points you should run out of beer you must lay your empty glass flat on the table and wait for it to be filled up appropriately. If this is not done in good time, you may shout “Bierversorgung!” This is then understood by one of the juniors to mean “I need beer replenishment NOW” and they will get up form their seat, take your glass. Rush to the barrel. Fill uip your glass and rush back with a fresh premium lager.
  • only one type of beer is on offer, traditionally Hofbräu beer is drunk in the Hofbräuhaus. Which makes sense when you think about it.
  • if you couldn’t make the event you must send a message to be read out in your absence with an accompanying amount of money (usually based on what it would have cost you to travel there) to be spent on beer. For example, some chap was so gutted he missed it that he donated 500,00€ to the cause, the cost of return flights from Hamburg with Lufthansa (booked last minute/perhaps first class)
  • when drinking your beer you must initially raise your glass and preferably find someone to drink to something with. If not then you drink and then raise your glass after you have had a swig.

As one of the “Füchse“, Prince Charming was among one of the more junior members of the fraternity yet despite his meagre rank, he seemed enormously popular with young and old members of the Verbindung, and he had us literally in tears with comments about his various conquests although, some of them must be mere fairytales.

After the various rules have been understood. unnecessary badges, ceremonial swords, colourful flags, odd bits of metal that clipped to your glass. Having experience this sometimes controversially perceived event first hand, I can honestly say it was an absolute pleasure to take part in such it was fantastically rich tradition.

Grandpa always said you should keep the Germans at a sword’s length.

We drank a few to Kaiser Friedrich (or Freddy as his mates used to call him), the sheer mention of his name causing incessant applause and much knocking on the table. I thought to myself…

A little later in the evening, we had all had a fair amount to drink, and it turned out worse for one of the chaps (who will remain nameless). The Bundesbrüder had a Bundes-chunderunder the table, I managed to kick the blue bucket over to him just in the nick of time, and luckily came away without any clumpy frothy beery sick attached to my foot. The evening wrapped up, and as an esteemed guest i was obliged to pay nothing for drink all night. naturally we progressed to a few gentlemen’s clubs afterwards for a few drinks and pleasant company and a great night was had by all.

It was also a massive weekend for Far-Eastern Felix as you can see from the photo below.

Far-Eastern, Chinese Babe #1, Tschi Bing, Chinese Babe #2 and Joe.

Felix likes nothing better than relaxing with a cup of coke in the evening. I got in from work one evening and saw him at the table with his head in the bowl. Thinking to myself that perhaps the British Imperialism had gotten too much, I speculated he might have topped himself. Dreading the inevitable mountain of paperwork that comes with roommate suicides, I was relieved to find that he had run out of clean mugs and was simply using the bowl to drink out of. Sipping the cool dark liquid directly from inside from the bowl and unfortunately soaking his glasses in caffeine in the process. He did look very cat-like at the time. Feline Felix is now a strong contender for his facelift nickname.

In other news, Newsman Nath aka Tumnus aka Bilbo aka Nath Thorpe is currently match reporting about 1860 München football club for the Munich Eye. Perks of the job include free food, interviewing players and being in the Allianz Arean! And all this alongside his internship. What a man. Such a big name in Munich. Watch his reporting debut here. And for the latest updates on his blog, click here. He’s got a new haircut since, though. Don’t be put off.

The news was ridiculous this past week or so. Richard the Third has been dug up in a car park in Leicester? How much must the parking fine have costed. 1435-2013, in years, not hours and minutes. Unbelievable.

My favourite expression in Bavarian German has to be: “Des isch mi’ Würschd!” (Das ist mir Würst) literally meaning, “That is a sausage to me”, the implied meaning being – “I don’t even care!” I’m assuming this is due to the plentiful amount of sausage consumed every day, therefore making it a very ordinary product, so when you use this phrase oyu are essentially saying that it is “nothing particularly special”.

My driving instructor comes out with some fantastic lines sometimes: “Schmeis den Panzer ein, Marcus!”, ordering me to turn the MINI Cooper on and refering to is as a tank. As soon as I change up into second, he would shout “und……FEUER!” Expecting me to lay my foot on the gas and bring up into third and just below the speed limit of 50kmph. At which point he would look at me and say “langsam mit der Kupplung Marcus, es ist wie eine Frau. Du musst zuerst sanft sein und danach show it who’s boss!” Thanks for the advice Florian.

erasmus

This Thursday evening, having given up on Valentine’s day with Far-Eastern, Nath and I organised a little meet up with some Erasmus friends at the Bierstube, along with David and his girlfriend. It was a good night, cheap food and beer – what more do you need. And after a swim you really feel like you’ve earnt it.

Adam expressed his love for Van Persie: “I’ve never felt this way about a player”and Alfie is clearly having the time of his life in Oxford, pictured with lots of ladies. But in the automotive world there is plenty being discussed. Take this concept car for example. Look at its beauty, its modernity and its timeless character.

BMW 328 Hommage: Concept Cars

It just looks like it should be driven by Batman. This is potentially the most stunning car I have ever had the privelege to lay my eyes upon.

For the big Champion’s League Match Real Madrid vs. Manchester United, we selected the Champion’s Bar as our harbour of choice. Here we were impressed by the burgers as well as Danny Wellbeck’s golden header.

I have another driving lesson tonight which should be good, although the last three driving lessons I have taken part it, it has either already snow and ice on the ground, snowed just beforehand or snowed during the lesson itself. This makes the conditions for learning even more hazardous. Wish me luck!

Footnotes:

*Kneipe translates as pub in day-to-day German but in the context of the Fraternity it refers specifically to the event at the pub as opposed to the concept of the pub itself. A little bit of “How’s your Fatherland?”

**Barney has since moved to Berlin and is getting on really well there. We have many plans for the coming months, most of which are centred around consumption of alcohol.

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Weihnachtsmärkte, Weißbier & Woody Allen.


mimIt’s that time of week. Time for another notch on my blog post.

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.

Sorry Jay, you’re just too British. Especially your 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.

Two lions on the shirt. (Where it all began)

Two lions on the shirt. (Where it all began)

Prosecco Barney and Myself

Prosecco Barney and Myself

Treating German politics with the respect it deserves

Treating German politics with the respect it deserves

Rocking around the Christmas Tree

Rocking around the Christmas Tree

You know it was a big night when

Enjoying the post so far Bethan?

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.

Oktoberfest memories

Oktoberfest memories

JR & Juliette

JR & Juliette. We will miss you!

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.

2012: what a year!

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
  • Windsor/London
  • 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!

Berlin’s Best Burger Bar.


mim

So another week has passed and what does that mean? It means it’s time for another blog post to be etched into the World Wide Web, so that everyone will always be able to experience my Year Abroad for the rest of time. Forgive me for going on a bit in this one, I can only apologise for getting so much done.

Let’s start from the beginning. It’s Friday evening. I left work promptly and headed to Fröttmaning Station: the location of the Allianz Arena. Now it’s time for a fun fact. Not only is the arena Germany’s third biggest football stadium but it also happens to be the largest car park in Europe, providing a total of 9800 spaces. How thrilling.

Munich's biggest football Stadium

The Allianz Arena, Munich.

After a brief chat to Adi who was sat on a train in Magdeburg, I met a colleague of mine, namely Seductive Sascha. We had planned to share the same car-share. This specific car-share (Mitfahrgelegenheit) was organised by a man by the name of Haphazard Harald – a German businessman who tried to convince us that he was made his millions building wind farms around the world, a tale involving properties in the Far East, a Chinese wife and five Germo-Chinese children. Whilst listening to Harald’s eastern adventures, he made us guess at the real estate value of a 75 square metre apartment in Hong Kong, the journey ran smoothly and we made good time. Sascha and I passed the time by exchanging accounts of cross-continental conquests and general antics. We were enjoying ourselves a lot, bursting out into cackles of laughter every five minutes. The girl in front of us (who was trying to crack on with work for her Masters at the University of Leicester) wasn’t too impressed with our numerous heroic encounters and wasn’t afraid to give us the standard passive agressive stare that I am now so used to in Germany. As someone who is generally regarded as rude, I thought I’d fit in perfectly in the Bundesrepublik, and in most cases I rudely go about my daily rude-tine. But that doesn’t stop the Germans trying to out-rude me. Escalators are the worst. Anyway I am beginning to prattle.

“Stille Wasser sind tief” ~Sascha.
(It’s the quiet ones you want to watch out for)

One particular passenger was a cursed, pungent and rotund Bosnian man. If I tell you that his ringtone was “Who let the dogs out” – would you think of me as a judgemental person? Anyway, this man added constant delays to our journey because whenever he was let out of the car, he bought a coffee and a small meal. This happened during all three breaks. Half way through the journey I had to endure a phone conversation with Adam and Euan who were evidently “well on their way”. (I picked up the call and in the background I overheard Adam: “We’re so ringing Marcus – I bet his reaction will be: ‘f*****k off!'” followed by Euan cofirming “I’m ringing him!”). They were in fact sharing vital information with me. Because the matter was sensitive, you would have thought they’d tell me in person. But so sad the news, they felt obliged to share the unfortunate news that our favourite kebab restaurant (Keb’up) had in fact gone Keb’down and was shut, presumably until the end of the Mayan calendar.

Anyway, we did eventually make it to Berlin and I met Adam, Euan and Sam (who had by that stage arrived from Hamburg) in our favourite shisha bar underneath the Fernsehturm (TV Tower). After a few cocktails and a tiny bit of unimpressively weak shisha, we proceeded to head to the station to meet Scouse and Simon (travelling in from Tübingen and Stuttgart together) en route to Nonie’s at Moritzplatz. We had all our stuff with us and compeltely invaded her apartment. Her housemates greeted us and seemed prepared for the onslaught that was about to occur.

Having stowed our supplies at Nonie’s, we were taken for drinks in the infamously “edgy” district of Berlin: Kreuzberg. We went to a bar where apparently all the photographers hang out, and needless to say they probably didn’t appreciate Scouse capturing sleepy images of Adam and Sam like some mad hatter.

We of course knew that it wouldn’t be long until either Sam or Adi fell asleep. But we definitely didn’t expect both to be completely gone! For Adi it was simply a matter of time; after all he isn’t called Alcoholic Adi for nothing. But for Sam it was another night that had perhaps ended too short. A quick summary of Sleepy Sam‘s Adventures this year: he fell asleep at Oktoberfest, fair enough – he had only had a couple of hours kip before getting on the lash. He followed this tradition when he passed out in a club when we visited him in Hamburg and being escorted outside where he proceeded to empty his guts out onto the Reeperbahn. This third voyage then became the chunderous cherry on the alcoholic cake that has earned him the title of Sleepy Sam, his drowsiness now outweighing the gravity of his character. Although he does still somehow manage to look serious when he’s tired. He also managed to outdo Simon in throw-ups per hour, a strong achievement, even for him! So it was hometime and eventually bedtime (after a small lover’s tiff between Sam and Adi, who were sharing a futon in the main room. We were very grateful to be able to crash with Nonie, although we still aren’t totally convinced why she had a fully functioning BOSCH drill lying on her table. A very special thanks does go out to Nonie and flatmates for putting us up and also just generally putting up with us.

However, no matter how hospitable you are, there is always someone who throws it back in your face. Some say he was raised by wolves in a forest just outside Leicester and that he is allergic to cauliflower. ALl we know is he’s called Adam the Alcoholic.

Alcoholic Adi contemplating how long it will take to eat through a mattress.

It is safe to say, that on Saturday we woke up feeling worse for wear. Some of us more than others.

Attractive Adam

Attractive Adam

So we began trying to semi-organise the shower rotor, despite most of us still being battered to a large extent. After Scouse had what is quite probably the longest shower in history, we waited for a disorientated Adi to get his stuff together, before heading out to East Berlin to eat at Burgeramt; which reputedly serves the best burgers in the city. I, personally, opted for the Avacado & Bacon burger with extra cheese and was proud to be the only one to finish the meal. After this I purchased some boots which I felt would better cope with the winter snow.

Couple of Glühweins @ Alexanderplatz.

Couple of Glühweins @ Alexanderplatz.

When the evening drew closer, we decided to head to the huge Christmas Market at Alexanderplatz for a Glühwein or three. It was here that we met one of Simon’s friends and one of Simon’s friend’s friends. When we had enjoyed enough warm wine, we headed a minute or two down the road to the Pilsner Unique Bar (PUB). Each table had its own taps (dangerous) and a prjected image onto a screen showed showed which table had consumed the most beer in a sort of leaderboard format. An interesting quote from Samthe opposite of DIY sticks firmly in the memory, as well as me apparently trying to pay with lenses at the end. It was after this that we attended the standard Berlin bar crawl, although this time we had to be a bit more responsible than the past two years (not that that was hard).

bearpictureWhilst talking about pets, Alcoholic Adi explained which one of our friendship group would make the best pet. “Scouse is like the best pet ever. He’s just so consistent!” ~Adam Shaw.

Two blondes

I tried to stop them but the dragged me down!

We had a laugh with the first and second years of Leeds Uni German Society and a good night was had by all. It was interesting to hear how well they are getting on, and seeing how they are holding the fort for us in Leeds. Some of them were very excited to see us indeed and overall we received a warm welcome (apart from a certain Amy Simcock pretending that she had become so cool that she had forgotten our names). When it comes to Leeds Uni German Society, no-one is really cooler than us. Punkt.

“Who’s the fat f***er?” ~Anon.

Entering the kitchen at 6am and finding this creature writhing around trying with his flimsy arms to gather some rubbish to use as a pillow, only to lift his head up and smack it on the radiator.

Jewish Jason Statham/Jason Bourne. (Only thing that takes away from this dramatic photo is perhaps Simon’s lovely bobbly woolly hat).

Sunday, of course was Derby day. And what does Derby day mean with the die-hard football fans Adi and Simon? It of course meant watching football at a pub. The inner tourist in me felt sick to the core, but I’ve known these scumbags long enough to already know exactly what I’d let myself in for. It was a good session, despite Simon reaching disturblingly orgasmic levels whilst watching his beloved Manchester United – so much so that he started to look like Sonic the Jewish Hedgehog. At one point, steam started to rise from his hair like a Jewish Duracell Bunny with too much voltage. Adam, however, was keeping it cool as usual. Rio Ferdinand took an unfortunate coin to the old eye but later explained on twitter that the colour of his blood further reinforced which colour Manchester is loyal to, which is the footballing equivalent of saying “This is SPARTA!”.

Eventually I made it back in one piece and at 2am I was in bed looking forward to rising on Monday morning. After a good day at work, myself Jean-Remy, Ingo and Esperanza took the U-Bahn home together. What started off as picking up Ingo’s goggles from his, quickly escalated to going for a kebab and then further escalated to a Glühwein and two Feuerzangenbowlen (brandy punches) in the Christmas market at Sendlinger Tor. I was really not equipped for this,  cashwise or energywise,  but you can sleep when you’re dead, right?

“Je suis au marché de noel avec marcus et ingo” ~an SMS I received from battered JR, presumably directed at Juliette.

On Tuesday it was time for lunch with the boys at work. In the evening it was time for a drink with Barney and Ludo (+friends) at the Hofbräuhaus. Fellow Leeds student Ed Gallaway also turned up because he was in town. He happend also to spend his Year Abroad in Munich last year and is now back at Leeds and generally loving life. When telling colleagues about Barney, most of them insist he is Barney Stinson from How I met Your Mother. It is coming up to Barney’s last week in Munich, before he leaves to start two cool new internships in Berlin. A great quote from the night came from Barney himself: “I would love to get so lagered in Prague”. This boy has no limits. He also promised a visit to Leeds for Freshers week 2013, not only that he vowed and I quote: “When I get to Leeds, the first thing I will do is order 100 VK Tropicals”. I am going to hold you to that one Barney.

“Aus Hackepeter wird Kacke später” ~ Thomas Klasmeier aka Prince Charming.

Wednesday evening I spoke to Hugo on the phone after work. He has just settled in at St. Anton and loving life. He was telling me about how some of the girls he works with love to fight in the snow. Apparently it’s called a “snorgy”. I may not have quite understood what he was on about but I’m sure all will become clear when I eventually get the time to visit him. I cooked bolognese for Remi and Robert, disproving the myth that the English can’ cook, although simultaneously proving that we have a limited number of our own actual recipes. Oh well.

On Thursday night there was a sort of Christmas party in the AWA (After Work Activity) Area. Lena and Christina (the AWA girls) cooked us up a feast with the help of Luscious Lisa and various others. Frankfurters, pasta, weird cheesy stuff – it was all there and it was all Bairisch.

“Zis Englishman. ‘e is fucking barbar” ~Remi

Remi started getting nasty about the English (typical rude Frenchman) and described me as a Barbarian, proving not only that the French hold a grudge but also that nothing has changed for a thousand years. I believe, the Romans called the Anglo-Saxons the exact same when they invaded our homeland all those years ago? Although if I am wrong I am happy to be corrected by anyone studying classics. Only from Oxford though. Whilst discussing language Remi did also mention: “In English you are always saying words with ‘h’. What is the use of this ‘h’?”. Not sure what I am getting at here, other than I found what he said fairly hilarious.

Friday came and I had lunch with the Director of Finance which will be great. Also my Personal Tutor from leeds happens to be in Munich so I am going for a Glühwein with her after work. A great day of networking, I think you’ll agree. In the afternoon it was Jean-Remy, Lena’s, and Sisom’s Abschiedsfeier (leaving party). It will be sad to see them go at the end of December but they are all moving on with their studies and internships and I have on doubt that we will stay in contact and see each other in the very near future. The plan for tonight is to kick start the night with a Glühwein with my personal Tutor. That’s right, Mandy herself has graced Munich with her presence and we are heading off for a Glühwein at Marienplatz. We are also really looking forward to the long awaited house party at Niklas’ place! Which will inevitably be followed by a night out somewhere overpriced. The plan for Saturday is a potential solo trip to Nuremberg, to visit a friend of mine and to finally see the world famous Christmas Markets. On Sunday I plan on doing some sport, potentially swimming again.

There is now just over a week until I go back to my second homeland: I am of course referring to the United Queendom. I am really looking forward to being reunited with my friends and family! Also can’t wait to have tea at Buckingham and go for a few beers with Prince Harry. According to the French and Germans, I am one of Harry’s mates. I’ll take that.

To read Adam’s side of the story, click here.

Far-Eastern Felix.


mimSo it’s been yet another busy week in the life of Marcus. The Christmas markets opened all over town so what better excuse to get some Glühweins in? The big news is that I finally have a new roommate! Read on to find out more!

The first exciting news of this post is that Hugo (from the Yacht Club) is officially in Europe. He has set up a base in Austria and is doing a ski-season out here! As if I needed any more excuses to go skiing. I wish him the best of luck, mainly with the Austrian dialect, and I have every faith that he will love his time in this neck of the woods.

Cast your minds back to last week Friday. For you it may have been an evening of maiming farm animals, knitting, praying or possibly catching up on Breaking Bad, but for me it was the day for action. It was decided that drinks at Barney’s were in order. Jean-Remy & Juliette, Ludo and his classmate Ben were amongst some of the VIP guests. Ben is another Oxford chap like Barney, but goes to a proper college, namely St. John’s (where my brother Alfie has just completed his first term). Ludo, as usual, insisted on bringing some absolute randomers along. You’ll realise soon that it’s not at all unreasonable for me to say this. Barney and I are international men of course, but still firmly of the opinion that he should introduce us to a steady flow of European babes. With this in mind, Ludo thought it would be a great idea to bring some Taiwanese girls along. That he met in a Jazz Club. “Seems legit”, we thought to ourselves. Upon arrival they walked through the door (pretty standard arrival) and introduced themselves. Considering my Taiwanese is not what it once was, I felt they were pretty unforgiving. The first target greeted me with a big smile, declaring her name was “Pee-Pee”. I repeated: “Pee-Pee” (whilst nodding, obviously). She then decided to change her name to “Bee-Bee”, which I felt I then adapted well to, considering she didn’t take the time to fill out any forms. “Bee-Bee” I then pronounced, keen to nail it this time. We finally agreed on what her name was for the night and I finished with, “Oh, right…like BBC”. She wasn’t too impressed, having been compared to a news channel (girls apparently prefer to be compared to things which smell nice like flowers and nature and stuff, rather than huge International Corporations).  I can confirm that I would have rather spent a year watching BBC News 24 than listen to her poor English and even worse German. Anyway, the time had come for “la victime prochaine“. At this point I was thinking who the hell will be next? Russia Today? Al Jazeera? And then the second tasty Taiwanese treat trotted over to me. This specimen seemed more certain of her name, and having initially maintained good eye-contact we proceeded to exchange syllables. “My name Ceen-Dee like Cindy”, of course I thought, a classic Taiwanese name. Having received a positive overall response from my most recent News Channel joke, I decided it was time for another shameless crowd-pleaser. “Oh, right, you mean like CNN”, I explained. At this point the International Biffs were on the floor laughing, they just were just lapping up my whole Hugh Grant/James Bond crossover character. How brilliantly British.

So the night progressed as most nights tend to, with the facilitation of communication & conversation via lubrication of the liver. Barney kept the Spaten beer (Spade) flowing and generously shared out his vodka, even to these girls, who had properly made there way to Germany in strange circumstances and may have been lacking a visa. They were what Dad would refer to as “dubious characters”. Naturally, I thought up a funny thing for the girls to do. And when I think up a funny thing, I find it difficult to keep this funny thing from other people. So after a few drinks, yes we did indeed have them singing the Taiwanese version of “Call Me Maybe” on the table. We managed to make this look like we were trying to learn the language when what we were really doing was trying not to burst out laughing the entire time. I felt we performed moderately in the respect. These poor attention-starved far-eastern girls, they’re almost a bit too enthusiastic to get up on the podium – not a particularly attractive quality. These were just some other hilarious events that occurred during the evening:

  • Jean-Remy getting chewing gum up both nostrils. If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt from my time in Germany so far, it’s that the French have a great sense of humour.
  • Me trying to shove 15 Gingerbread biscuits into my mouth and then spitting most of the contents out.
  • Barney promising to down his drink if he rolled a five. Needless to say, he did roll a five, obviously. Otherwise why would I bother telling you…it wouldn’t be a story.

So the night came to a natural end with surprising another kebab and another chat with the Kebab man. Yes I am tall and Caucasian and yes I am speaking Turkish. Without hanging around for too long we left the restaurant and made our ways home.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library” ~Jorge Luis Borges

Well the little Argentinian was wrong. What paradise is in fact is a German bookshop. The entirety of Saturday morning was spent sitting in HugendubelTo describe it as a bookshop, though, is like referring to the pyramids as the ancient Egyptian equivalent of Cooperative Funeralcare. (To my lovely Canadian readers and also those pesky Americans who may possibly still be in the process of learning to read: that’s what you would probably refer to as a “Funeral Parlor Service Provider”). For those of you yet to encounter this most sacred of places – it is like Waterstones (N. Amer. Engl. – Barnes & Noble) but you are actually encouraged to sit in peace and read brand new books for free! This is in stark contrast to the UK, where it’s very much frowned upon –  but you still do it anyway. The only price you pay is to live in a society in a permanent state of awkwardness and live unhappily ever after. Deal.

So having returned home from Marienplatz in the early afternoon, looking forward to a lazy day of bacon & eggs, Peep Show and just generally wallowing in my own filth, you can imagine how my heart sank when I turned the key in the door and was struck by the sight of a mysterious black suitcase centered ominously in the heart of the room, a hefty winter jacket making itself feel at home on what happens to be my favourite chair. Questions came immediately to mind such as where was he from? How did he come to be here? And how long would he last?

I then turned to my BMW Babes Calendar (a present from my boss) and realised that November was no more. It had been manhandled and flipped onto the next page by my new housemate, in a well-meaning but disastrous move to “help me out”. Unfortunately, he wasn’t to know that I don’t like help. It’s not in my nature. It was then that I began to dread the Monday morning wake up, the not-being-able-to-do.exactly-what-I-want-when-I-want, the hostile force that had infiltrated my camp, the poison in the water, the arsenic in the cornflakes, the sawdust in the juice, the crude oil in the shower gel, the Germans were here. If I had paid slightly more attention to detail when inspecting all his stuff (yes this is standard drills when trying to understand the natives), I would have worked out his nationality easily. However, I briefly looked at the OCD order in which his briefs were arranged, the immaculate state of his shoes and working clothes, the Swiss flag logo on his suitcase. To me, it seemed obvious that I was doomed to another spell of sleeping with the Stasi. I thought of last year’s Berlin trip to the Stasi prison and remembered the brutal wake-up calls, enforced meal times, the unreasonable efficiency, the hot room, the cold room, the water torture. With pioneering torture methods in mind, it turned out I was to be exposed to a representative of another left-wing nation, more mightly, more powerful, perhaps more fearful and the country with the most interesting future: Communist China.

Far-Eastern Felix

Far-Eastern Felix

Statistically speaking, I was always bound to have a Chinese roommate – it was literally just a matter of when. Despite being two very different people, Felix and I are getting on great – we are agreed on many things and we fit well together much like Jack Sprat and his Asian wife. For example, he showers in the evenings and I shower in the mornings. After discussing which time of day was best to shower and for what reasons, he ridiculed the Japanese because they apparently shower not only in the evening but also in the morning. Madness! At this early stage in our relationship I decided it would be sensible, even advantageous to pretend to also hate the Japanese. Then it would become something we could bond over. So I then did my best to laugh at his joke. So yet another poor soul’s name is to be etched into the Miserable Motorstraße Hall of Fame. Felix is actually his Western name. The breakdown of his name is as follows:

Yu (Family name; no real meaning) Xiao (First name; “Sunrise”) Jun (Second name; “Warrior”)
Yu Xiao Jun: So he is essentially called “Warrior of the Rising Sun”. A pretty cool name, I think you’ll all agree.

Order of play as it stands:

1. Macbook Matthias   (Sep.)
2. Reini der Schweini   (Sep.-Oct.)
3. Bavarian Ben            (Oct.-Nov.)
4. Far-Eastern Felix   (Dec.-Mar?)

A few fun facts about German-speaking Felix:

  • His favourite British bands are Westlife and the Backstreet Boys.
  • He maintains that British people are mostly 18th-19th Century gentlemen who wear top hats and carry big umbrellas.
  • He loves BBC Chinese (a suspiciously good answer).
  • He knows that in China, Britain is famous for the Industrial Revolution.
  • He has a cool Chinese knife.
  • He studies Mechanical Engineering (Maschinenbau) in Karlsruhe.
  • He now loves David Cameron, having read my letter from Downing Street.
  • He hates “the Chairman” (presumably Mau).
  • He hates the Japanese (apart from anime which he loves).
  • He finds Americans annoying and lacking in culture.

Once I’d acclimatised to sharing my room with a stranger yet again. On Saturday, I went with Robert to the Tollwood Weihnachtsmarkt and had a Glühwein and some spicy sausages. Afterwards met Sky and her friends at Milchbar. It was a fun night.

On Sunday, I decided to get rid of the hangover with a 2.5km Swim at the Olympiaschwimmhalle. In the last 400 metres severe cramp kicked in in my left calf and I lost a bit of dignity as I ended up hopelessly splashing like a dying sea mammal at the 25m mark. In the evening, I headed into town for a nice relaxed coffee with Nath and his girlfriend Hannah (visiting from Verona) at Starbucks. We even went for a Glühwein in Marienplatz and of course bumped into a girl who I was in halls with in Leeds first year. Small world.

On Monday evening I returned back to the flat after a good day’s work expecting to find Felix pinning up his communist flag on the wall. As a matter of fact, he was preparing dinner. What a nice surprise! We then ate what I assumed to be a Chinese dish (mainyl because it contained rice) but which then later turned out to be in fact: paella. He had managed to fool me though and had me fumbling around with chopsticks. I am happy to confirm that the first five days with Far-Eastern has been so far so good. However, the burning question remains: how will we cope living on top of each other until March?

On Tuesday evening we had the work Christmas do and we spent it in a great restaurant called Görreshof which I can highly recommend. Of course, all the lads (Myself, Florian, Ingo and Jean-Remy) all ordered Schnitzel!!! And it was some of the bestest Schnitzel I ever ate. My favourite German quote of the night came from Ingo, who declared: “So jung werden wir nie wieder zusammen kommen“. This roughly, but poorly translates to “We will never again be together at such a young age”. Afterwards I ended up out on the town with some colleagues (incl. Prince Charming amongst others) for a few cheeky beers. Emphasis on the cheeky. A few people were a bit worse for wear on Wednesday but I was for some unknown reason feeling fresh as a daisy and made it into work for 09:15 which was a strong effort.

This upcoming weekend bring the glorious year of 2012 ever closer to the end. It’s the moment we’ve all been looking forward to: the annual Leeds University German Society Trip featuring the Berlin6. If it’s anything like the past two years, it promises to be a good one. Very much looking forward to celebrating Nomadic Nonie’s birthday and generally kicking back with some of the actors who I cast in the tragicomedy that is my life story. Characters making guaranteed appearances will include: Alcoholic Adi, Slothful Scouse, Semitic Simon, Serious Sam and Golden Graham! Stay tuned for next week’s post – it will be a good one. In the meantime, have a nice weekend!

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!

Heaven and Helles.


#madeinmunich

#madeinmunich

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!