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.
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.
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.
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).
Whilst 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.
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.