It's been more than a week since I was lucky enough to visit Munich, but it's still so vivid in my mind. My trip to Munich was different in that I was not just visiting a new city and country - I was visiting an old friend. A friend of mine from Seoul (high school) is now living in Munich attending university. I was so excited to see a familiar face - a piece of home - especially since it would be in a completely new environment.
I got back from Barcelona to Copenhagen on Wednesday around 12 AM. after a short, yet very expensive (common word used while in Europe) cab ride back to Tåsingegade, I quickly packed for my next journey and caught some shut eye until I had to very unwillingly get up around 6 AM. after yet another short, yet expensive cab ride back to Kastrup Airport, I checked in and prepared for my hour and a half flight to Munich. SAS airlines turned out to be my favorite European airline so far - along with Air Berlin (which I took to get across the pond in August). They served complimentary tea or coffee, along with biscuits and allowed for one free baggage check. I don't remember much of anything else - The flight was my chance to catch up on some much needed sleep.
The Franz Josef Strauss Airport in Munich was also pleasant - there was coffee and tea, and the airport was very much conveniently attached to the "S-Bahn", which is a train line that takes anyone into the city centre. My friend Claire had class so she provided detailed yet simple directions on how to find my way to Marienplatz. The train ride was relaxing and I could see farmland for miles on end. I finally met up with Claire, and we explored the city centre - as well as searched for the perfect dirndl, which is the traditional Bavarian dress women and girls wear. Now, why would I be searching for a Dirndl? - because it just so happened that the last week of Oktoberfest, or Die Wiesn in German, was in full swing during my stay! I was more than excited for the experience with Claire, who is half German. Not only would I be experiencing Oktoberfest, I would be doing so the real way - the German way!
We rode the S-bahn to Claire's house, dropped off our stuff and made our way on over to a local Bavarian restaurant in Claire's neighborhood. It was my first time eating Bavarian food - and honestly, I was pretty nervous about it. We started out with Jägerschnitzel and a Pork dish with gravy with mushrooms - the name escapes me. However, the best was saved for last, and we had a bavarian dish called Kaiserschmarrn! It looked like a waffle cut up into little bits, but the dough was much chewier and the taste was much sweeter. I can honestly say that Bavarian food is not bad - in fact, it's delicious!
The next morning, we set off for Oktoberfest, but first, we met up with Michelle '15 who is also studying in Copenhagen with me this semester. She flew in from Istanbul, Turkey, where she experienced her study tour with her core program. It would be the first out of the two days we would go to the fest, and I have to say I have never experienced anything like it. Everyone was dressed in the traditional attire - dirndls for women and girls, and lederhosen for men and boys. There are several tents set up at Oktoberfest - each is owned by a different brewery and they all have different reputations. We went inside one that was set up by "Paulaner". There are all types of people at Oktoberfest from all around the world. Age doesn't matter - there were many families, parents, children, the elderly and of course, tourists and college students. We met people from Australia (their flights were around 24 hours long!), The United States, Romania, Berlin, Italy, France, and... Denmark as well! My favorite part of the fest was most definitely the songs. People spend the entire day singing these traditional Bavarian songs and of course end with a "Prost!" at the end (Prost means 'Cheers'). There are amusement park rides such as a roller coaster, ferris wheel and lots of festival games for those who just want to enjoy the fresh air and take a break from the tent atmosphere. I loved every moment of it, and I have to say, if time and scheduling allows, I hope to go back some day.
We finally got to sleep in (We had been waking up around 6-7 in the morning; You need to get to the fest early if you want to find seats at a table in a good tent!) on Saturday. Claire took us around Marienplatz and the city centre which was a nice experience. We went and visited Frauenkirche, which is a church in the city centre. We came across a very interesting thing in Frauenkirche - The Devil's foot step! There are several legends to the footstep - one consists of the devil agreeing to fund the construction of the church as long as it had no windows. The builder agreed but tricked the devil by creating columns that would hide the window from the foyer. Thus the devil was enraged and stomped so hard that his footprint was left in the foyer area and he stormed out, leaving a perpetual wind around the church, which actually exists! Spooky! We went back to Claire's house, ate, and got ready for the last adventure - an MGMT concert! They played at a venue called Kesselhaus, and they were amazing. I didn't know what to expect since I had never seen them perform live. They're in Europe promoting their new album, so I was very happy to have caught them in Munich (the tickets also were much cheaper!). After the concert, we went back to the house and spent the entire night reminiscing about our days together in Seoul, and expressed how glad we were to have been able to spend some time together again.
Munich as a city was very interesting - I don't know why, but German culture and history has always sparked my interests. It was amazing to have the opportunity to actually spend some time in the country (I had a layover in Dusseldorf for about 2 hours before arriving in Copenhagen, but I'd like to think that doesn't really count). I'm really glad to have had a chance to meet my friend Claire as well - That's the thing about being an international school student - you have friends situated all over the world, but you never really know when you'll get to see any of them again (sad!). But nonetheless it was a great reunion in Munich, and I hope to go back soon! Prost Deutschland!
Until Next Time!