Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oktoberfest '09

We arrived in Munich on Monday, checked into the little hotel and hopped into our Dirndls. We took the U-bahn to the Oktoberfest. The locals call it "Wiesn" - which translates to mean the field. I guess that makes sense since back in the day this fest was held in a field. As we approached the sound of the crowd became more apparent, we could hear the bass of loud music and we could see the glittering lights of the carnival rides. Once we entered, it was like a circus. People everywhere, many dressed in their Dirndls and Lederhosen, sausage stands, candy stands, caipirinha stands, pretzel stands, memorabilia stands, rides and games, and of course the beer tents. The beer tents are all pretty big, they are more like large buildings with tent roofs. We had a table reserved at the Augustina tent. We sat at our table and joined some people there, ordered big beers and had a lot of fun. We ate Schweinebraten mit karttofelkloesse. The atmoshere there was pleasantly rowdy and very alive. Later, Pauli and I walked around outside, surprised by the effect of the beer, exploring the grounds and we did the Free Fall ride. Super intense!! We went back to the hotel soon after to rest our woozy heads.

The next day we walked around Munich's city center - Marienplatz. Pauli bought a new, more traditional outfit he could wear that night (not Lederhosen though!). We sat at the Augustiner am Dom Restaurant and had a little sausage platter, when suddenly, who do I see out of the corner of my eye?! My friend Kristin, from the Concordia lab I worked at, is strolling down the street, followed by a group of tourists, giving a tour of Munich!! I knew she was in Munich but I didn't really expect to find her. I ran up to her, interrupted her tour, hugged a bunch of times in disbelief and made plans to meet at the Oktoberfest that night. Later, we went back to the hotel, hopped back into our Dirndls and out we went, back to the fest, this time to sit in the Kaefer tent. This was my favourite tent although Kristin claims it's a lame one =) The crowd here was a little more reserved but everyone is still partying and the atmoshere was very festive. Yeah, you had the promis (word for celebs) and the in-crowd people. Overall it had a more fancy-shmancy feel than the other tents but I think it was the coolest. Maybe I am getting old ... As usual we ate a lot and drank a lot. One of Pauli's relatives/cousin(?), Andrej - who's our age, came to meet us. Afterwards, we all met up with Kristin at the tent she was in. I don't even remember what the name of it was but INSANE is all I have to say. It was crowded, it was sweaty, it was loud and it was above all FUN! This is what I imagined Oktoberfest to be like - debauchery =) Everyone was standing on the tables singing and dancing and having conversations that make no sense. As fun as it was I only lasted one big beer (see, I am getting old!) and out we went for some air and more rides.

We drove home the next day, 600km, and slept like babies that night. I would for sure go back next year!

In the Augustiner tent.

Schweinebraten mit karttofelkloesse.

Walking around outside.

Mucke and I in our Dirndls.

In the Kaefer tent.

The INSANE tent =) This pic was of course taken from a tabletop.

Kristin and I.

Andrej and Pauli.

View from the Ferris Wheel.

Around Marienplatz.

Around Marienplatz.

Well ... 'till next time,

xoxo Holly

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The new 'hood

I live on the top floor of an apartment building on Handjerystrasse. We now belong to the little area of Friedenau. It's very close to the city but it is surprisingly quiet and green and really cute. The sound of church bells are consistent throughout the day and night but at random intervals it seems. I've tried to time them but I can't find a pattern. Out of my bedroom window I can see the little Austrian wine and specialty food shop across the street where one can also sit at long tables covered by white and red checkered table cloths outside and enjoy its Austrian delicacies. Ludwig, the owner, is a very interesting character but he is very charming. Below you will see pictures of the local supermarkets (all closed because it's Sunday), nearby restaurants we've tried and some scenery from my walk around the neighbourhood. My favorite restaurant so far is Dos. It is a very chill Spanish tapas place and there is always people there. The ambiance is fun as the ground is totally covered in sand in and out and slow R&B tunes float through the air. The food is also excellent and the mojitos are even better! You'll also see I passed by the closest U-bahn and S-bahn stations. I stopped for ice cream, chocolate of course, and continued walking around very cautiously trying to avoid all the chestnuts that fall from the trees. It's crazy! There are tons all over the place. There are also so many cyclists around and you have to be careful of them more than you do of cars. I'm excited to take out my 90's Peugeot soon and bike around town. I will check out the route to my German lessons by bike and see if it will be feasible once I start. So that was my lazy Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow we are going to Munich for the Oktoberfest, so late next week I'll post something about that.

Miss you all xoxoxoxo

Saturday, September 19, 2009

So far, mainly this ...

These photos sum up the majority of what my life has been about this past month. You can laugh, cry, have pity, whatever ...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Always Carry Change

Yesterday, Pauli and I went to Das Schloss. It's a shopping center right at the Rathaus-Steglitz S-bahn stop. The S-bahn and the U-bahn make up Berlin's public transportation system on rails. The network is well organized and gets you pretty much anywhere. When transport on rails is not available one takes the bus or ferry. Anyways, back to the point. So we went to Das Schloss because I wanted to buy some new sneakers because all I brought with me here are sandals, a pair of running shoes and some black ballet flats. Das Schloss is a relatively new shopping center. It opened in spring of 2006 and has 90 specialty stores on 4 levels. Its a really nice mall and apparently I heard that inside, pictures of the sun, the clouds, the stars in heaven or the deep sea are projected onto the ceiling! Unfortunately, I didn't look up and missed that whole thing. Ah well, next time I guess. So yes, after the shoe purchase (white Adidas sneakers) I went to the restroom. Very impressed! Not only were they insanely well designed but the service was amazing! The ladies who worked there opened the door for me and showed me to my stall. As I came out to wash my hands, one of the ladies immediately went in after me to clean up, while the other handed me a towel for my hands. As I was washing my hands I looked around and saw the little dish where one is expected to deposit a small tip. I already knew this because believe it or not, the outdoor washrooms at the soccer game were also equipped with these very caring ladies. So I wiped my hands and searched desperately in my purse for some change. I swore I had something... Sadly, I did not. The ladies were watching me and I turned to them with an "I'm so sorry!" expression and they smiled very nicely and told me not to worry and that it's ok. Relieved that they weren't upset but super embarrassed I hadn't learned my lesson from the soccer game, I left the restroom and of course one of the ladies opened the door for me to exit. I'm really not used to these full service restrooms in most public places. Anyways, I felt so bad because they were so nice and I had nothing to offer. From now on I will always carry change in my bag!!!