Monday, October 17, 2011

Oktoberfest! Better late than never...

These past two weeks have really flown by for me and it’s even to harder to think that I was just in Norway on the 18th of September. The trip down to Austria was not too bad, even considering all of the crap I had to schlep around Wien while trying to find the train station and the bus stops at the same time. In the end everything worked out nicely, because I was able to find the bus from the airport that went directly to the stop that I needed to get to rather than having to take three trains on the subway line. I was actually just thinking about getting a taxi, but this worked out much better! Once I arrived in Oberwart I met Herwig and Walter at the bus stop. We then headed off to the church where I was set to stay the next couple of nights. The room had everything that I needed except for internet, but with hoarders on my hard drive life without internet was made a bit easier! The next day on the 19th, Herwig and I went to the schools that I will be teaching out just to say hi, and so that I could get acquainted with my surroundings a bit better. I checked out an apartment later on that day, got a haircut, and went to the store to pick up some food and beer for my trip to Munich. For the rest of the evening I just chilled out and watched some TV, because I had a full day of traveling and drinking ahead of me!

On the following morning Herwig came by to pick me up so that I could get down to the bus station on time. The bus ride to Wien wasn’t too bad, only 1 hour 35 minutes! I wish that I was closer still, but I’m not gonna cry about it because it takes less time than getting to Graz. The train ride to Munich though felt like an eternity. Maybe because my trip two days before took 12 hours and maybe that one day break just didn’t do the trick, but it was still unbearable having to embark on another expedition. As soon as I got to Munich I checked into the Stusta, then went down to Edeka to get a case of beer, frozen lasagna, and an energy drink. Classy. J. I then waited around for Marz and Jona to get back before taking off and meeting up with Jill and David at Oktoberfest. When I was getting ready to meet them at the train station, I was trying to figure out whether or not I should wear my Trachten or not. It just became a snowball effect when I was just gonna wear my Karo Hemd, and then two minutes later I was putting on my lederhosen. I was really happy that I was finally able to see them after almost seven or eight months that we last saw one another. We went to the Wiesn where we had a couple of beers and some bratwurst. David was almost dead from the flight, while Jill was bubbling around trying to get into a Zelt! After a while walking around, we headed back to the train station where we parted ways… at least until next day.

21.09.11 The fuzzier areas.
This is where the bulk of my Oktoberfest begins. It gets hazy in most areas, but after a long time checking facebook, text messages, and tickets. It is all starting to somewhat come back to me. On Wednesday Jill and I met up downtown at the train station so that I could show here around the downtown area and into university. We walked from hauptbahnhof to Marienplatz where we were able to sit down at one of the cafes/restaurants next to the neues rathaus. The weather was perfect that day to be in Munich. I had the bratkartoffeln mit Schnitzel und ein Bier dazu, while Jill had a salat. Oh, and from now on, most of my blogs will contain a large mix of German. So get used to it, and don’t roll your eyes. After all I’ve been telling all of you for years that you needed to learn German! We then continued walking down towards Odeonsplatz and University. Jill really enjoyed seeing all of the cafes and shopping centers on route, but I don’t know many people who would disagree with that observation. It really makes the city more enjoyable when you can actually do so from time to time. We saw Frauenkirchen, and then headed into der Englische Garten by Odeonsplatz. As always during the Munich summers there are old nude men in the garten standing up and strutting their stuff around. Not close enough to see any in detail, or maybe just not big enough, but they make no attempt like many of the other pleasant nudists who lay down, rather than arching their backs. Jill thought it was disturbing and funny at the same time… a shared perspective by most everyone. We then continued on to Universitaet, then back down to Odeonsplatz once more where we sat down at Starbucks to have a coffee. A little bit afterwards I headed back to the Stusta to await the call from Emily that I could meet up with her, Balazs and the other Hungarians in one of the Oktoberfest Zelts. Once I was called up for duty, I put on my uniform, guzzled down a liter of beer, and took off! Once I got down there, we had a great time. They already had a table reserved and just need to fit me in there to grab a beer. After that tent, Hippo-, we went to the Schottenhammel Zelt, where things started to get much better. Best tent by far, because people are actually having a good time and standing on the benches, rather than sitting down like a bunch of old geezers (for brits: not gangsters). We didn’t end up leaving until around 10:45 that evening, and by the time I got home, my roommates were already asleep which was very lame. Who needs to work when Oktoberfest is happening anyway??? Haha!

I spent most of the day in recovery mode before heading back out with Jill and David. The only thing I did was get another blue karo hemd for my trachten-anzug. Then around 6pm I met up with them at the Paulaner Zelt where they were able to hook me up with a wrist band which I could order all the drinks my heart could, would, and did desire. I kept it low key though because I knew that I would spend the next day drinking from 930 am onwards. So I just had about 4.5 liters of beer. The food that Jill was so kind to save for me was amazing, and I just had an overall great time hanging out with them, and enjoying my favorite city in Europe with them. We headed back a little bit earlier than usual, and once I got back to the stusta I was a wreck. Just ask Marz. I was in the happy drunk telling jokes mode the entire time. But I’m always that way anyway just before going to bed, haha.

Today was definitely the climax of my booze cruise Munich run. Started out the day nicely without any kind of headache whatsoever, got dressed, and met Emily down at the Augustiner Brauerei along with a bunch of her friends. Apparently everyone who saw Emily waiting for us thought that she was a waitress and wanted to take pictures with a real life bier kellnerin. Haha… Then she just decided to go inside to wait for us instead. I had the Weiss-wurst mit Suesses Senf, und noch ein halbes liter hells dazu. Finde Bier zum Fruehstueck eine gute Tradition Deutschlands! Don’t always do it! But it’s nice to do so every once in a while. Oh, and we had Bretzl’s as well… SO GOOD! We then took off around 11 to get to the our tent around 1130 a.m. Once we sat down, we had drinks all around with our beautiful gutscheins to get them, along with a gutschein fuer ein halbes hendl, which we order later for our lunch! The Stimmung in the Zelt wasn’t too bad, but not the same when you can’t stand up and dance on the benches. Some of the other Hungarians met up with us and the Americans a little bit later. Once our reservation was up at 530 pm, we went over a Paulaner Bier-Stube to drink some Weissbier. We ended up hanging out there for the rest of the evening. We had a really good time, and later on that evening around 10 or so, I met up with Jessica in front of the Alpina Bahn. We went on for a ride with some of her other friends before getting back to the Bierstube to get some more beer. Once we were there, I order one more beer and then five minutes later I was given another for free. The free one I gave away because I to have my limits. It was fun though getting to know some of her friends before I hit the wall. I then left with Emily and the others to get back home. The journey home was 100% luck, meaning that I’m surprised that I kept myself together on the subway and actually made it back in one piece.  All in all we all had a great time, und manchmal will ich die Zeit zurueck, aber so ist das wenn man eine gute Zeit hatte.

Today I didn’t do too much. The only cool things that I did were recover from the previous night and go to the FC BAYERN game against Leverkusen. I wore all of my Trachten gear to the game and had a great time seeing us win 3-0 with Robben scoring the final goal! After the game I just came back home, hung out for a bit, then went to bed shortly afterwards.

All in all… Wiesn: 5 stars. 

FC BAYERN gegen Leverkusen... 3-0!!!

best friend :)

Weisswurst, Suesses Senf, and a Helles :)

Kenne mein Limit nicht.. lol



The Hungarians and I

Jessica and I during Wiesnzeit!

David and I in the Paulaner tent!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last week in Norge

So after a long 4.5 month vacation, it's about that time to get out and start making some money... after I spend all of what I have left at Oktoberfest! haha... This last month in Norway must have been the toughest weather-wise. The first week being back from Paris and Germany was great, but since then its been all downhill. The left over of what hurricane Irene brought to the east coast made its way to Norway, which wasn't a pleasure as well. Aside from the typical weather complaint I have about Norwegian weather, it has been a really good experience being able to live with Elin. We learned how to cook Pad Thai together, ate fiskeboeller, and many other traditional Norwegian delights, along with the many desserts :) I also became better at playing fifa and mw2 as well! With so much time on my hands it would be hard not go in the right direction before their new releases this fall!There is so much that I could say about Norway and my time here, but many things are hard to put into words, and it would take too much time.

On the horizon however, I am looking forward to Oktoberfest, moving to Austria, and beginning a new challenge working as a teaching assistant! Being in Munich during the 09-10 school year really taught me how to be a real European. Meaning enjoying 5 month vacations :) But the American in me tells me to get up from the couch because my Hartz IV is about to run out. My experience working at the German-American school taught me a lot about being a teaching assistant and has helped me communicate better with children, and how to respond in the classroom. I won't be working with second and fifth graders in Austria, but the dynamic will be similar. The only difference I will be facing is playing a much larger roll in guiding the lessons. Something that I never had to do at my other school. Sure I will be a little bit nervous at first (who wouldn't be), but those jitters will go away pretty quickly because I'll be working with mostly girls. So I better keep their attention long enough that they won't give me a hard time. Haha... I'll be living right across the street from one of the schools next to the hospital. The small city of Oberwart has a mall and some other minor conveniences that will be much enjoyed! Including a Hooters as well. Haha... I think its hilarious that they actually have a Hooters there. I mean, who did they have to pay-off in order to persuade them that its needed? The damn town is only 7000 deep and they don't even have a Starbucks??? LOL! The only things that I'm not looking forward to however is leaving Elin and the long day of travel coming up this Sunday. Positives though are that I'll be closer to Elin than I was living in the States, and that I can get settled into my new place sooner so that I can go to Oktoberfest. In Munich I'll be bringing my xbox and staying with a couple of good friends in the Stughetto! Anyways, I'll stop blabbing about the future... You'll just have to wait till Monday/Tuesday to hear about Oberwart and my Lederhosen!

The Fjord!

My mistress

Friendly Norwegians... Its only 55 degrees out! SUMMER i Norge!

Cool barn!

Little Town along the Fjord

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back from Paris and back in Bergen

The rest of my travels in Germany from Munich to Berlin were great! My most enjoyable time in Germany was in Munich. The last time around I went to a couple of Bayern games with Emily, Shantell's friend from Denver, to watch FC Bayern beat AC Milan on the first evening. The seats were kind of high up, but we still had a great angle to see everything happening during the game. I like to think that there is no such thing as a bad seat for a soccer game unless you have to sit on one of the end zones. On the second day there was no confusion meeting up with Emily, and this time her boyfriend Balagz was also there. A bit later a friend of his also showed up to join us at the game. It was really fun getting to know all of them at the same time, and even though Bayern lost that game we still had a good time just hanging out with one another. I was not really able to hang out with some of the kids that I wanted to see before leaving from the Munich program, but we at least were able to speak for a little bit. The only other "major" thing that I did before leaving Munich for Berlin was buying my Lederhosen and Hemd. I went to a couple of other places to have a look at what they had, even potentially buying something, but the service I found at some of these places were just terrible. I did not even receive a hello, just a disturbed 'what the hell are you doing here shopping' glance. Not even a glare, just a quick glance. At the same time they had only one old guy working upstairs in the men's department, meanwhile they had about 8 women helping downstairs with 2 customers. Makes sense right? I just went back online to find a place to buy my Lederhosen where they would actually provide some customer service, because I had no idea how the Lederhosen should fit and look on me. So I finally found 'Trachten Rausch' on Google and the woman there was able to help me find everything that I needed! Finally! It cost me a pretty penny to get everything, but it was important to me to get it all this time around. Plus, it's not something that I need to re-buy year after year. These should last me at least 4 to 5 years before thinking bout having to buy a new pair. Might even wear them to my wedding one day :) in the Allianz Arena with the reception taking place at the Tribuehne in Stusta... haha... the dream lives on. But I was REALLY excited to finally get my Lederhosen before Oktoberfest. The next day I left Munich to head out to Berlin. The worse train ride is definitely from Munich to Berlin, and mind I that I've been on a LOT of train rides from Germany to Norway to the UK and this is the worse. Takes about 6 hrs of just doing nothing and then having to go through rainy east Germany is no picnic. Once I finally got to Berlin, the weather was really crappy, but the hostel was perfectly located next to the two best fast food stops Berlin has to offer. I would even say that Germany/ Europe has to offer. I just stayed in for the rest of the day in my 6 bed hostel room. The other kids that I met that evening were two girls from the UK who told me a bit about the others in the room. All in all, the kids who I met there were normal... at least compared to my Amsterdam experience. But that is not a very good standard as to judge people by, because by that standard the people of Derby are supermodels and philosophers. They kept to themselves and didn't try to rape me in my sleep or when I fake sleeping, and I was able to get  a full night's of sleep for all three nights without getting pissed off. The only annoying kids in my room were the French kids who were from Lille and smelled of booze, ass, and cheap cologne. One of the dudes was too frightened of the slightly cooler showers, so he decided that drenching himself with cologne would be a better choice. I really enjoyed my days though in Berlin though aside from the slightly smelly, but friendly, French kids. I went on 6k runs everyday through Brandenburg Tor, Tiergarten, and Potsdamer Platz. Around the British and then American Embassies to complete my halfway tour. During the day I just hung out downtown am Parisian Platz drinking my coffee and reading my book 'extrem Laut und unglaublich Nah.' Or hung out by the judisches Denkmal behind the American Embassy next to the Dunkin Donuts. I was also able to hang out with Anna from LC who was doing an internship in Berlin during the summer. We had dinner at this one burger joint in Ost Berlin which was really good, and then met up the following day with another American and two other friends that she met at her internship. Once I got back to the hostel later that day, I packed up the rest of my things and got ready for my trip to Paris with Elin.

Elin arrived in Berlin around noon on August 3rd, and then we headed to Brandenburg Tor where we had lunch before taking the bus out to the airport. The weather was nice and warm in Berlin... perfect travel weather! Once we got to the airport Elin ran straight for the Starbucks, haha. The trip to Paris was perfect and we made it to the hotel without a problem. The room that we had was facing the Eiffel Tower, even though we only saw about the upper third of the tower. The first night we went to a bistro to have pizza for dinner. The waiter was pretty interesting/funny and got lucky because we didn't know what the tipping etiquette was. After dinner we went to the Eiffel Tower and then walked across the street to Palais de Chaillot where we had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower on the warm summer eve. I was really happy to be able to take this trip with Elin, because this was our first 'vacation' together without the other working. The following day we went on a boat trip on the Seine, which was really nice to see a lot of the famous Paris sites without walking. And through-out the entire trip we were able to enjoy perfect weather while sight-seeing, and bad weather while we were inside eating/sleeping. A week in Paris is just enough time to get to see everything you want to see. Just remember to bring your European passport because if you're young enough the Louvre and the Palace at Versailles is free for you. Also remember that none of the Gypsies in Paris are deaf and mute, so don't give them money because they already get money from the government in many cases. And try not to spend money of the street venders selling miniature Eiffel Towers. Go to Disneyland if you have a chance, and remember that Paris isn't Germany, so order tap water when at Cafes because drinks (a can of soda) can cost you about 50% of your meal. Oh, and tip is ALWAYS included in the bill, Paris service tax law. Most importantly learn to enjoy yourself and don't feel like you have to see everything in one day, or else you will miss the point of being in Paris. The pictures tell the rest of the story!

Best Doener Shop, 'Mustafa's,' in Germany

A touch of class

Soviet WWII Denkmal

Walking through Tiergarten

View from Siegessäule


Prussian victory over France


Best Burger and Fries in Berlin

Brandenburg Tor

Haha, am Bahnhof picking up Elin

A tuna sandwich being eaten with knife and fork... Ugh, Europeans.

The main reason Elin came back to the mainland :D

Boat ride along the Seine

Symbolic of Russia's and France's friendship

Notre Dame!

Cool sandcastle building contest

What a French cappaccino looks like
At the Bistro for afternoon desert :)

Pommes des Tarte

Overpriced Crepe with Nutella

Tired Kenneth in front of Palace Invalides


Thomas Jefferson!

On the way up to the middle section of the Eiffel Tower

The Louvre
The Arc d'triumph

The Louvre!


At a Bistro ordering food after a long day at the Louvre

Palace at Versailles

Inside the Palace


So fancy!

Le Arc de Triomphe

Writing Postcards!
A sunny day! haha

In front of Jason Bourne's apartment!

L'arc la defense

Macarons :)

"I am John Michel Kane's assistant"

Pont Neuf

Kaiser Karl

Dirty City Pigeons

St. Michael
Amazing talent

In front of Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Champ de Mars


Airport in the morning