I’ve heard the ERASMUS grant referred to as ‘free beer money’ on many an occasion, but until now I have underestimated exchange students’ ability to party. I am fairly exhausted but have had a great week, the best part of which was finally feeling completely at home in Munich as I showed a friend from Edinburgh (Matthew, a fellow ERASMUS student visiting from Mannheim) around my ‘new home town’.
Matt’s visit gave us a chance to visit some of the sights of Munich. We had a lovely morning visiting Marienplatz and the Frauenkirche, and then headed over to englischer Garten to soak up some Bavarian culture. We thought we would experience Munich’s beer as it was intended, and each purchased a giant pretzel and a Maß (a litre of beer). Unfortunately, all the ERASMUS partying has not changed the fact that I am one of the world’s biggest lightweights. Visiting BMW-Welt whilst slightly drunk was not one of my finest moments, but it made what was basically a car show room full of snap-happy tourists slightly more bearable.
After a dinner of Frikadellen and Eierspaetzle (meatballs and fried potato – I am a little too proud of myself for ‘mastering’ German cooking), I took Matt to meet some other exchange students and we ended up in a bar in the city centre. Following my Maß-induced headache, sharing a 4-litre bucket of unknown cocktail with friends and giant straws probably wasn’t a good move, but we got the last U-bahn home. I fear that Matt’s memories of Munich will be predominantly of me tipsily trying to find U-bahns, trams, and Germans willing to give directions at 1am in order to catch said U-Bahn, but the comparatively early night meant we were able to join my flatmate and her friends for a picnic in the park the next day. We played football, ate too much, petted some goats in the animal garden (those who have read my previous blog entry ie my mother – I am starting to seriously wonder about Germany’s relationship with goats) and then went shopping for fake blood and make up. We threw together some vampire costumes and then headed to a Halloween party. Germany doesn’t really ‘do’ Halloween, so we got some strange looks on the U-Bahn, but we had an amazing night.
Matt’s stay in Munich was great, but I did notice that his German is pretty much exponentially better than mine. He also (unhelpfully) pointed out that I still speak German with a Scottish accent, which must sound pretty ridiculous. I suppose I (naively) thought that once I arrived in Germany, I would somehow absorb the language by wandering around Lidl and listening in on conversations and end up reasonably proficient with little actual effort on my part. I have resolved to start speaking in German whenever I can, and read ‘die Zeit’.
My ‘free beer money’ has gone towards textbooks as well as alcohol this week, as I made the rather terrifying purchase of a 600 page nightmare dealing with German law on intellectual property. Hopefully I will see a lot more of Munich’s nightlife, awesome ERASMUS students and pretty places in the city in the coming weeks, but I will have to find the time to study at some point!