Hallooo!!! Long-time no… blog! I have returned to my little town in Germany after 2 weeks of travelling, drinking, and generally enjoying some time not speaking German and not living with an old lady.
AND despite dreading going back just a wee bit, I can confirm that I was actually excited to return to see Frau Nicks bless her cotton socks (I was also excited to see the chocolate she left on my freshly made bed – COULD SHE GET ANY BETTER?!).
SO where to start?! I have many an exciting thing to update you all (well, the 4 of you reading this) on in this post, the most exciting thing certainly being our little trip to OKTOBERFEST (with my Exeter trip coming close second, LY always TP x).
On a side (although not that side… quite main actually) note, before we embark on this happy blog post about my VERY enjoyable holibobs travelling around Europe with some fabby year abroad pals, there is one thing I’d like to quickly write about so just bear with me for a few lines…
When I sat down to write this post, I could tell that it was just one of those days where you realise, you’re in a small German town, your nearest English-speaking friend is over an hour away on the train, and your only excitement until the weekend is going to the town library open evening with said old lady. Gets to us all right??
What can you do about it? Bloody nothing.
So, despite ALL the LOVELY things which happen on a year abroad (and to which I will soon return because this blog is definitely NOT designed to be an outlet for year abroad complaints), there are times where you have to come to terms with just being by yourself, trying to enjoy your own company, and actually not beating yourself up about the fact that all you did today was teach some lessons, maybe go on a run, drink tea, and chat in German with your old lady bestie (again).
This is ESPECIALLY the case if like myself, you chose not to study, or you are placed in a rural town, and therefore find yourself outside of the student bubble, which I can personally definitely say, I have used as a comfort blanket for the last 2 years.
Basically, what I am trying to say is sometimes year abroads are just “very fucking schwer” (direct quote from Bennett, Maria (2018), which means bloody difficult in case you needed a translation), and sometimes you just have to have a little cry before you can get your shit back together.
I must admit, the reason why I write this blog is partially a selfish one, I want to have it to look back on when these days are (finally) over. Having said that, I also write it for a slightly less selfish reason too, which is to give anyone who is on a year abroad, or who is thinking of doing one in the future, a REALISTIC account of what it’s REALLY like.
Nevertheless, I am definitely NOT here to preach, and without a doubt I will (very quickly) re-immerse myself in the student bubble next year, but for now on a year abroad, you have to learn to be content with just peering in from the outside of the bubble… which, for now, is alright by me (well, it kinda has to be).
ANYWAY, back to the much more exciting events of the last few weeks!
The weekend before the holidays, Boppard held its own Weinfest, and a few friends trekked all the way here for it which was LOVELY – SPECIAL shout out to Sarah who came to see me and Boppard’s Weinfest… turns out, 7 years of not seeing close friends sometimes really does make no difference at all, TRUE LOVE EXISTS, I can confirm (pretty sure she mainly came for the wine, but I appreciate it anyway).
After my third Weinfest in 3 weeks, I am looking into becoming a professional sommelier (took me 5 attempts to spell that), in case this whole German, history thing falls through.
Hmu with any wine related questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’ve completed the first level of sommelier exams which apparently cost £2000 – absolute bargain compared to this degree !!
My last week of school was a fun one, filled with a class trip to a trampoline park where 10 year olds dragged me around for 4 hours and I nearly wee’d myself many times… flashbacks of our trampoline at home and pegging it back into the house… BUT it was lots of fun and nice to have a bit of bonding time in German with the younger kids, EVENTHOUGH they speak at 100 mph.
Then OKTOBERFEST DAY finally arrived and by some miracle, Rachael, Maria, and I successfully navigated our 8 trains and 3 metros to our air b and b in Munich with only a few hiccups which I won’t fill you in on now, if you follow my insta @boptothe then you will know all about it! (Shameless plug but you should defo give it a follow thanks x).
Our original plan for the Friday had been to have a few beers and suss out Oktoberfest before hitting it hard, early on Saturday morning.
WELLLL, that plan lasted about 0.4 seconds, until we saw everyone in their princess-like dirndls at Munich train station, SO we went straight to Lidl to buy some beers and then back to the air b and b to get changed.
The whole thing was mad, if you ever doubt if Germans can have a good time, I would recommend you go, just for a day. They go CRAZY.
Few tips if you ever go to Oktoberfest:
- GET YOURSELF A DIRNDL (or lederhosen if you happen to be a guy, but dirndls are so fun I’d recommend just going for that tbh)
- IT’S BIG, so I would suggest agreeing some kind of meeting place which everyone can forget after 2 beers, but at least you tried
- The pretzels are also HUGE, and PERFECT for those mid-beer drinking munchies
- You DO NOT need to pre for Oktoberfest
- The beers are served in a 1L Maß (NOT called a Stein… sorry Bierkeller)
- Yes, I agree, that seems like a doable amount of beer
- BUT they up the alcohol content to 14% (wish someone had told me this BEFORE we went on Friday night)
- Still seems manageable??
- Oh, and after 3 or more litres of beer, dirndls are very tricky to get off, see @rachhorner for tips
SO, after a more eventful Friday evening than we had planned, and some… unexpected chunder on Saturday morning (if you know, you know), we headed back into the beer ‘tents’ (actually MASSIVE FUCK OFF WEARHOUSES) for 2 more hard core days of holding heavy glasses of beer and dancing on benches to German songs we didn’t know (but let me tell you we gave the words our BEST shot).
Overall, Oktoberfest was 100% worth the money and consequential irrational fear of beer, and I would 10/10 recommend to a friend as part of the Deutschland experience.
Our holibobs continued after Munich to Salzburg for a ‘cleanse’ of all things carby and alcoholic… which lasted about 30 mins until we realised Salzburg was the home of Apfelstrudel.
I won’t bore you all with deets about Salzburg, but it was BEAUT and lots of fun…
Highlights definitely including the FESTUNGSBAHN (new vocab = fortress train… of course the Germans have 1 word for that, not niche at all), Salzburg castle (did I mention I do history??), and the massive doggo we found and consequently followed around… and considered kidnapping but alas he didn’t fit in our suitcases :(.
After Salzburg we headed to Prague, I prefer to give it its Czech name – Praha because it was Prahahahaha hilarious !!!
Despite being a bit ill (might have had something to do with Oktoberfest battering, something not even Salzburg could heal) Prague was BEAUT and lots of fun.
Again, I shan’t bore you with the specifics (did I mention you should follow my insta @boptothe for that??) but here are a few highlights:
- Prague has the John Lennon wall, which was hip and cool and indie (like me)
- Prague has lots of historical sites, from the medieval to the modern, so definitely one for the budding historian like myself !!
- Prague has lots of clubs and bars and cheap tequila
- Prague has deep fried cheese, which you can buy at 4am
- Prague is great
After leaving my gal pals in deepest, darkest Europe (and Mairead at the airport for an 8 hour wait to her flight because we were both too scared to get public transport to the airport alone #independence #girlpower), I headed back to the cosy world of Warwickshire for some doggy and famalam time. I have found, doggo cuddles solve everything.
After a few days at home, I realised most people actually work or go to school (who knew)… even the dog had hydrotherapy appointments (lol), so I headed down to Exeter for a few days which was FAB. It was SO nice to see people again and have lots of catch ups… ESPECIALLY seeing TP again… Glad I came home to give my liver a rest !!
Sadly however, even though they do say distance makes the heart grow stronger, leaving Exeter again was a litttleee bit sad and something I hadn’t really factored in Lsee you soon Exe, don’t forget about me x.
BUT on the way back up I did see some of my BESTEST friends in Bristol for lunch and cake… YUM.
With tea and chat catch up number 58 of the week complete, it was time to head back home and then… home?? Is Germany my home?? That’s a deep qu, I’ll leave it with you…
So, I’ve been back in Boppard for 2 weeks as of now, and have already been to a library open evening (mad), Frankfurt (madder) Frau Nicky’s son’s Birthday party (maddest… have been teaching superlatives to the year 6s – how did I do?), after which I woke up THINKING IN GERMAN!!!
Does this mean my transformation is complete?? Can I come home now?? Sadly, I’m not sureee that’s how it works…
Numbers of beers drunk in the last 2 weeks: 20+ (BIG ONES)
Number of books read out at the library open evening in German: 200+ (well… it felt like it)
Number of cups of tea drunk in the last 2 weeks: 2000+
Hope you enjoyed this post friends!! I am sorry its QUITE LONG… I had a lot to say and lots to update you all on!
Speak soon, I am visiting Heidelberg this weekend with meine Familie, and it’s meant to be VERY PRETTY so I will tell you all about it soon, promise.