Tag Archives: Germany

A mirror selfie, really Erika?

Yup.  This solo photo and tiny post is for two main reasons.

#1 – For the friends and family that don’t have facebook or consistent contact with me.  Here’s an idea of how the end of each travel stretch usually looks like.  

#2 – For me.  In years to come, I’d like to look back and recall the way I felt standing there. So many emotions.

You may be able to recognize the exhaustion behind my eyes.  This comes from weeks of walking, drinking, laughing and minimal sleep that I barely acquired on floors, buses, trains and other random surfaces. You might also see the excitement in my smile to be heading west towards the friends and family who I miss dearly. I’m sure you also saw the random trash can behind me.  Just stating the obvious.

The necklace I have on was made by a kiwi that had moved to Santa Catalina Panama to sell her jewelry at Cafe La Buena Vida. The jacket was given to me by Denise in Amsterdam, I bought the shoes in New York City and snagged the scarf in The Netherlands (my original scarf and boots were taken off of a friends porch, hopefully by someone in greater need). The elephant bag in my hand is the replacement for the original one seen in Sisterhood of the traveling bag. It dubs as a grocery sac, airplane carry-on and my purse.

What you don’t see in the photo below is what’s in the bag on my back. There’s a used dirndl that I rolled up in cling wrap to make it as small as possible, a torn plastic bag stuffed with dirty socks and a pair of jeans that smelt like currywurst and beer.  Of course it also contains my toiletries, more clothes, a first aid kit and invisible bricks that make this thing feel like a bag of rocks at times.

Wouldn’t trade any of it.

 

Next stop in sunny(ish) California! I’ll be there for a quick visit with some incredible friends as I repack “Big Blue” (appropriately named by one of my favorite blog followers). You’ll notice my posts will be fewer in the upcoming weeks as my focus has turned towards preparing for the next glorious chapter. 

To be continued…

Torn pants… A successful Oktoberfest 

The day at Oktoberfest can start as early as you’d like, but considering our morning in Hurry up and wait! we chose to enjoy the slow beginning and take our time. Plus, we planned on spending a majority of the day walking around the festival and soaking in the warm sun. For a past similar experiences, check out Oktoberfest, outside of the tents.

To start off, we headed for the main train station and walked from there (with the other few thousand). 

    
   
Arriving to the festival, you’d think you were at any other state fair or large amusement park.  With happy crowds of all ages, the sound of excited kids is barely heard over the screaming from the passengers strapped in to the sky high carnival rides. The smell is sweet at times of all the roasted nuts and candy coated treats. If you’re near the edges, the scent of bratwurst battle the air with fried chips and smoked fish.

     
This stubborn German (such a rare find – to be said in an exaggerated voice) said I could only take a photo of his “stein tower” if he was in it or I paid him.  Jokes aside, I got the pic. 

      
 
2 things about the next collage. 

#1. I love the sea of dirndls and lederhosen sitting so patiently waiting for the ride.

#2. I wonder if the graphics on the backdrop would be allowed in the United States. Just a thought.

   
 
Even our girls hopped on one! 

 
Check out these swings.  A single person or doubled up… I want to do both! 

   Not up for the stomach twisting tilt-a-whirls? Just hang out with the other thousand sitting by the famous Bavaria Statue.   All of the upside down activities not treating you well? Just look for the red cross balloon!  
After hours of wandering around, we decided for one last hoorah in a tent. Instead of the rowdy group, we went for an old fashioned tent with traditional dancing and locals that… lets say… this isn’t their first go round. 

     

   
  This was a first for all of us. Chairs up and last ones out of the building? I’m honored. 
 As you can imagine, leaving the festival provided a show for itself with stumbling toes, unrecognizable conversations (if you call them that) and plenty of smiles. I’ve been coming to this event for years and there never seems to be room for fights. I think that’s amazing considering the amount of adult beverages consumed in such a short time. Keep up the spirited energy! The bottom photo is Florian actaully passing out high-fives, well done my friend… Well done.
 Coolest photo of the night was snagged by Carina. Gorgeous!    
The final train ride home and a walk of fresh air was the perfect ending to our festivites. 
  
“Hayden, are your shorts torn”? Oktoberfest was a success!

 
I predict a solid night sleep ahead…

  

Question:

If you only got one day at Oktoberfest, would you choose an outside experience or a day inside the tents?

 

Theresienwiese

Dirndl: a traditional dress typically worn in southern Germany primarily in Bavaria during Oktoberfest.

Lederhosen: a mans traditional outfit worn in southern Germany primarily in Bavaria during Oktoberfest.

Beer: the number one liquid (even over water) consumed during the 16 day festival.

Time to experience Bavaria Germany at the worldwide known event! Feel free to read Hurry up and wait! to see how we made it to this moment.

Once the doors open there are 2 rules, no running and no standing on the table tops.  Other than that, first come-first serve.  Ready, set, GO!  
 
Once  you’ve claimed your table, you sit patiently like children in the classroom waiting for cupcakes and chocolate milk. The menu is on the table for the ordering all day and the beers start flowing from out of nowhere!

  

    
 Quick story of the day: Carina and Jenni ordered Weisswurst (a white Bavarian sausage) that requires the removal of a thin skin before you can eat the meat.  I’m used to this process after witnessing in times past, however my sweet girls clearly had never seen such a thing. Please… please enjoy this sequence of photos I captured during the removal of the skin! 

 

 
Well that was fun.
All righty, lets take a look around and share the glorious energy of thousands of people gathering to celebrate! In no specific order, here’s a series of photos for your own personal tour through the eyes of my camera. 

    
     
     
     
     

      

     

Did I mention that we were still having a blast? My cheeks began to hurt from the laughing, singing and smiling. The energy all around just keeps you going!

   Year after year, we’ve kept our classic photo a tradition!
 

  
 

End of the day? Yep.

Hopefully that gave you a decent idea of the fun to be had inside the tents at Oktoberfest. Tomorrow will bring a solid vision of what’s happening on the outside during these festivities! 

Random Oktoberfest facts:

Oktoberfest started as a celebration of the wedding between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his wife, Princess Therese. 

There is approximately 1.8 million gallons of beer served every year at this festival.

Paris Hilton is banned for Oktoberfest due to inappropriate dress attire while trying to promote a new product.

Over 4,000 lost and found items turn up by the end of these shenanigans. Last year items included 350 cell phones, 520 wallets, over 1,000 passports, 370 pairs of glasses, 425 sets of keys, 1300 items of clothing, and at least one set of dentures. Even 48 children were lost, then found. 

A waffle, a walk and a picnic in the park

The city of Bochum sits between Essen and Dortmund in the  northwestern part of Germany. It offers shopping, a variety of food and a long street of bars, clubs and pubs.  Our favorite spot?  Just at the end of the strip is Konrad Adenauer Platz or KAP for short. With open air seating for the public surrounded by options of drinks and treats, it makes for the perfect meeting point. 

 Our choice is one of Carina’s friends who opened an adorable camper providing healthy(ish) options that are all made right in front of you. A sweet waffle or savory crepe, what’s your delight?
   
 
 

Allie and I split a warm crepe with pumpkin, carrots, cashews and some sort of vegan apple-cream sauce.

(Please take notice to her small red sign on the right… LOVE it!) 
With good food and a sunny day, we chose for a walk to a local hotspot known as West Park.  

     

   
I found this location unique considering the grand size of the open green areas that sat directly in front of an old industrial plant. The mysterious looking building is now used as a concert venue.  I’d love to come back and see a performance there!

    
 

Blankets, check. Loving friends, check. Snacks, drinks and a peaceful convo in the park, check!

    
 
There’s no way I was going to let this backdrop slide without a handstand shot.  What a perfect addition from the girls! 

The evening brought more people to the table and left us with a bundle of new friends.  

 Then one last walk on our favorite strip. Obviously we like to recreate photos and this one was brilliant and completely unexpected! The top photo from 4 years ago includes my dear friend Tiffany (filled in by Hayden) and another gentleman to make the duplicate. Adults being kids… why not?!  

What a joyful send off! Now where you ask? The southeastern city of Munchen! Otherwise known as Munich, this is the home that hosts the popular event of Oktoberfest.  Not an imitation party, or your local towns version… but the actual 205 year old festival! This will be my 4th attendance but for the other Americans, it’s their first!

Getting to take them is like what I imagine bringing your kids to Disneyland for the first time would be like. You’re more excited to watch them experience it more than you are even going!

The 4 of us will take the night bus and meet the others that will follow by car in the morning. Good night!

Backpacker fun (or not so fun) fact:

We saved $300 as a group by sufferring through the bus ride verses a sleeper car on a train. Worth it? Depends which one of us you ask.

 

Fútbol… Not soccer.

Over the years, I’ve been able to attend a variety of professional sports games in different countries.  Like Rugby in New ZealandAmerican football, cricket in Barbados, hockey, baseball, basketball, just to name a few! On this glorious day, my favorite Germans are treating us to an experience that (little did I know) would be the best live sports event I have ever been to!

To get to the game we boarded a train with the other fans and made our way to the stadium Westfalenstadion! Look at this happy bunch, from left to right:

Hayden: Self procalimed “spaz” with a huge heart and deep love for quality beer.

Allie: A peaceful yogi that lights up any room with her smile and dominates speaking US slang.

Florian: An artistic musician with the humor of a German raised in “Cali”.

Carina: The smallest and most fierce cop with the spirit of an angel.

Emily: Pleasantly honest. Her contagious laugh enhances every situation.

Me: Luckiest girl to be with all of the people above.

 Now, there’s something to be said about watching your team play and the energy behind it. I suposse that’s why this experience was so outstanding to me.  I’ll admit I’m not a soccer fan, nor did I have a team so origianlly I wanted to attend this game just for a new adventure. It took only minutes for me to not only become a fan… but a fan of BVB! 

Let me show you why…

 First off, just getting to the game was a blast!

   

  As we arrived you could feel the energy naturally being elevated with the sea of black and yellow. Excited fans aged from stroller bound infants to elderly… men, women, friends, families, this crowd was a balance of it all! I also personally loved the line of stunning horses verses segway patrol.

 You won’t find nachos or popcorn at this game, but there seemed to be an unlimited supply of Bratwürstchen (aka bratwurst) and condiments.  Check out the size of the ketchup and mustard dispenser! 
 
Game time! Lets head in and check out the biggest stadium in Germany!

  Wait! Pause for a fun pic… 
I truly hope that I’m not the only one that gets an overwhelming rush when peaking over the top step and having the stadium open up in full vision.  It’s such a powerful sight! Welcome to the home of Borussia Dortmund… Go BVB!

 
The game hadn’t even started yet and the crowd was already chanting and jumping in some sort of traditional ceremony style. Honestly, the crowd is what made this one of the best I have ever witnessed. That, and their mascot Emma the bee!

 When I thought the chanting was the extent of tradition, Carina snagged my scarf to show us the next step in becoming a BVB fan.  This was such a cool sight! 

   
 

 Think the game is good?  Wait till they score.. Gooooaaalll!!  

     
 
What a memorable day with amazing people!  
     
What do the happy faces from above look like with a tied game in the end? 

 
Not to worry, we finished the event with our traditional shot! Silly excuse for one more pic, but I’ll take it! The first collage is over a few years from random locations followed by the one from the game today. 

   
Good night Dortmund!  

  
Sports question of the day:

Would you rather have tickets to your favorite sports team for one season or locker room passes for one game?