Having spent the last weekend in Douai, I was determined to go somewhere this weekend. Specially so when you realise you don’t have classes on Thursday or Friday! Now, if you tell anyone in Europe that you want to go to Munich, during Oktoberfest on a 3 days notice, on a tight budget, they’d most definitely call you crazy, and rightly so! People plan anywhere from 1 month to 8 months in advance! That’s how you get the best deals, but well, I made do with what I had…
I started with the most important thing : transportation. Combining EuroLines and Megabus, I could go to Munich via Frankfurt, with a 5 hour layover in Frankfurt, which was pretty nice to tour Frankfurt. However, there was a catch with the return: Saturday afternoon : 3 Euros, Sunday afternoon: 30 Euros. So, well you can see what I chose! Saturday ofcourse!
I then chose to stay a day in Frankfurt as well. This covered my journey from Paris to Frankfurt to Munich in a cool 65 Euros, return included! Sounds very good on paper.
Next : Accomodation. Where I almost lost hope and was kind of close to cancelling my plan. But the fact that I had already put in a few hours wanted me to keep going. Any hostel in any place in Munich: sold out. The minimum I found was 70 euros per night! THATS INSANE!
This is when, for the first time, I turned to Couchsurfing for help. How counter intuitive is that? If you have something that costs 20 Euros normally ( hostel) and something free ( Couchsurfing host) , you’re going to go for the free stuff first, right!? Turns out, you pay in terms of time for CS. There’s a chemistry, a chord you need to strike with the hosts for an acceptance. 8 hours of work later, with a very bright streak of luck, I found a host for my first day. Phew. Thanks so much, Muhammad! I planned to sleep in McDonalds for the second night, it couldn’t be that bad, right? And renting a hostel for the night in Frankfurt.
That pretty much covers it. Transportation and Accomodation.
Wednesday afternoon, after an exam in college, I completed my packing and left for the train station at Douai, at about 4:30 PM. You know the story, buy tickets for Paris, ( 20 euros each time. Sigh.)get to Paris and then onwards! I reached Frankfurt, an hour before scheduled time, at 5 AM! What was I going to do here, so early, in that cold? I helped a fellow traveller, who met me on the bus to find a hotel, as he couldn’t speak English / German, but we spoke Hindi. Worked for me as I didn’t have much to do. We parted ways soon after, and I went on to get some breakfast.
The first thing that struck me as odd about Germany was that the shopkeepers were really rude and arrogant! He literally waved his hand and said Go, bye to me while I was in the middle of ordering. Unbelievable! ( I saw the same thing at many shops with foreigners) probably because they don’t accept cards anywhere, only cash and I had asked if I could pay by card. Having a small breakfast with the sunrise, I decided to go see the city.
I’d cover Frankfurt on my return, that’s better! Otherwise I risk making this post too long to read 😛 ( I didn’t do much anyways during these 5 hours. )
Onto Munich! In the bus, at about 5:30 PM, I started to get restless. It had been more than 24 hours, I was on the road, hadn’t slept properly at all, didn’t have a lot of energy or a lot of water left and I felt like going back. Like that’s it, I’m tired! I felt like calling grandma, and my ‘marrain’ here in France, Juliette. But well, airplane mode was on, conserving battery, and I decided against it. That’s when I thought to myself, it’s going to be worth it, it always is. And I thought about this blog, about writing this, about how beautiful this journey is. That was a sickly sweet moment. At 7, I finally reached munich! Woohoo! Looking at so many pretty faces( and other stuff) already gave me the energy to venture on! Haha! The number of people here was incredulous! I followed everyone, knowing there was only one place they could be going, wearing that lederhosen and Dirndl.
Worked, because my host lived nearby. what insane luck!!!
Okay, I’ve been to Disneyland in the states, ocean world in Hong Kong, but this was insanely more awesome, as a theme park and a beer garden! Albeit much smaller. What’s really crazy is that they built rollercoasters in this temporary installation! German engineering :’)
There are 12 major tents, hosting about 5000 people each, and ofcourse the rides for everyone 🙂 The energy is amazing! It takes you over! I toured the place a bit, moving in the direction of my host.
I went on to Muhammads place, for my first ever Couchsurfing experience. I was instantly touched by his hospitality! Here I was, a stranger, at his place, and here he was, offering me milk and a bed for the night! We talked a bit, about how open the culture in Germany is, and a bit about our religions: which I’m not very well versed with. Probably because I am agnostic. Also, today was Id, a muslim festival, so he had to go to his fest, while I thought this was a great time to check out Oktoberfest, sans my heavy backpack! I’d probably go over more details in the next post, as I did more the next day!
That night, I requested Muhammad to hopefully extend my stay by a night, to which he agreed, and I am forever grateful for that! I could rest in peace, knowing I had a place for tomorrow night as well.