6 weeks and 3 days ago, I left home. Feels more like 2 days ago, and this relaxed Sunday morning calls for a bit of reflection and preparation for my birthday / next voyage. Haven’t left Douai for the past two weeks ( not entirely true ), simply because I could not figure out where to go. Most of the places close by have been visited, and well, can’t go very far just for a weekend. It also serves an ulterior motive : I get to save for my extravagant 20th birthday! Sorry folks, I’m spending all that money on me. On what exactly? You’d find out soon enough, and I bet you’d be as excited to see it as I am in planning it! Woohoo!
So, last Thursday, I went to this really amazing “International Students Welcome” at Lille, for all the students in the Northern-France region. This gala, was so pretty amazing that I was so upset when it ended, not being able to do even half of the things I wanted! But hey, whatever I did, made me really happy! I made some new, awesome friends from all over the world, and that’s the best thing that can happen at any such meeting!
Edit : This year’s video with me in it! 😀 0:34 and 1:25!
Yes. That. Awe. Some.
Another interesting thing that has happened is, I’ve finally started cooking! I enjoyed it, but never really did it back home. But here, I was proud to roll out my first batch of paranthas ( Indian bread ) for my French and Chinese friends, who were, at first, shocked at the idea of eating this with plain yogurt, but melted into sheer appreciation just after the first bite. Haha! Go, Paranthas! I’m looking forward to going back home and cooking with mom on weekends, as well as cooking for myself. That should be interesting!
There’s a mess/ restaurant here for the weekdays, which, I have to admit, is simply the best! Not taste wise, mind you, but it is so freaking healthy, and being the freak that I am, I love it to the core! 2 fruits, everyday! Meat, everyday! Salad, everyday! What more do you need? And it’s dearly missed on the weekends. Like today, I’m really craving Indian food : which I can’t cook or can’t find the ingredients for. Hence, sticking to a baguette with tomatoes for now. Tomorrow is Monday. Good food, soon!
Oh, and I tried Mussels for the first time! So much win!
Enough with the food. Next bit : Language! How come I never heard this before? It’s so incredulous! The word ‘cheap’ doesn’t exist in French! Now what does that tell you about the French and the shops? There is just one word : “Chere” which means expensive. Then there is “pas chere”, which means not expensive. Haha, funny how it works. I’m progressing with my French, but not as much as I would have liked. I guess it’s a logarithmic learning curve right now, with me coming closer and closer to saturation. Another aspect is that I’m not devoting enough hours to French, which is another factor why I’m not progressing as fast as possible. But well, I guess it is what it is. Everyone I meet still teaches me something new in French!
The morning I managed to check out the Beer tents in Munich, was the morning I was on my way back, to Frankfurt! Bus at 12 Noon, weird timing, I know, means I spend the day on the road, I know. But you know exactly why I chose this bus! ( Hint :Munich : Day 0 : second para). Thankfully, I had another sliver of good luck! I found a host in Frankfurt as well : And, I was pretty much walking into one of the best experiences with Couchsurfing in my life! The second one per se, but you get the idea. Say Hi to my awesome hosts :
I was with them for the night, which was pretty eventful! We cooked, discussed religion a bit : everyone I’ve met anyplace is always interested to know why the cow is sacred, and why we don’t eat beef. You only realise how peculiar it is to the rest of the world when you meet them like this! Oh, and I finally got to play a Ukulele! Not that I’m great at it, but thanks Jenny for trying to teach me! I was kind of apprehensive that it might break 😛 Glad I got to try it 🙂 I was really touched by their hospitality. I’m relatively new to this concept, but damn, I really love it! Hopefully I’d get to host someone soon as well!
The next morning, I was off. I bade good bye to my new friends, and was off to discover the city. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do, because there isn’t really a lot to do here, and the earlier stop in Frankfurt was enough to look at the city highlights. There was a small chinese garden close by, which I decided to check out.
There was also a model-shot of sorts going on inside, to a corner. It was pretty hilarious as the models tried to change clothes trying their best to not be seen by curious on lookers. Haha, first time I’ve seen something like this!
There were 2 main mutually exclusive things I could have done this time : a 2 PM free tour ( Not Sandemans, not this time 😛 ) or the IAA : 27th September was the last day for the Frankfurt Auto Exposition. I had started the day thinking I’d go to the IAA, but around 1 PM, I changed my mind and went for the tour! After all, I had just seen the city, but hadn’t understood it. This tour was decent. Slightly boring in between, but majorly informative.
What’s interesting about Frankfurt : There are certain sectors where it is legal to do drugs. You see everyone on these streets, with a needle in their hands and the other arm stretched out. I clicked a photo, from a distance, as I wasn’t very comfortable going to them and asking for a picture. I don’t know if you can see them, but they’re on the right side of the street, and that’s tourists on the left side.
Oh and on the left is the Casino, next to the most famous brothel in all of Frankfurt! You remember the rules from Amsterdam, right? No photos! We then transitioned from the story on this side of the town to the city center : Passing by this really cool building. It’s cool because, one word : Free-Masons.
The sign on the arch is the Free masons logo! Damn, I felt fantastic looking at it and thinking about all the conspiracy theories surrounding it. I wonder why they declared this so openly though.
Pretty cool art installation, isn’t it? The green men symbolise ‘travelling without borders’ referring to the unification of Germany. In today’s time, possibly referring to the Immigrant situation. I don’t know for sure.
One thing, really characteristic of Frankfurt is that it is really pretty!
At the end of the tour, I went south of the river to explore this side of town, as I hadn’t been here yet. This side is much more happening. There are a lot of bars in a very small place and there’s good music all around! I also found my very first Hooters bar : Yes, the waitress was smoking hot. Wasn’t looking for a drink, so I didn’t stay long! The south side, was the right place to be this time! Simply because, the sun was setting in the North-west, and you could sit by the river, watching it go down. However, this wouldn’t have been possible from the other side of the shore!
I bought a pizza-brot : Which is essentially just garlic bread in the form of Pizza, but half as expensive. I thought it was a bargain! And, sat by the river, watching the sunset, to be greeted by a couple of swans.
And here’s something crazy : I don’t know how it got there, I just realised it while going through the photos. Please be a U.F.O.!!
See the peculiar green spot?
I went on, to the bridge, and I was pretty much on top of it for the next two hours with good music thanks to my earphones. It was a truly magical moment! So beautiful, and so happy. I was standing on the bridge, by the side and onlookers would pass by. We would share a glance, nod and they’d move on. I just couldn’t get myself to move, it was so pretty.
Oh, and another thing : This day was the super-moon day. Could it get any better than this!?
But, I had a fantastic time, nevertheless! The camera was just secondary. One minute in between, get it done with, and restart looking into the beauty of the night. Finally, about 8 PM, the cold forced me to find shelter. Also, my bus for Paris left at 9:30, so I figured it was time to get to the station, and get some dinner, before I boarded the bus.
There was something magical about this day that I can’t just put in words. My seat, I could extend it back slightly more than the others. There was no one sitting next to me, so I had the whole seat to myself. ( Important if you’ve ever travelled by bus for > 6 hours ). There was no one behind me. I had the most amazing music playing into my ears. I relaxed back, put my hands behind my head, the kind with elbows sticking out, looked to the left, out of the window, with nothing blocking my view, the window was spotless, and out into the light* was the moon, looking so huge, shining brightly, and the moonlight was enough to light the landscape down below. The trees, the bushes, the crops. I could see it all, just because of the moon. Then my thoughts wandered off to this girl I don’t know, who is even more beautiful and magical than this day I was witnessing, and hopefully, sometime soon, I’d get to write more about her.
After a good night’s sleep, I was off to explore the city, and like the ritual goes, what better way to do it than with another Sandemans Tour!? Haha, yes, again! 10 AM, Marienplatz, arguably the most famous spot in Munich, with the clocktower, the townhall and the 2nd most highly overrated attraction in Europe : Glockenspiel, or the clock show! I was here, right underneath the gold and bronze statue of Mary, waiting for the tour to start.
I got to discover the other side of Munich. How hitler influenced this town, which was actually the birthplace of his movement. The third reich. Bavaria(which is something like the “state” containing munich), the importance of beer here, the ludwig kings and loads of other things. Here’s one really interesting pillar, in the markt ( marketplace) that symbolises all that is going on here :
Bottom most : The father and son towing barrels of beer, with the 6 breweries in town, all producing different kinds of beer, with the 7th barrel holding the sign of purity : The beer is pure, and no adulteration has taken place.
On top : Oktoberfest! Left side, the swings, and right side, the beer!
On top :The schafflers, or the munich barrel makers. They dance every 7 years in the townhall. The story behind this is also pretty interesting! It was, in fact, started after the Plague in 1517, to renew the joy of life in the city, to attract the people back to the beer, so that the barrel makers don’t run out of business. Bloody brilliant!
Higher up : Not sure what that stands for.
The flag is the flag of Munich. Yes, there are a lot of flags here! The blue and white one in Marienplatz is for Bavaria.
And on top, is the monk, with wheat, going to brew some beer. You see? That’s how important beer is to Bavaria!
Following on, I met the second Juliet : the idol of love in Munich. This is actually a romantic city, and I didn’t have trouble believing it.
Ofcourse, I did that 😀
*A lot of other things on the tour, but if I go into everything, what is Michelle going to tell you next time you’re in Munich?*
By the end of the tour, it was about 1. I wanted to go to Oktoberfest, but not so soon! Michelle, the tour guide was really nice and pointed me out to the cool eating spots and I tried one of them for traditional German food : brotwurst and weisswurst. Which is really a sausage in bread. Sadly, can’t eat beef and the pork one tastes like shit, unless there’s cheese in it. ( käsebrotwurst / käsewurst) wurst means sausage in German!
It was really cool to use German here, I could pretty much understand what was written everywhere, but not when they spoke! But that’s okay, I’d brush up on it some other time.
I decided to go up up St. Peter’s church, to a really cool view of Munich. At first, it looked a lot like Russia to me. I haven’t been there, but I imagined it to be like this:
Incidentally, I met a girl from Russia on top! Haha, I asked her the same question, to which she replied that there’s not so much red in Russia. Ah, so this is Germany! The characteristic red buildings. I wonder why I thought red was characteristic of Russia. Hmm.
We spent a lot of time up there. It was really pretty and I was really tired climbing those 300 steps to the top.(Don’t know about her, I didn’t ask 😛 ) Ugh. It just costed 1 euro, so that’s pretty cool! We bade goodbye once we went down ( thanks a lot for inviting me to Vienna! 😀 ) and I went again to Marienplatz for the Glockenspiel. 2nd most overrated attraction in Europe. I forgot to ask Michelle about the most overrated one, damn!
Well, I guess you can watch it once.
Later that night, I went to Oktoberfest. Finally.
So, something that might strike you as weird is that : I don’t drink Beer. Hence, I didn’t try anything beer related at Oktoberfest. So, I can’t comment on the quality of the beer. All I can tell you is this : This was pretty much the craziest convention of beer drinkers from around the world! All the 12 tents were full of people, some really amazing music, dancing with the enormous 1L beer mugs in their hands! The lines for the tents are incredulous! It’s almost impossible to get in. I waited around for a while, and slipped in when the security guard wasn’t looking. Both days. I think it’s the easiest in this tent :
The next morning, before leaving Munich, I managed to get into some of the nicer tents :
Another thing that this experience exposed me to, was “Picking Up Women, 101.” Let’s just say, like many guys, I’m an idiot when it comes to understanding signals given by women. Shit. Damn it. Let’s just leave it at that.