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Germany – Surprise, Surprise

Germany – Surprise, Surprise

Image-3.pngI’ll take a break from talking about Rome for a bit to write about my past weekend spent in Germany. Where to even begin…

A group of us 20+ Loyola students began our trip to Munich, Germany very early Friday morning. We left the JFRC at around 3:30am. Some of us didn’t go to sleep from the night before (stupid, I know), which left the flight to Munich full of snoring students. We arrived to what was the cleanest airport I’ve probably ever been in. No joke, it was spotless. It took us few trains to get to our airbrb, where our German host greeted us, friendly as ever. Oktoberfest wasn’t until Saturday, leaving us the entire Friday to explore Marienplatz, the main central square of the city. In walking up from the train steps to the center of Munich, we found it bustling with busy locals and tourists. This was the area in which I spent the day shopping, tasting German food, and trying on some ridiculous-looking lederhosen with my friends to wear the following day. Like most places, it’s hard to sum up Germany or Munich in only a few paragraphs. I tried to narrow it down in my mind to the three best, most memorable things about Germany and the world of Oktoberfest.

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 7.24.03 PM1. The People – How incredibly friendly everyone was… Germans love to chat about anything and everything. Where you are from, what you are studying, what the states are like. The people took me by surprise because they were extremely eager to help us have an amazing time. One night, we ended up at a local bar (I don’t remember the name) and it was filled with Germans of all ages. It only took us 10 minutes to make friends with some rowdy locals who wanted to sing their national anthem to us. They even requested for some American music to play so they could sing with us, arms around each other, swaying in a circle. So great. We didn’t only talk to Germans, either. People came from all over for Oktoberfest. Turkey, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and much more. Everyone was there to have the same good time we were searching for.

2. The Beer – As big as your head! The steins at Oktoberfest were huge. And delicious. And awesome. Before I could finish one beer, the next one was being placed in front of me. Good thing they served some giant pretzels and cheese pre-beer marathon.

3. The Experience – A totally crazy one. We arrived outside the gates of Oktoberfest at 6:00am, in downpouring rain. No one was allowed in the beer tents until 12:00pm. The one my friends and I chose to spend our day in is called “Paulaner München,” and it consisted of mostly Germans. I can understand how people attend Oktoberfest more than once. There is plenty to do, and we only just got a glimpse of it. I bet you didn’t know Oktoberfest was part carnival?? I sure didn’t. After drinking way too much beer, a few of us decided to go on some roller coasters in the still-downpouring rain (It didn’t stop raining once during our visit). I only wish I had a video of our faces… It will go down in my book as one of the hardest times I’ve ever laughed in my life.

Image-1One of the neatest moments for me in Germany was a small, but significant one. I wandered with a few other girls into a small local jewelry shop near the city centre during some downtime. I’m totally obsessed with silver rings, and the woman behind the counter (who spoke almost no English) helped me pick one out. After taking my credit card, she smiled, looked up and said, “German name?” I nodded back without thinking twice. She then, in broken English, asked me how I pronounce it, and told me she had a friend with the same last name. And then it hit me. That moment was probably the first time I had really thought about my German heritage. How crazy is that? That I had basically ignored half of my family roots until right then and there? As sad or strange as it may sound, it was actually a meaningful moment for me. So meaningful, that I almost walked out of the shop with the ring I had bought still sitting on the counter. I was in deep thought. It stuck with me throughout the rest of the trip. How I’ve always only bragged about my Irish roots. They are the roots my family probably talks about the most; I’m not sure why it as always been that way. For years, I had passed off my German side like it was no big deal, nothing special, boring to talk about. Oddly enough, it took this moment for me to realize that, as glad as I am to be Irish, it is really only just a small part of who I am. Little by little, as I found myself truly enjoying the city of Munich, I became more and more proud of my last name. I was glad to be carrying a little part of that place with me. It has always been there and I just didn’t care to notice. I am proud to be somehow categorized, somehow connected with both Germany and the people of it.


The entire trip was made up of surprisingly meaningful moments like the roller coaster and the jewelry shop. And If I could describe Germany in one word, it would be just that. Surprising. I repeated it all weekend to my friends. “I am so surprised by Germany.” Yes, I knew Oktoberfest and the beer drinking would be lots of fun. But it was so much more than that. Before visiting, it was never at the top of my bucket list. I didn’t really know what Germany was all about. But here I am, already wanting to go back someday.





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