Pfingstenferien

I’ve had this week off class because it is Pfingsten (pentecost). I stayed in Freiburg, which was a great decision. Mostly I’ve spent a lot of time working on my final papers which are due in two weeks. 28 pages in German total! I’ve finished one and I’m about halfway with two more. It’s been great, because I’ve been sitting at cafes with my friends while we work. Very productive.

Last weekend, the first weekend of Pfingstenferien, my friend Joseph came to visit Freiburg. He’s studying in Brussels this summer, but he has no time off, so he was in Freiburg for 41 hours. I packed all the important Freiburg activities in that time, though. We went hiking up Schönberg, we got ice cream and sat on the Blaue Brücke (blue bridge), we cooked spätzle, we ate schnitzel and drank beer, we went inside the Münster.

Other that homework and Joseph’s visit, I’ve had a pretty relaxed week. On Friday, a bunch of my friends came over to my WG to watch National Treasure and hang out, which was a lot of fun. We drank whenever Riley deserved better or Abigail shouldn’t have to put up with this. (Fun fact we noticed: there is exactly one (1) female character in this movie.) I’ve been drinking Melonsecco and Mangosecco recently, which is Prosecco mixed with melon or mango juice, and it is delicious.

Yesterday Julia, Ally, Jessie, John, and I went to the Seepark. At first we just stretched out and sunbathed, but eventually Julia, John, and I went swimming in the lake. It was so much fun.

Today, I’m not doing much. Just some homework, and then I’m cooking schnitzel and spätzle with Teddy and Andriana for dinner. Afterwards, I’m finally going to go to mass at the Münster like I’ve been saying I will.

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Frühlingsfest

This weekend a few friends and I went to Frühlingsfest in Munich. Frühlingsfest is basically the springtime (and slightly smaller) version of Oktoberfest, and it was an amazing experience.

I know I already talked about my Dirndl last post, but here are some better pictures of my and the other girls wearing them. Plus one of the guys wearing their Lederhosen. We were super proud of how great we looked, especially since we could tell that a lot of women were wearing the same handful of Dirndls that were clearly from tourist shops or department stores.

Frühlingsfest was more more like a carnival than I expected. There were a lot of rides and games, and there were children everywhere. We ended up finding a huge tent called the Hippodrom, where we could buy beers for 9.50. They were each a full liter. At first, we sat and drank and hung out, but at about 5:00, the staff kicked everyone out of the tent to make room for the VIPs who had reserved tables for the night. Luckily, we met some nice Germans, who hide in a corner so that we could stay.

Once all the reserved tables were filled up, we managed to find one that was empty, where we stayed for the rest of the night, hanging out with some Germans, Americans, and various other people we had met. It was so much fun, and we got to dance a lot to some great German music.

I had expected Frühlingsfest to be more of a beer festival than a carnival, so it was a pleasant surprise how relaxed and family-friendly it was. Everybody was very nice and open, so we got to meet some new friends.

Also, the event was very touristy (although not as much as Oktoberfest from what I hear), so we impressed everyone by speaking German. Shouting in German was a great way to make our way through crowds of American tourists, who moved right out of our way. I even heard a few call us Germans, which made me feel very proud of my language abilities.

I Miss Water

I’ve discovered that the two things from America that I seem to be missing most are ice water and water fountains. I miss ice keeping my water cold and the way it rattles in a glass. I miss being able to have a free sip of water wherever I go. It’s not really normal here to carry around a water bottle, so when I get thirsty in the middle of the day, I can’t find anything to drink. Also, I’m convinced that Germans do not drink enough water, because I never see it happen.

One Long Drink

Like true Germans, my friends and I dedicated our free Sunday to drinking. First, we went to “American brunch” at a restaurant here, which was hilarious. I figured that Germany’s version of American brunch wouldn’t be the exact same as America’s, but I was still pretty surprised. There were no mimosas, which we all know is the most important part of brunch. Like classy Americans, we just ordered orange juices and a bottle of champagne and made our own. As for the food, it was wild. I think that the buffet style is what made it “American”? There was typical German food like bread, cheese, müsli, pastries, potato salad. There was also what I guess Germans expect from Americans: onion rings, chicken nuggets and chicken

My pina colada was everything I hoped it would be and more.

wings, jalapeno poppers, cold breakfast burritos. My personal favorite was the bacon-wrapped cantaloupe, because why would someone want that. Most importantly, there was not a pancake in sight. The sign advertising “American brunch” just showed the most beautiful stack of pancakes, but there wasn’t a single pancake or waffle. Very disappointing. Also, there was an omelet station, but nobody was standing there, so we didn’t get eggs either.

After spending a few hours enjoying our bottomless brunch, we decided to go to the Uni Cafe for drinks. At this point it was about 3 in the afternoon. So we spent a few hours there, before splitting up for a couple of hours to do homework (or in my case, watch Türkisch für Anfänger). Then, we met up again for dinner, where we both ordered döner and made pasta, while finishing several bottles of wine. There was also a couple of rousing games of mafia, during one of which I was somehow singled out as the mafia on the first turn, so I must be pretty bad at the game.

Rothaus Brewery

With the IES group, today I went to a brewery in the Black Forest. Our tour was in German, so I only understood about half, but it was very interesting. Then we had lunch, which I found very strange. First of all, drinking beer before noon is a very German thing to do. Second, I had Käsefleisch, which literally means cheese meat. It was basically a loaf of baloney, but surprisingly not terrible.

After the brewery, we went to a town on the Titisee, where I got to try real German Black Forest cherry cake. Apparently it has alcohol in it. Who knew? I also got to go souvenir shopping a bit. After this, the group went to a church, which was very beautiful. Germany has such gorgeous old churches, and they  make the ones in America seem so bland.

Rosenmontag

Today is Rosenmontag, an important day in the Fasnacht holiday. There was a big parade, which was very different from Americans parades. People of all ages dressed up as Narren (fools) and wore masks and other costumes. The kids were especially cute; they wore everything from traditional costumes to Captain America. I also got to try Glühwein, which is a warm mulled wine that is very popular in the winter.

We also started the two-week language intensive courses today, but that is not so important.