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.

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.

Hungary and More

Currently I’m in Poland, but I’m not going to talk about that yet. I’ve got to catch you up on the first half of my Easter break.

Four friends and I left Freiburg on Friday, and we were off to a terrible start when John got on a train to Frankfurt without the rest of us. I freaked out, but it was really fine since we all met up at the airport.

We flew into Budapest, which is an amazing city that I love. I’m already looking forward to going back. Apparently, free walking tours are very popular in Europe, so we did that and learned a ton about the city and its history and culture. Also, Hungarian money is hilarious. 1 Euro = 1 dollar = 312 Florints. We felt so fancy waving around thousand dollar bills.

On Easter Sunday, we went to mass at St. Stephen’s Basilica, which is a beautiful place. Mass was in Hungarian except for a brief summary of the homily in English, but I actually think most of the people in attendance were tourists. And there were a lot of annoying tourists in the back, who kept talking and taking photos.

Unfortunately, after that I got sick. I think it’s just the same bug that went around most of our group about a week ago, but it meant I missed out on going to the Turkish baths.

Also, and this is very important: Hungarian food is wonderful. It’s all meat and bread and fried everything. Lángos is one of my new favorite foods; it is fried dough with garlic sauce, sour cream, and cheese on top and pure deliciousness. Other than that, we really enjoyed a food truck festival and the Easter market, both of which had great selections of food.

I’ve actually been to 6 countries in the past few days: Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Poland. Belgium and Austria were pretty much just layovers, but we had about six hours in Bratislava. Nobody spoke English there. Luckily our waitress knew enough to explain what was vegetarian for my friend Emma, but other than that there was no English. I had to buy cough medicine from a Slovakian pharmacy while speaking German (and I forgot the word for cough, so it was an adventure).

Sorry for the long post, and I’ll update about my time in Poland soon!

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.