Tuesday, September 23, 2008


*Sorry, I haven't figured out how to consolidate my pics, so they are just in one long line. I'm new at this, ok!

Well, it's here, the biggest beer drinking festival in the world! And Merissa and I went opening day--big mistake. No, it wasn't THAT bad, but it was really, really crowded, and the energy there was infectious.

It was cloudy and cold on Saturday, but nevertheless, we donned our dirndls and followed the masses to the Wiesen (the field/meadow). First, there was the opening ceremonies which included a huge parade/processional from one of the city center's main streets to the Wiesen. All of the major breweries had their own "float" (a decorated wagon carrying barrels) and ladies drinking. There was also many little oompa bands along the way. You can see from the pictures how we could barely see any of it thanks to the crowd of people.

We then decided to brave it and push our way into one of the tents for the tapping of the first barrel. We made it into the Paulaner tent and saw them hammer (using a mallet) into the barrel and tap the first drink. Then everyone all together says something in German and everyone who has a drink, does! The women (and men) serving the beer were unbelieveable! Not only were they carrying at least 6 steins at a time, they commanded the mosh pit-like area. I had to calm myself down to not become overwhelmed with the feeling of claustrophobia. Next, we pushed and shoved our way out of the tent and got lunch--a half meter sized sausage. Nice.

This place is crazy, it's like Vegas and the Santa Cruz County Fair had a love child. There are carnival rides, an agricultural section, and beer, beer, beer. Within a few hours of opening we saw a fight, one guy literally get THROWN out of a tent, and 4 separate piles of vomit. One girl in a lovely dirndl actually gave us a show of her retching. What an experience!!

Inside the tents, people actually stand and dance atop the benches, singing and drinking in unison. Wow. These are Germans? For being such hard workers they really know how to let loose. There is also a picture of me holding a 10 euro bill which I found on the ground, yay me! That's almost 15 USD, by the way.

Nate, you are SO bummed you are not here now. I plan on going back sometime in the next week, I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, Prost!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

League of Accidental Hausfrauen

Nathan left for home today. Without me. I am admitting that I have the full effects of culture shock at this point. Actually, I think I hit rock bottom this past Tuesday. I am past the first stage of euphoria and seeing everything with a romantic eye, "I'm living abroad! I don't have to work for a whole year! I can travel to amazing historical places within a few hours!" I've now crashed into stage 2: frustration, confusion, irritability and resentment. Great. Fan-freakin'-tastic. The good news is that it only gets better from here. And it will.

Today I had brunch with the League of Accidental Hausfrauen; a group of English-speaking ladies that have found themselves in a situation similar to mine. Although I must say I felt a bit babyish compared to the ones I spoke with. These women are world travellers! Most speak at least 1 other language and have married a German, Italian, Peruvian, whatever. I, on the other hand, was born and raised in Santa Cruz, got married and stayed there. Oh well, different strokes I guess.

Anyways, the ladies were all very sweet, welcoming and friendly. I plan on attending other events. Maybe I'll even make some lasting friendships....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It feels like January

The cold is here. It literally happened overnight, and I am so bummed. Today was the first sunny day in over a week. Sunny and cold = January in Santa Cruz. But it's only September, and the highs each day hover around 60F. This is really hard for me, winter lasts for almost 5 months here. Boo!

Also, Oktoberfest begins this Saturday (it lasts for 3 weeks) with a huge parade down to the Wiesen (field), so Merissa and I plan on going. I do have a dirndl to wear (the traditional women's costume) that the wife of Nate's colleague is letting me borrow. Don't worry I'll post some pics of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our stuff has arrived!

Finally! After leaving even before we did, our belongings have arrived. Apparently, there was incorrect information given, we were told that if we packed up and sent it off before we left, it would arrive within a week or so. Well, a month later it still was not here, the reason being that customs would not even look at it until we had our residency permit. So it sat. In storage. In California until just 2 weeks ago. It's here now and that's good, even though all of our clothes smell sour, I'm happy to have them. The moving guys were funny as you can see from one of the pictures. They also seemed to like Merissa. Of course.

It's amazing how having just a few familiar things changes your whole experience. Seeing a few of my own coffee mugs, towels and oven mitts almost brought me to tears and gives me a strange sense of security. I'm here, it's real and I'm not going home for awhile. Nate will be in CA next week for meetings and I'm a bit jealous. He gets to have Mexican food. And read signs in English. And see friends and family. Oh well. He has to endure a 12 hour flight. HA HA. By the way, doesn't he look cute going off to work on his bike?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Andechs Monastery Hike and Biergarten

This past Saturday we hiked to a 600 year old Monastery outside of central Munich.  Of course I was a little wary of a 3 mile hike uphill (I am a total wuss), but it turned out fine.  Having a biergarten and a point of interest at the top always helps too.  Nathan was particularly motivated by a doppelbock brew they had at the Monastery.  

The hike first took us through some neighborhoods, but shortly thereafter, we were hiking on this very old dirt trail with ancient stone markers.  I couldn't help but think about monks travelling this very trail 500 years earlier--and tripping on all the tree roots because they were possibly tipsy.  On our way back we met some sheep that had unusually long tails.  They were cute though!  

More pics from the Monastery

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cooking our first Bavarian Meal

For our first Bavarian meal we cooked Leberkäse (the meat loaf), warm potato salad, and a green salad.  The potato salad was great, lots of bacon and tangy vinegar.  

The leberkase always looks a little scary, especially when raw (the picture above is it cooked, so believe it or not, it actually can look worse).  I baked it for almost 2 hours in the convection oven and when it came out I noticed that it looked a little shiny.  "Shiny?" you ask.  We know I'm not the best cook, but how in the world do I make meat shiny?  Well, apparently there was a thin plastic film I had forgotten to remove........oops.  It was really hard to see in the whipped, pink, raw flesh!  Well, now I know.  I removed it, cooked it a bit longer and it was fine.

Honestly though, it really does not taste that bad.  It's quite good with sweet mustard and a stein of lager.  Yes.  Beer make good.


My sister is here!  Yay! I have a friend to talk to AND and an interpreter!  Well, she's more brave than I and speaks some German, so I get her to do all my dirty work asking for directions and such.  

Merissa actually arrived the 27th of August and we've been having so much fun that I haven't really had time to blog.  These are pics we took at our dinner at the famous Hofbräuhaus, totally touristy, but you gotta experience it.  Good food and beer of course.  Nate and I had Helles beer (lagers) and Merissa had a Radler.  The pretzels here are HUGE and delicious.  They are a must with your beer of course.  Who wants to come and visit.........????    

Peterskirche Tower Views

Sorry, these should have gone before the last one, my organizational skills are lacking.  Most of these pictures are ones either Nate or my sister Merissa took, I'm a terrible photographer.  But this truly is an amazing view of the city and I promise I will take you here when you visit! 


This is the Viktualienmarkt, the big outdoor market in the Old Town (Altstadt).  It's fun to go shopping for fresh fruits and veggies.  I will miss this come winter.

Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)

Been doing some reading about the history of Bavaria and the skeletons you see are martyrs for the Catholic Church.  Their remains were gifts from the Pope to the city of Munich since the citizens were loyal to the Holy Roman Empire while the rest of Germany was sort of following Martin Luther and Protestantism.