The first official week of class in a foreign country, as an international student living in student housing is always the first week where you really experience the rule “Obligations, Social life, Sleep: pick two”.
A whole week of basically going out every other day. Friends here, bar there, international meet-and-greet there, etc. I set off on Wednesday to go to a meeting of the “I-Club”. In a nutshell; Germans and people permanently in Munich that want to spend time with international students from the Hochschule München; my applied sciences university for the semester. A very very nice team of people from broad horizons offering us stuff to do almost on a weekly basis and great forms of integration.
The meeting was basically to meet at a specific S-Bahn station (city train) and walk in a poorly lit park to an old biergarten. Went there, drank and ate, two very popular traditional Bavarian activities. I ended up hanging out with people whom I didn’t spend time with so far, a Japanese guy with Australian citizenship, a guy from China and a dude from Hong Kong. By spending the evening with them I avoided two things unintentionally; the beer coaster throwing war that was going on between tables, but also hanging out with two Bavarian friends I went to Oktoberfest with a few weeks back and didn’t get the chance to see again.
To correct the fact that we didn’t speak that night, I was invited to go out with them the following Friday. Turns out a big student party was the same day, about 2000 students in a building complex that was all rented out for the occasion. Could barely walk through, imagine when we got into the dance hall. Partying people wall to wall, boom boom music all night. Fast-forward my terrible dancing skills and the fact that we lost the two other friends they brought, its now 4am and we decide to leave, tired and head buzzing with music and the amount of people our personal space bubbles had to deal with. Walk a bit with the now re-united group, hop in my bus and arrive home around almost 5am.
The next morning I had a train to catch at 8:30 am. We had a trip to Regensburg with the “I-Club” and I really did not want to miss out on the old medieval city. Also, a Canadian exchange student from Vancouver I knew was going too and I did not want to be an ass and not show up when I told her I’d go too.
2 hours of sleep later, I get up and try to get the machine going. Manage to make it. The trip was worth it.
First off, trains….Who does not like trains seriously ? So we get to go by train.
I am a zombie by that point but enjoy the ride talking with friends from school hearing the raging drunken 9am Bavarian party happening in the other cabin.
Bavarians having breakfast (beer, lots of it) in the train, and sharing their joy. At some point we understand that they ran out of booze, but luckily the train guy with the food cart shows up boasting, you guessed it, more beer for dirt cheap. Bavarians keep breakfasting, we however, decide to skip.
I had enough breakfast the day before my head was still ringing. We met an american man in formal attire called Louis who chuckled a bit when one of my Asian friends made a charming comments about “balls” and he laughed. We exchanged a lot about the German culture and how he was here on business and heading to Prague to see some family before going back to his native state of Colorado.
Then, when we arrived and walked a bit, we discovered that this beautiful city had a street to my name. NOT taking this opportunity for a stupid picture was out of the question. Immortalize the moment !! Telephone hands and tongue out, a must !
Regensburg is a small town, about 80 square kilometers and 140 000 people strong. It’s medieval city center is a UNESCO World heritage site and it is pretty hard to pinpoint when exactly it was “founded” as the earliest settlements there where Celtic and date back to the stone age. It survived the second world war quite well as it only had two strategic points and they were bombed with pinpoint accuracy by the allies, not damaging the city itself.
It is home to the “Dom”. A pure traditional German Gothic Cathedral. Almost 800 years old, it is truly a sight if you like architecture. The inside is just as inspiring. The city also holds one of Europe’s oldest bridges. A stone bridge that was built in 1135 to connect the two sides of the city separated by the Danube river. The bridge was used during the crusades.
After going to a pizzeria for lunch and catching up with the stragglers who wanted something else than pizza for food, we hit the local Edeka -a grocery store chain- to buy some alcohol and kept walking around, as a big bunch of auslanders, and drinking. We arrived at the river and sat down, joked around for some time, talked about each other’s countries and I got to know two very nice Russian girls studying in Munich. They told me a bit about Moscow, their native city, and their stay in Germany and other travels. Came the time to head back to the train station, we took a few last pictures of beautiful Regensburg and that was that.
I did not regret not sleeping much to go and ended up going back to my room just to drop my pack, as a friend living a floor above mine wanted to hang out a bit before she went out. I said I wouldn’t go out too as I had slept less than two hours in 36h of running around or partying, but who was I to refuse tea before I went to bed, my brain filled with images a beautiful medieval city…