In the beginning of May I went to Munich as part of a college assignment.
Yes, you heard right.
For 100% of my grade we had to go to a country outside The Netherlands, that was also not our home country, and write up both a feature and a profile piece.
I chose Munich for two reasons. Firstly my friend Lauren is doing her Erasmus in the city so it would be the perfect opportunity to meet up with her. My housemate was also going to Munich with her brother to visit Frühlingsfest, the Spring version of Oktoberfest, and she gave me the idea to do one of my articles on the festival.
Out of all the places I’ve been to, I think Munich has been my favourite travel experience. The people I met made the trip for me. As part of my feature I travelled forty minutes outside of the city centre, to a craft brewery and interviewed one of the owners. The brewery was in the countryside of Munich and the was surrounded by lush fields and lakes.
The owner was so generous with his time, took me a full tour of the place and even gave me a beer on the house.
The next day I worked on my profile piece and met with a photographer. I interviewed her on various projects she’s done. She turned out to be the sweetest person I’ve ever had the chance to interview and afterwards her partner and her, brought me for a drink.
In my three years of studying journalism, I’ve never really felt like I’ve been treated like a “proper journalist” until now. The people I interviewed went out of their way to help me in every way and dealt with the article I was writing with so much respect and interest.
My travels to Munich made me reevaluate how much I actually love doing journalism and learning and getting to meet people from all walks of life.
In between all the work I had to do, I did manage to explore the city a fair bit.
I did some of the exploring by myself- finding good coffee shops, walking around the Marienplatz and figuring out the metro system.
On one of my free days, I got to meet up with my housemate and her brother in the English Gardens. The park is so tranquil and I spent a lot of time there during the days I was in Munich.
On my last day of interviews I went to the Frühlingsfest or as it’s fondly known as, “Oktoberfest’s little sister”.
The festival is basically set on a funfair ground with lots of rides and tents you can drinks beer in. The biggest and most well known tent at the festival is the Hippodrom.
After I finish my interview, my friends and I manage to grab a table in the tent. We don’t have any reservation but since it’s early enough in the day, we’re told the table is ours until 6:30pm. For the next few hours we drink the traditional Maß (a typical German 1 litre beer) at a pricey €10 per jug.
We also share a platter of traditional Bavarian food, made up of bread served with fried onion toppings, radishes, and a cheese dip.
At about 5:30pm, we’re told we need to leave, because they need to get the tables set up for the evening groups arriving to the tent. Though it’s earlier than we expected and we still have jugs of beer left to drink, it’s no problem and we get up. We go to the perimeter of the tent to finish our drinks, along with groups of other people. Suddenly security guards approach us and start shouting at us that it’s time for us to leave. We explain to them that we’re finishing our beer and we’ve spent a lot of money on the table we had. But we’re told, since we didn’t “reserve” the table, it means nothing to them. They start pushing us out, one of my friends who has German is trying to reason with the security saying that all we want to do is finish our beer, but they have none of it and we’re pushed out.
Looking around, it was clear to me in that moment, that all Frühlingsfest cares about is how much money they can pull from people’s pockets. Then they shepherd them out like a herd of cows, before they pull in the next group of eager groups to do the exact same.
Though the day was very fun, there are definitely more enjoyable and relaxed places to go to get a traditional German atmosphere, while drinking a beer.
For the next two days, I stayed with my friend Lauren. We had a great catch up, went to the zoo and sunbathed in the English Gardens.
And like that it was over and I was back to The Netherlands!
Have you ever been to Munich?
PS. if you’re interested in reading the articles I discussed in this blog post, you can check them out here: