I have a numbering scheme for my blog titles during this trip, but if I wasn’t doing that – I would totally title this post “Germany is my favorite.” Because it is.
Let me start off by saying, I slept so well last night, that I am actually sore from being so comfortable. How does that happen?! This room has a radio system piped in, so I listened to soft rock as I sunk in and drifted into a blissful sound abyss. Do not disturb.
I woke up refreshed, albeit sore from either hiking around my luggage yesterday or sleeping in a comfy bed, and honestly, either are plausible.
This morning, Doc T and I traveled via public transportation (<– awesome) to EADS. What a great experience that was. They fund my research and so it was really great to meet with them face-to-face for a change. Each one of us took turns presenting our work and discussed future work, i.e., what Emily’s thesis will be about, and it was a great experience. I appreciate any opportunity I get to present my research to a group of people. It really prepares me for my defense which I know will be here before I know it! Yikes! For those of you who don’t know, the thesis defense is like your final exam of the masters program. I will present my research and then defend myself against a bunch of questions from my committee (professors) and I will most likely not know the answers to said questions, but they’ll let me pass anyway. At least I hope they do…
I even go to see an EADS publication which has my picture in it! I was introduced to a fella who said to me:
guy: Oh, right! I recognize you from the picture!
Heck yes. I’m like totally famous around here. Move over Lady Gaga!
Tomorrow, we will go back and I will get to partake in experiments that I will simulate when I get back to good ol’ Mississippi (but I’m trying not to think about that yet). They have been sending me experimental data over the past few months to simulate but this is excellent because I will actually get to see where it comes from. I’m really looking forward to it, and will certainly post any pictures I take tomorrow.
This evening, however, they decided we needed a true Bavarian experience. And so that is just what we did. They took us to the Hofbräuhaus, one of Munich’s oldest breweries. I wasn’t even asked if I wanted a beer – it just appeared in front of me. Shane, you will know more about this than I do, but it was a summer ale and it was unfiltered, so it was a little spicy. I have to say that it was truly the best beer I’ve ever had, no doubt about it.
This is one of the oldest beers in Munich. Being the history nerd that I am, I asked many questions about the place and learned that the reason there is a crown on the glass is because this beer used to only be available to the royals, until the 1500s or so. You can read about the history here.
I was told that when in Bavaria, you must try the duck. So that is what I ordered.
me: I’ll have the 1/4 Farmer’s Duck, please.
Traditional Bavarian waitress: No, you’ll have the 1/2.
me: No, really, I only want a quarter, I’m not that hungry.
Traditional Bavarian waitress: You’ll have half.
me: I-no, I don’t want that much food! Seriously, just –
Traditional Bavarian waitress: Oh, shut up. You’ll have half. [Then she puts another beer down in front of me. What!!! Where did that come from?!]
me: I didn’t order this!
Traditional Bavarian waitress: I said shut up!
WHOA. Okay then! Haha, she wasn’t being mean, that’s just the way it works there. It is all in good fun We were there for probably 5 hours and Lawrence, a guy from Canadia who works for EADS and has lived in Munich for 2 years now, told me that the waitresses will only be nice for so long. If you don’t order when and what they want, well, they just get a little snappy with you. I should say so!
So, I had half a duck. This duck, was not quacking. And it was scrumptious. There are no words for this quacker…ha. Below is a picture of my Bavarian friend, Peter, my 1/2 duck and my beer.
I met a lot of great people, learned a lot about the Bavarian culture and had a great time! I also learned about how awesome Munich is and a lot about Oktoberfest (which is now on my bucket list) and I can’t wait to come back here for a longer visit! On a side note, Oktoberfest is one of the safest festivals in the world. If you lose anything, they WILL return it to you. Literally…they research dental records year round to return dentures lost during Oktoberfest. I’m not kidding.
I was hoping to buy a beer mug to bring back with me (and one for my pops) from the Hofbräuhaus, but the shop is only open on weekends, so unfortunately, I didn’t get one. I’m a little disappointed about that.
Another cool story about tonight. See the sign behind me in the picture? It says “Stammtisch.” It doesn’t really translate to English, but from what I understand, I would say it means, “regular get-together.” It is a table in a bar or pub that is reserved for “regulars” who come at the same time on the same days. If you don’t belong at that table, don’t even attempt to sit there. In fact at the table just next to us was a group of older men who had been coming to same table for the past 22 years! We were VIP that evening, so we got reservations at that table.
I love traditions.
Here’s another one, when you “prost” or “cheers” (or rather “may it be good”) you must clink glasses with the bottom of your class and you MUST look the person in the eyes.
After dinner, they brought out a round of Schnapps – a popular adult beverage in Germany. America has its own version, but trust me – it is completely different. I guess it is juicer here, yeah…that’s one way to put it. This was another item that I did not order. It arrived in a small glass. You know what I’m talking about. Huh. No, I definitely did not order this.
Lawrence: It is a tradition to drink Schapps after a meal in Bavaria. You sip it.
me: Uh, okaaay. [I smelled it <– bad call.]
Next thing I knew, everyone drank the entire thing. Gone. Boom. Just like that. Sip it, my hiney. You have got to be kidding me. This stuff is disgusting! Normally, I would have pushed it away but…
me: When in Rome. [Preeeetty sure this is called falling for peer pressure…]
But don’t worry, no one got out of control. They just wanted us to see how they roll in Bavaria. It wasn’t exactly the corporate dinner I was expecting, that is for sure and that was my point of this story. <– disclaimer. But, off the record, after what I witnessed and learned tonight, I truly believe that typical German blood is at least 40% beer…so maybe they’re all blood type B+?…I’m just sayin’. They just enjoy life. They don’t need to consume a ridiculous amount of alcohol to enjoy themselves. I have a strong respect for this culture and their own respect for life. They love their lives, they love their food, they love their beer, they love their heritage, and they love their friends. How awesome is that?
The people we were out with tonight are the same peeps who gave me this glorious hotel in downtown Munich, paid for the flight and are paying for all my meals while in Germany. They covered everything tonight, too – I think I’d like to work for this company some day – and then paid for a taxi to get us back to the hotel so we wouldn’t have to take the subway. Application, please?! Now!! We did talk shop, so I suppose that’s how it was justified. But, still…they had me at hallo (not a type-o, it is the informal version of guten tag).
I stopped to purchase a nice selection of German chocolates (you know me) on our way to the Hofbräuhaus. I was drooling just standing at the counter. She didn’t speak English, so I had to ask Dominik, our EADS host, to ask her to give me only the best, sans coconut. After she put them in a pretty container with a bow and everything, she gave me a free one to-go! I love chocolate, I love Germany, and I love German chocolate! I’m trying to save them for my mom and grandma, so they are all wrapped up in tissue paper, otherwise I’d take a picture. If I unwrap them, I’ll end up eating them all. Sorry, maybe tomorrow when I bring them out to share. Two things in this world that Emily doesn’t share: cheesecake and chocolates – so this is a real test for me.
Speaking of those two lovely ladies…they’re ON THEIR WAY as I type!! YAY! I’m giddy with excitement. This trip has been mostly work with a little play and after tomorrow it will be all play! Woop! Not that I don’t love research…