So… long time, no blog, huh? I’ve not been as good at keeping up with this thing as I’d have liked, though I’m hoping to improve on that front :). It does mean I have a lot to talk about though, yay!
I’m going to split this up because we have done a lot of stuff since the end of September. Basically, I’m going to talk about going to Oktoberfest and our Saturday trips to Dortmund and Düsseldorf, respectively.
We’d not really had any plans to go to Oktoberfest until the Thursday before we went. As far as we were concerned it was going to be really expensive and that was true, until we heard about the ‘Schönes-Wochenend-Ticket’. It’s a ticket that can be used for up to five people, it costs 42,00€ and you can use it to go anywhere in Germany (via regional trains) on the day it’s valid for. So we got a group of fifteen people together and bought six tickets (one for Saturday, one for Sunday), and got a plan of how to get to Munich and back.
That was the fun part. In Germany, they have regional trains and the fast trains, called ICE trains. We couldn’t take the ICE trains and with Munich being a good 350 miles away from Paderborn, this was always going to take some time. Specifically, nine and a half hours, with eight changes on the way there! It wasn’t just us fifteen though; every Erasmus student seemed to be on the same journey, which started at 5.22 a.m.!
It took most of the day but we made it to Munich unscathed; the final train from Nuremberg to Munich was so packed we had to stand up for almost two hours, but we got there. It was a short walk from the train station to the grounds where Oktoberfest is held… and then we were there, at the world’s largest fair! 😀
We found out pretty quickly after we got there that getting into a beer tent of any kind was going to be nigh on impossible, but we soldiered on regardless. Eventually we met up with some of the girls from Karlsruhe and, to cut a long story short, managed to sneak back into the beer garden some of them were waiting in. Plus, we bought some famous Oktoberfest beer!
We were outside the whole time, however, and it was raining like crazy, so we didn’t stay there for much longer than an hour before we went to find everyone else we arrived with. They were in a pub near the train station, so we all hung out there for a few hours (drinking more beer, of course; we were in Munich!) until we decided it was probably time to head off…
…to the train station, where we were going to stay for the night, leaving on the train in the morning. We’d seen pictures of other people sleeping in the station overnight for Oktoberfest (though they maybe weren’t all as cold and soaked as we were), so we found a (not so) comfortable spot and camped out for a few hours.
The next day we did the nine hour trip back to Paderborn (which was as boring as it sounds because we mostly slept), and then recovered from our fun weekend! 😀
Between Oktoberfest and our trip to Dortmund was my birthday, when Chris and Olivia came to visit – and then Dave came for the weekend, so he got to come along to Dortmund with us on what was essentially a big shopping trip.
So, shopping! Well, we discovered that Dortmund has a Primark, which was certainly a favourite amongst the non-Europeans (they’d never even heard of it before!), and meant that we could all buy cheap winter boots and whatnot. I got my winter coat, finally.
We’d split up with the boys before heading off to Primark but when we met up with them for lunch, they were swayed by the prices and decided that was where they were going after. We went to a Chinese buffet restaurant, which was delicious.
The rest of us spent the afternoon going in and out of other shops whilst also wandering around Dortmund city centre. It’s really quite pretty.
Düsseldorf was another spur of the moment trip we decided to go on, and like all the others, it turned out to be really fun! We got the train in the morning (it’s only a couple of hours away from Paderborn) and then wandered towards the Rhein, passing a lot of nice things on the way.
Then we had a little walk along the Rhein, to the Rheinturm in the distance. Along the bridge, there are lots of padlocks, some with names and dates on them. They’re called ‘Love Padlocks’ and apparently there are a lot more in Cologne, but they’ve been popping up all over Germany (and other European countries, too). They’re really pretty and some of them have even been there for years.
We spent ages up there and found a machine that will press five cent coins into a picture as a souvenir, so we all have one of those too. We had some hot chocolate and then came back down, and made our way back to the train station.
Okay, so congratulations on making it to the end of this massive post. I won’t leave it (almost) two months between updates again, I swear. In fact, I plan from now on to (wherever possible) update every Wednesday with awesome things I’ve done in the last week. So this Wednesday (the 7th) will be about: Köln, Halloween and our trip to
Bonn Wuppertal Zoo. 😉
Also, a tip for anyone thinking about going to Universität Paderborn on your year abroad: buy the Semesterticket. 125€ seems like a hefty sum but, 1) it’s absolutely worth it (it’s likely we wouldn’t have done any of these trips without it) and 2) they’ll hold your student card hostage until you cough up the cash.
Until next time!