ein bier, bitte!

Oktoberfest is one hell of a time. Held in Munich, the Theresienwiesen grounds are occupied by roughly 8-12 huge beer tents for ~3 weeks of Oktoberfest.  There are mini stands in the park selling a variety of roasted nuts, souvenirs, bratwvrst, desserts, etc; but the tents also serve more traditional sit-down foods.

Theresienwiesen!

From what I gather, most Germans actually think it’s overrated (especially when tourists attend only with an alpine hat and sans-lederhosen/dirndl), but to the rest of the world, it’s the beer festival of the year.

Fulfilling the tourist stereotype… Double-fisting the 1L steins!

I’ve been raving about going to “die Wiesn”, as the locals call it, since I found out I was moving to Europe (it was actually on my bucket list!).  You often hear people say music brings people together – on the contrary, I think beer does a much better job of it.

I have a hard time carrying one, let alone six at a time – jesus, woman!

The first day we arrived, we did some shopping around Marienplatz and Maximillian Strasse [cue orange box ;)… ] and passed out before we knew it so that we could wake up bright and early for the “Einzug der Festwirte” aka the first parade featuring the owners of the beer tents.

Marienplatz

Lowenbrau Brewery Cart

Following the parade, the weather was so terrible so we figured we’d try to get in bright and early the next day instead, and so we went to Hofbrauhaus Munchen (the actual restaurant, not the beer tent) – definitely a good time.  The company was so amazing – honestly too good for words! We ended up spending hours upon hours there (the rest of the day until midnight); comes highly recommended!

Case and Point: these guys from Moscow were too much fun

I was also really excited to finally try German food and couldn’t have asked for a better place to eat at. My extent of German food had only consisted of the wvrst platter from Bier Markt, which probably isn’t very authentic (?), so needless to say Bavaria had me at Guten Tag.  Must-try’s when in Germany include their pretzels, schweinebratin, schweinshaxe, schnitzel, roast chicken (of all things), and kaiserschmaarn (if you’ve got a sweet tooth).

Pretty much sums up Oktoberfest

The one song you absolutely have to know how to sing: Ein Prosit.  It’s the most popular Oktoberfest song to stand up and cheers with everyone (mind you this is also played probably every 10 minutes – you get friendly reaaal fast)!

Lowenbrau tent interior – thanks for the stein ;)!

Weinzelt-Nymphenburger Sektkellerei tent interior

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What’s around Marseille?

Salut!

As part of getting to know the Marseille area, the Welcoming Team scheduled a weekend trip to Aix-en-Provence and the Frioul Islands.

Aix is the cutest and quaintest little town I’ve ever been to – no wonder there were so many weddings! Kind of makes me wish I lived there instead (;

The Frioul Islands was a nice visit, stopping by the Chateau d’If (the prison of the Count of Monte Cristo) first before actually hitting the two islands via ferry.  We took the long route (i.e. looooong route) and eventually got to the beach to enjoy it until sunset.  If anyone ever plans on visiting, make sure you bring some snacks and vino!

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Aix-en-Provence

Frioul Islands

*Photocred goes out to Emma and Natalie; thanks girls!

Bonjour, Mes Amis!

Sorry about being so terrible with keeping everyone posted!

It’s already been a week, and for the most part I’m all settled in besides some paperwork I have yet to complete (god damn the French).

I don’t officially start classes until the end of this month, so I’ve got a couple weeks of buffer time to familiarize myself with the city/school/meet everyone.  My res is like Saugeen on crack; the bunch here are insane!

Won’t bore you too much, but some trop cool places I’ve been to consist of Les Calanques, Le Vieux Port, and Notre Dame de la Garde – enjoy the pictures!

Tous, vous me manquez!

Les Calanques

– For the clearest and nearest turquoise waters

Trek down…

…40 minutes later

Getting ready to jump 😉

Le Vieux Port

– main harbour of Marseille

18th Century Carousel near the Port

Couldn’t resist!

Notre Dame de la Garde

– Basilica with one of the best views of Marseille

The Basilica from afar perched on a hill

View of Marseille from the Top (with the petit train we took up the hill)

The Basilica

Looking out onto The Mediterranean

* shout-out to everyone I pillaged photos from (Emma, Jorge, Vi, Cynthia, Rob); you’re the best!

Eat, Pray, Love

Although I’ve never read or seen Eat, Pray, Love; I can see why everyone was so obsessed with Bali afterwards.  I really don’t have too much to say besides if you haven’t been there before, go now (sound advice, I know)!

Some must-do’s:
– surf, surf, surf!
– treat yourself to the spa… everyday
– go to Made’s Warung and eat as many of their skewers as you can; best I’ve ever had!

Snorkelling in Amed

Sunset at Uluwatu Temple

Surfing at Kuta Beach

Rice Paddies in Ubud

Lunch at Kintamani… mmm krupuk!

Sunset at Tanah Lot

Dreamland Beach before flying out; Bintang, please!

Night Market Bonanza

Taipei, Taiwan

From the pictures I’ve seen, Taiwan is such a beautiful country, and I hate to admit I didn’t get to experience enough of it (excuse that I’ll just have to revisit in the future).  Enjoy photos from my short 4-day trip here!

Shilin Night Market (pc: Neil Wade!)

Shilin Night Market

Scooters: Widely Popular Mode of Transportation

Dumpling Masters @ Ding Tai Fung

Taipei 101

The Grand Hotel: oldest hotel in Taipei

Dansui’s Lover Bridge on a not-so-lovely day

National Palace Museum

My first Foot Massage!

Since I wasn’t able to eat/see/do as much as I had hoped, I’m also attaching a list of things I’m determined to do next time around:

– Night Market goodies: oyster omelette, crispy chicken, oyster thick vermicelli, steak platter, chua bin (shaved ice)

– Yang Ming Shan 陽明山國家公園 and “The Top”  屋頂上

– Jiufen 九份

– Hotsprings in Beitou

Did I miss anything on the list?  Any additional recommendations?

“High Tea”

For my dedicated readers, you’ll know that I mainly travel in the US and never overseas.  I decided to change things up a bit and hence, have been MIA for the last little bit.  I took a short 3-week vacay half way across the world travelling in Asia bouncing back and forth from Hong Kong with mini-trips to Taiwan and Bali (featured in the next posts) in between.

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Hong Kong

To paint a picture, it’s like a combination of the following:

A) population density of Times Square EVERYWHERE

B) NYC’s constantly buzzing cabs, except switching the yellow out for red and minus the honking

C) San Francisco’s constant low-hanging fog

D) Miami’s humidity hitting at least 40 degrees

E) Seattle’s showers

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