October 09, 2014

Exchange travel experience: from Italy to Germany, destination Oktoberfest!



Oktoberfest
Hello Gadders readers! You are used to read about italian destinations and travel experiences by expats in Italy, exchange students and foreign travelers who go exploring overlooked, often hidden, corners of the country.
But today's article is an amazing guest post by Gil, an Israeli student from Tel Aviv who just moved to Milan to spend a semester abroad and is going to tell us a slightly different story...
Who: Gil Eckstein, Ran Ben-artzi
Where: Italy, Germany, some Swiss place lost in the mountains too.
When: 2 weeks ago
What: "So it all started in middle school...

My friend Ran is my best friend in Israel, and more than that, my best wingman. At a spontaneous urge to come and visit the friend that lives in Milan, he booked a flight to come visit me for a week with only one condition: that we will go to Oktoberfest, Munich.
I must say that I wasn’t ready yet for visitors since as you move to a new country, you have a lot of stuff on your mind like permit for the permit to get permission to get a permesso. When I knew that we are going, between studding, fixing the technology that betrays me, I had to find a place to stay at Munich, and a way to get there. A day before my friend’s arrival, we didn’t set up yet an accommodation or a way to get to Munich. Trains to Oktoberfest were overpriced, flights were expensive as well and renting a car was actually the chepest way I had in mind.
A great tip for accommodation would be AirBnb. It seems to be the cheapest way to live for daily periods while traveling, maintaining a homey atmosphere. Finding a place turned out to be the least of problems, when it was settled in matter of hours. The problematic part was transportation. BlblaCar is the second tip, a shred-ride website that makes life easier about students.
Ran and I booked accommodation for Saturday and Sunday nights. I noticed a ride to Munich on Blablacar, but unfortunately it was on Friday night. When I mailed the guy that I don’t have accommodation for Friday night, he offered us 2 extra sleeping bags and a tent. At that point it was hard to refuse the adventure. We took the ride with Fabrizio who is from Rome, his brother and another friend of his which is Milanese. Hearing German rock music all the way to Munich and realizing to respect the differences between Swiss manners and Italian. 


We took off at 18:00 and for unclear reason, seeing beautiful view, making many cigarate stops, moving between Italy to Switzerland to Austria to Germany. Arrival time was 2:30 am. The German cold was already felt when we opened the tents getting ready to bed. When we were wondering if we will be cold in the sleeping bags, Fabrizio forgot the two extra sleeping bags, and so we froze to death at night, playing my guitar for hours to keep myself warm.
Spending time at Oktoberfest was great. The thing is that you have to arrive early so you can enter the inside tents, where all the German action is taking place. You pay 10 euros for a 1 liter of Bavarian beer, and each tent is a different kind of beer. Everybody is dressed funny in Bavarian traditional clothes, being drunk and singing songs to the sound of the live music played.

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest

The apartment was a strategic place to collapse at between day and night so we can go out at evening. You can check out the dark side of the German sex culture by the main train station, or go clubbing. We did both, and found a really cool club as well called 89. To get inside I had to lie about myself at Munich as a football player in tryouts for Bayern Munich, and my agent sent me there. It worked, so no harm was done.
This is a standard routine over there. I would recommend others as for myself to see more of beautiful Munich; it’s really nice over there. German people are very nice people, and especially the German girls and their lovely smiles.


The issue was that I was having 3 Professors of Bocconi University for Monday dinner, since they are friends of mine and my family. I was the main chef to prepare a 9 people meal at my home in Milan. On Sunday I still had no idea how will I be back home.
So we got drunk again since it is Oktoberfest, and landed back to the apartment in Munich to get some Wi-Fi and figure out for a train or a ride on Blablacar. We didn’t find anything to Milan and it didn’t take long for us to fall asleep. When I woke up half passed out, I got this idea, and it was in front of my eyes opened on the phone.
Oktoberfest

Since there were no available rides to Milan, it is possible to find a ride to Switzerland in the morning, and take a train from there to Milan. I found a ride with a cool Dutch guy named Wim that works in Italy and Switzerland, but his family lives in Munich. He dropped us at a small Swiss village that didn’t seem to have a big transportation infrastructure, but there was a small station big as a Manhattan West Village apartment. We had to take a train to the main station at Lugano there and from there to Milan.
Oktoberfest

During all that, I had my 3 friends at the apartment waiting for the chef to arrive, but groceries and prepare the feast. It was already 16:00 when I couldn’t contact them since my phone died, to tell them that I found a way to come back on the last minute. When I came inside the house at 16:30, they thought we walked all the way from Munich...
Dinner was made, dinner was successful, trip was amazing, and I was worn out."
Oktoberfest

A big thanks to Gil for sharing his fun adventure with Gadders!

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