By Mary Stewart Bailey
What started as a long, 9-hour bus ride from Florence, Italy to Munich, Germany, turned into one of, if not the best weekends of my semester abroad.
My friends and I went to Munich through EuroAdventures, a student travel company, to the annual Springfest (or in German, Fruglingsfest). Our first full day we took a walking tour of Munich. This was not just any walking tour; it was a beer walking tour. Our tour guide brought along 3 kegs of Germany’s finest Augstiner beer while giving fun facts about the buildings and statues we passed. He also made a drinking game out of the tour. It was by far the most interesting and fun city tours I have ever been on, plus I learned a lot!
After the tour, we went to the fair grounds where Springfest was taking place. Springfest has huge carnival rides, foods, and games, but the main attraction are the beer tents. We entered the Augustiner tent and saw hundreds of tables with local Germans, wearing the traditional lederhosen, and drinking steins of beer. With traditional German music playing, everyone is singing along. Obviously, most Americans are just saying random words and shouting “Prost!” every chance we get. (Prost means Cheers!) Aside from the fun beer drinking, we did not let the weekend slip away without visiting a spectacular historical landmark: the Dachau Concentration Camp.
The second day we were in Munich, we went to Dachau Concentration Camp, not far outside of Munich. It was a very somber and moving tour, one I will never forget. There is not much more I can say about it, except to go see if for yourself.
The Germans I met throughout the entire weekend were extremely nice and knowledgeable about American culture (most knew more about the upcoming Presidential Election than I did!). They welcomed us into their Springfest tradition; I recommend this experience to anyone who goes abroad in the spring!
Fear not, if you go abroad in the fall, they have Oktoberfest! It is just like Springfest, but BIGGER!