My Philosophy

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when we have footsteps on the moon!"

Friday, 23 December 2011

Prague Part 1 - Holland Declares War against the Czech Republic!

Once again my wanderlust took control of me, and with the aid of some friends of mime who share this particular character trait we decided that Prague would be the next city we visit! My companions for the trip would be my friends Birgit and Magdalena in the above picture.

After some research into the travel choices I realised that it was not only cheaper to take the bus, but also faster than the train! No brainer really. What can go wrong? Well, as it turns out a lot (it wouldn't be one of my blogs if everything went right ;) ). The ticket said we would travel from Hauptbahnhof Arnulfstraße (main station on the street Arnulfstraße). I assumed this meant Munich's main bus station, which is on that street. Lesson 1, don't assume anything!

So when I got to the main bus station Magda was already there, and told me we go from platform 4. Great, I thought. Time for a drink then! Then Birgit joined the party, looking like she was going to war! Unfortunately I can't show you a picture yet, I guess she deleted them...

After poking some fun at her for her bag and attire we went down to where the buses depart, about 25 minutes before departure. Platform 4 had a train to Istanbul, probably not stopping in Prague then! I saw that there was one going to Poland via the Czech Republic departing the same time as ours. So I assumed that was the correct one. Remember lesson 1?

We waited and waited but the bus did not come, then 20 minutes after scheduled departure the sign changed to a different departure. Now we were at panic stations, and very angry with the Deutsche Bahn (with whom I booked the tickets). I asked Magda if she could talk on the phone to the DB service line to find out what happened. They said we had no idea (all 5 people and the machine!) and said we had to talk to someone at the DB service point in the main train station.

So we queued up, but that did not mean we had to stop partying! We had already started drinking some of the hot glüwein that Birgit brought. That was probably the most fun I've had in a queue. Well we eventually made it to the front and Magda talked to the guy (because my German is not good and hers is perfect). We discovered (as you might have guessed) that the bus didn't actually go from the main bus station but from a drop-off/taxi point. He did agree however that the ticket was misleading and did us the great favour (which he did not have to do) and signed and stamped the reverse of our tickets saying that we can take a train.

Excellent! We even got to travel with in the comfort of a train compartment. WIN! Until the ticket collector came and said that it wasn't valid. Well, actually she said it was like buying chips at McDonald's and claiming them at Burger King. Bugger, we had to pay, but the ticket girl said we could get the Deutsche Bahn to pay it back. That reminds me, I need to go and sort that out...

Well, as it happened it wasn't expensive ( less than 25 € pp ) and we got to travel in comfort, and we actually made it to Prague that night. We were all to knackered to party that night because we arrived after 12 and the girls had already slept on the train. Thankfully, we did have enough energy between us for a night cap at the hotel bar. Lovely Jonny Walker Black Label, and the same price as the Red :)

That makes day 1 of the trip, and a natural end to part 1 of this already lengthy blog. I promise more pictures for the next one!

Viel Spaß homies!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Why Kettlebells Rock

Hello Readers!

This is an exciting exercise week for me (if such a thing is allowed!) because I have received my order for some new kettlebells. These are the exercise tool that, alongside ChiRunning, got me out of a major down point in my life. The situation was that I was quite overweight at around 16 stone (over 100Kg) and none of it was muscle.

My parents had membership to a posh gym, where they met Roger and Claire, who were personal trainers there. Due to a disagreement with the management there they left there and started their own studio gym, for just them to train (and punish!) willing candidates. I was one of these candidates.

Claire got straight to work on me, and discovered that the reason I got so many injuries while running was that my core stability muscles were very weak, and I was asking small muscle groups to do difficult tasks, which leads to injury. One example of this is shin splints; if you get shin splints then you are probably using the small muscle on the front of your shin to do part of the pushing forward when you run. This is an incredibly small muscle for that kind of task and so gets fatigued quickly and can no longer perform its primary function when you run, which is to aid in keeping your foot stable on the floor under the impact of your stride.

In order to fix this for me I was trained on how to use kettlebells, which helped me to become strong and flexible enough to be able to successfully change my running technique. Since then I actually have never actually had an injury from running, so it seems to have worked!

So how does it work?

This is the all important swing, if you play the video you can see how the swing uses all muscle groups in the legs. It increases strength, endurance and flexibility all in one. Also, you can see that the movement is aimed at driving your body forward, all important for running. I have already noticed an improvement in my power and speed, having just ran a new distance personal best of 15 miles, and managed to keep it under 10 minutes per mile. The training is really starting to pay off!

This is the website for their studio, located in Bracknell, England. Drop them a line if you're interested in learning the techniques.

Viel Spaß homies!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Marathon Mini Series: Updated Training Plan

So the change to my training plan has come about because of 2 things; the speedier progress up to the half marathon than I predicted, and the arrival of my new kettlebells!

My next post will explain why kettlebell training is excellent for runners, but bear with me until then. The working week starts on Monday, but the running week starts on Sunday, so I'll start there:

On Sundays is when I will do my long runs. The goal is for every time to increase my maximum running distance by 1 mile, but it is also OK to consider it a recovery run every now and then if my body is fatigued, and save that longer one for the next week. Hopefully this tactic will help me stave off injuries, especially in the critical last 6 weeks of the training.

Will always be a rest day.

Kettlebell VO2 Max training. Is really good for improving how efficiently oxygen can be delivered to the working muscles, making you a more efficient runner.

This will be for medium runs, usually about half of the distance of the previous long run, but about 30 sec/mile faster. This is to hopefully make me able to run the race at a faster pace.

Kettlebell strength training, will build core, lower and upper body strength. It's helpful to give me an extra training day but without adding running miles and reducing the change of impact injuries.

Fridays are for a short recovery run to expel some of that built up lactic acid to put me in top condition for the long run on Sunday

A well earned rest day, but if I have plans for Sunday then I can swap the long run to Saturday

16 weeks of following most of this program and then 2 weeks tone down and recovery should put me in tip-top condition for race day. I can't wait now, I'm even looking forward to the long run on Sunday, planning for 15 miles :)

Viel Spaß homies!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Marathon Mini Series: 50% down, 80% to go

Before I start, no I haven't forgotten how to do maths!

So yesterday I ran 14 miles, which was my furthest ever run, and my fastest ever half marathon. The half marathon time was 2:13:57, which was faster than my only other half marathon by over 10 minutes! I think this time will get faster as I get more miles in my legs.

That is 50% of the distance that I need to run in one go, but I believe I have only put in about 20% of the effort so far in order to reach my goal. The rest of the 80% is made up of the next 18 weeks in which I will be running about 400 miles, that's a long way to go! Even just writing that figure is daunting, considering only 26 are actually required for the run.

That said however, I only need to add 12 miles to my long run and have 18 weeks to do so, that puts a kind of better slant on it right?

I'm still enjoying the runs, no injuries, so it seems I am making regular and uneventful progress. Not exactly good for writing a blog about it :)

Viel Spaß homies!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Marathon Mini Series: 6-week sitrep

So far I have mostly been posting about my plans and very little on the progress that I have actually made, so here is an update.

6 weeks is a long time when it comes to training plans and quite a lot has happened, but thankfully it was largely uneventful progress. There was one week where I was set back with a sprained ankle, which meant I had to skip one long run. Believe it or not the ankle sprain was not when I was out on a run, or playing football or anything like that, it was running for the bus! So another run-in with a bus got me injured. What am I like eh?

In total I have ran 95.5 miles in these 6 weeks, with the longest one of these being yesterday, a 12 miler completed in 1:57:56. I am very pleased because I managed to keep up a good pace the entire run and also have enough energy for a fast finish. Take a look at the split times (time to complete each mile):

The last 3 miles were my fastest ones, this demonstrates a big change in my running gestalt, where previously I would run to fast too early and not be able to make it through the difficult endurance periods. Now even for long distances I can moderate my energy expenditure better and pay attention to what my heart rate is telling me for a much better long distance running style.

In this time my motivation and determination have not wavered, and every week after my long run I get more and more confident that I can complete the marathon next March.

My message to my readers is that our bodies limitations are only set by your mind, which you yourself have complete control over. If you have a target or a goal for something believe in yourself and anything is possible.

Viel Spaß homies!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Stupid Sexy Flanders

Do any of you remember the episode of The Simpsons where Homer and Flanders go skiing together? Flanders turns up in skin-tight ski gear and tells Homer that "It feels like I'm wearing nothing at all" and Homer later imagines him saying that in a thought bubble shaking his arse. This sketch often comes to mind when I'm out running in Munich (and no I'm not coming out!)

I was taken by surprise by the number of runners wearing skin-tight ruining clothes. Especially compared to places I have ran in England and to a lesser extent America. Perhaps the Germans (or continental Europeans) like more showing off their glutes! As I'm feeling more and more absorbed into the culture and I'm training for a marathon this winter I thought I'd get in on that spandex action! So on my run today I was rocking the spandex 3/4 length trousers, and let me tell you, it does feel like you're wearing nothing at all!

 Viel Spaß homies!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Marathon Mini Series: Chi Running

I think it is safe to say that this challenge would have been impossible if I had not discovered Chi Running.

Running used to be a kind of therapy for me, until I got injured, bringing back all of the stress that I left with every single stride on the pavements and trails. These injuries eventually got so common that I gave up. They were not always the same injuries either; knee pain, back pain, shin splints, ankle pain. The list goes on.

How then, can I now even consider running a marathon? The answer came from a book I saw in a smoothie shop in San Francisco called "Chi Running". I saw it on the same day I went for a run and got shin splints after just 2 miles and was a little down in the dumps. I would have got anything that could help, as it turned out I found the perfect thing to fix my problem!

So Chi Running is both a running technique and a running philosophy, both aimed at reducing your rate of injury from running and also gradually increasing the distance.

There are 10 components to the "Chi Running" principle:
  • Flexibility: Does not extend just to the muscles, but also the tendons, ligaments and joints. You move a lot more efficiently if your body is flexible, and it makes it easier for you to modify your technique if you get injuries
  • Posture: When running you need a good posture. If you're slouching too far forward you will use more energy holding yourself up. It also can restrict blood to your brain and other organs
  • Good Leg Motion: Overstriding in your running pace is one of the main causes of knee, hamstring and ankle injuries. When you land your feet just under your body it greatly decreases the force of the impact on your ankle
  • Cadence: Most people have too slow a cadence, a faster cadence helps to reduce the amount of time your foot spends on the ground. When your foot is on the ground when running it is enduring a 2-4G worth of pressure. The idea is to reduce this time by increasing your cadence. The ideal is 85 to 90 steps per minute
  • Body Sensing: This is a kind of self-analysis of your body after a run, and note everything down. If you notice some pain in your ankle or knee after a run then you can take steps to improve for your next run, and increase your recovery days if necessary
  • Mental Focus: This kind of goes without saying, but it is more than the focus you need to get through a long run, it takes a lot of mental focus to make an effective change. You need to re-educate your muscles and control them, this is the mental focus you need to change. Eventually your muscles will initiate your change naturally, and the battle is won
  • Coordination between halves: You should use roughly use 50% of your energy in your top half, most of this in your core so you keep a strong posture and a good twist in your top half. Good technique is when your top half and bottom half are working together instead of against each other
  • Good Breathing: Runners should use Belly Breathing instead of chest breathing, as chest breathing does not engage the most of the bottom (larger) half of the lungs, for that you need to expand your diaphragm. When you are fatigued, you will probably notice that your breathing is very fast and you don't actually take much air in, over time that will really reduce your capacity for running. Concentrate on expanding your diaphragm, especially when you're fatigued
  • Knee and Elbow Bends: It sounds counter-productive, but the more you bend your knee and elbow the less energy you will use. When they are bent they swing much easier, thus losing less energy in your stride.
  • Staying Relaxed: When you are relaxed you are less likely to strain a muscle, try to keep your muscles relaxed when running. This can be easily achieved with a smile, or a good song :)
So if you have any kind of problems with injuries when running check out this site, it helped me a lot.

Viel Spaß homies!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Oktoberfest Part 3 - Alone and Confused

The third part of Oktoberfest was by far the craziest. My best mate Mike came to visit for Oktoberfest, having just broken up with his girlfriend he was well up for a lads party week, and trust me, it didn't disappoint! He came quite late in the evening, which was quite lucky because the guys from part 2 had left the day before and my apartment was a mess! I took the opportunity to clean up and also replace the bandage on my broken hand.

He got in at around 9, so we only had time to get some takeaway and some booze and an early (ish) night to get ready for Oktoberfest in the morning!

Mike did not really know what to expect for Oktoberfest, he thought it would be more like a fair, with fabric tents instead of lots of structures that look actually permanent but still get taken down after the festival. He was surprised to see the the tents were like buildings and that there was a full blown amusement park. The first thing you see is the huge Ferris Wheel in the middle of the field. Because of how big it was we decided to make that out meeting point in case we got separated. That is important for later.

The first morning we were in the Hofbräu-Festzelt, with the 6-6.5% Hofbräu Oktoberfest beer. Similar to my previous Oktoberfest posts, we drank them quite quick, clearly I didn't learn from the time I broke my finger...

Sometime during our third maß we met some fun characters, including "The Future!". Here are the videos of some of them downing their maß:

It's not included in the video, but "The Future" puked up all that beer only a few seconds after, and the WHOLE Festzelt was laughing. Incredible scenes.

We also met some quite sexy ladies, although stupidly only got one picture.

Mike doesn't even remember this part - explains what happened later

A little while later it all went blank, neither of us have any idea how it happened, but we got separated. When I realised I went to the meeting point, the Ferris Wheel, can't miss it, right?

There I waited for around an hour, constantly calling Mike's number. One of the messages I wrote went like:
"Mike you **** answer your ****ing phone! Now I look like a dick because I can't hang up"
No idea.

This is a text that Mike sent me that night:

Notice the timestamp on the text.19:14, by this point Mike was lost for about 2 hours! Means we were pissed out of our minds by 5 in the afternoon! We don't know what happened, but there are several theories, but I'm pretty sure he got kicked out of the tent and went to and left the meeting point earlier than when I got there. Either that or he passed out and got there after I waited there for an hour...

He found my place eventually, the buzzer woke me up because I was being an amazing friend and having a nap... He explained that someone drove him home after he got in a little kerfuffle with a jealous German. Then we went for Chinese food, Mike kept on telling the waitress that he spoke German. The only words he said to her in German were "Guten Tag", and said in a funny way, like he was Dutch... I couldn't stop laughing.

With the first of our adventures finished I decided we would have a tourist day, and wander around Munich's landmarks. This is Mike getting to first base with a large stone lion...

The next day was another Oktoberfest day, and after 4 maß of beer we were joined by my friends Adi and Kai. After not too long Mike was drunk again:

After a couple more I caught up with him in drunkenness, and thought it would be a good idea that we go to another bar to sample a different Oktoberfest beer. Try and paint a mental map, this bar is exactly half way home and less than 10 minutes from home. I thought, what could go wrong?

I was left alone and confused again.

Somehow we got separated again, and this time he lost his phone, so we had no hope. At that point there is a gap in both our memories, but he eventually made it back. Once again I proved how good a friend I am and was woken up when he rang the buzzer...

Comments and Questions welcome, not that I can answer many! Read Mike's blog at Mind of Lavidius

Viel Spaß homies!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Oktoberfest Part 2 - Uni Reunion!

Part 2 of Oktoberfest took place (just) after I had the operation on my broken finger, which was a direct result of the first part of Oktoberfest, I was excited to go back!

As it happened the day after I had the operation my 4 housemates from 3rd year of Uni (and one friend that I never lived with) came together to Munich for a reunion, the first for about 18 months. It was a chance to show them Munich and also to experience Oktoberfest, which I hadn't done myself much either!

So, introductions then.

The guy sitting down on the left is Dickie, he didn't live with us in Lincoln but we know him through Matt, standing just behind him. In the middle of the shot is the Ginger, wait, I mean Chris. The handsome guy to Chris' left is me. Left of me is Holly and in front of here is Sarah. So that's the gang! Spaß was had!

We started by going to the Augustiner Keller Biergarten, where they all had their first look at a maß:

The Keller doesn't have it's own blog  post, but it has a really nice beer garden and also a really cool beer hall and even a basement restaurant, one will be written in due course.

The guys sampled such Bavarian delights as Schweinshaxe, Hendl, Knödl and Currywurst, Brezen etc. The first 2 litres of beer went down quickly, we were all amazed how quickly Sarah would drink her litres! Next we walked across town to my favourite spot to show my friends, the Hofbräuhaus for the Hofbräu Oktoberfest beer, sausages and Brotzeit (kind of like a picnic). I don't really know how many beers we had in total there but we were all pretty drunk and still had to get up early to go to Oktoberfest early in the morning!

When we got to Oktoberfest I wanted to show the guys the atmosphere in the tent, really lively with the music playing and people standing up and downing the whole maß! Unfortunately the tents we tried were full, so we decided to drink outside in the beer garden of the "Himmel Der Bayern" (Heaven of Bavaria) of the Hacker brewery. I think it was so hot that all the beer we drank we sweated out! Here's me and Chris, I'm showing off my thumbs up skills with wearing a cast.

I can't really remember what we did the rest if the day, I guess more beer was involved, which is known to cause gaps in your memory. See here for a perfect example!

The next day we were back at Oktoberfest, and this time made it into a tent. We went for the Augustiner fish tent (can't remember the name), but it had some great fish! Matt was the only one to get some, but it was basically a whole fish weighing about 350g (but costing €20!). Here he is giving the fish a kiss.

And here's all of us in the tent :)

It was really good to see the guys again, I thought it would be difficult with me having moved to Germany, but the guys were so cool to come visit me here! I hope for many more reunions next year :). I'm definitely going to book a table for 10 for next year's Oktoberfest! Any takers for a spot?

Viel Spaß homies

Friday, 14 October 2011

Marathon Mini Series: Training Plan

I'm under no illusions that my marathon training will be difficult, one of the most difficult challenges I've ever taken. It will require a lot of time and training during the winter, which in Munich will require a lot of motivation. From last week when I decided to run it I have 25 weeks in order to train up to the 26.2 miles, so this is the training program I have designed:

The important column is the one on the far right, my long Sunday runs. They need to build up steadily but not so fast that I overtrain and burn out. I will build up to 22 or 23 miles 3 weeks before the race, and then go down so I have plenty of recovery time and I am in top condition for the race.

Tuesdays and Fridays will be my recovery runs. As strange as it sounds you need to run to recover so you can do more running... These are done at a slow pace (60-65% max heart rate) and allow waste products from previous running sessions to be flushed out, meaning you are in better condition than you would be without it. I have noted that I will increase the length of these recovery runs slightly, but I may just keep it at 3 miles, or even a set time limit. We'll see. As this is my first marathon I will be taking the advice of regular marathon runners and trainers.

Thursday I have slightly longer runs planned, which depending on how I feel I may make these faster than I would normally run the Sunday run, or if I need another recovery then I'll make it an easy run.

Cross training is intended to me something other than running, but still improves fitness and increases your general running performance. For me this is of course, Kettlebells! You'd be amazed how much swinging a heavy metal ball between your legs improves your performance as a runner.

The number of miles I need to run is staggering, I've just added all runs from each day and EVEN BEFORE THE MARATHON I will be running 651 miles! Eek.

Well as I'm writing this I feel the need for a recovery run, and would you know it's Friday! Off I go then :)

Viel Spaß homies!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Marathon Mini Series: Diet plan

Nutrition is just as important as the actual training, maybe even more so. I haven't been able to get a decent diet plan going since moving to Germany, but I'm determined to this time for the sake of the marathon.

A lot of runners go for the "carb loading" approach, where over 60% of their calorie intake are complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat pasta, bread, pulses and lots of fruit and vegetables. In most ways I will emulate this approach, as in general it is a healthy approach. The reason for this is that it increases the store of glycogen in the muscles, which is premium grade fuel for endurance training, and proven to make the difference on my long runs.

A general rule of thumb is that runners burn 100 calories per mile, but for me right now it is up over 150 calories per mile! That will reduce over the course of the training as I lose some weight and increase my efficiency.

I have set up a folder in Google Docs for some example recipes here. If you have any ideas drop them in the comments (preferably with URLs :) )

Viel Spaß homies!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Marathon Mini Series: Why?

I had just finished writing a blog called "My post-Oktoberfest, one handed workout plan", it was full of a good mix of workouts I can do for the next 5 weeks or so that I can't use my left hand much. I was psyched to start up training again after the debauchery of Oktoberfest. I was just about to publish it when my friend Erik Orrgarde signed up for the Barcelona marathon.

He asked if I wanted to join, I immediately said no, because it was crazy. But I got thinking, how crazy is it? Regular follower of the blog will know that it is on my 20's bucket list to do a marathon, so it needs to be done at some point, why wait? Well, there are many reasons why not to run it, and only one reason to do it. That reason can't even be explained. I don't even understand it, but it's there. Other runners will understand, if someone can put it into words post it in the comments!

So Erik convinced me to do the Barcelona marathon, which is in 6 months from now (Sunday 25th March). I'll be starting a mini-series of the blog so if you wish you can keep up with my progress. Wish me luck!

Viel Spaß homies!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Quick Maß counter update (edited)

To be honest I don't really know how many maß of beer I had during the Oktoberfest period, but considering I hosted a reunion with my university friends and my best mate came down and we got paralytic (literally) twice I am saying I had 20 litres. Although in reality it is probably more. So the new score is 42 Maß! -->

Update: I went once more to the Oktoberfest and had another 4 maß, much fun!

Viel Spaß homies!

Ausländer's first surgery

I wasn't going to blog about this; after all it is only minor surgery, but enough embarrassing stuff happened that I thought it was worth while :). You know that dream where you are naked somewhere with everyone looking at you? Yeah that... Also there was a classic "Stop hitting yourself moment". All in all my first surgery experience was quite eventful, but at least not where it counts, the surgery went fine.

If you remember from my previous blog I had quite an eventful first day of Oktoberfest, which ended up with me breaking my little finger on the way home. Not what I planned! After the swelling went down I could see that it was a serious break, and I couldn't set it straight myself. I begrudgingly went to the hospital at that point (begrudgingly because I knew how much it was going to hurt!).

At the Emergency Room they took an x-ray (below) and tried to set the bone straight. Let me tell you, that's pretty bloody painful! Even worse, they couldn't actually do it, so I needed to have surgery.

Look at the little finger
So I turn up early to the hospital on the day of the surgery (07:00) but it took until 8:30 to be admitted to the hospital; but because I was the first operation of the day the nurses had to rush my preparation. This wasn't helped by how slow I figured out the garments they give you. I got given a robe and something that looks like a hair net. That hair net was actually a pair of very revealing boxer shorts. I didn't really understand the nurse's German so I didn't know if I had to put that over my current boxers or just replace them...

I think you have guessed already what happened, but no, it's worse!

I was changing behind a curtain, by then figured out that the hair net boxers should replace my current ones. I just got them on when the nurse asked me if I needed help, I said no, but she still opened the curtain. Now, to give you some locational perspective. This curtain was in view of an entire corridor of the ward, and when it opened, all I was wearing was the hair net boxers. The nurse did not have the courtesy to close the curtain, merely held it open standing there and staring.

Considering that position I think I owned it, stood there as casual as I could while (it felt) the corridor was watching. After a few seconds I asked the nurse what she's doing, she responded by helping me into the robe, and I was no longer baring all down a hospital corridor.

I already mentioned that the surgery went well, so I won't go into any detail on that. The following x-ray is the result of it (the "x" are the pins, which I will get to keep :).

When I was moved to the post-surgery recovery room my arm was still numb from the (local) anaesthetic, but I could still lift the hand even with the extra weight of the cast. With that knowledge I felt confident to inspect the new cast, so I lifted it closer to my eye to inspect it, at which point my strength gave way and the cast dropped on my head. Thankfully the only person that saw was a quite cute nurse (or doctor) and we exchanged a joke and some laughs.

Anyway I need to thank Lex because he picked me up from the hospital, which was legally necessary to ensure I don't fall into the underground or something.

The day after my housemates from university came to visit for Oktoberfest, so I was back at Oktoberfest a little sooner than I should have (and against the doctor's recommendation!). No harm done.

Viel Spaß homies!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Oktoberfest Day 1 (Bierleichen)

One of the biggest attractions to me starting my life in Munich was of course the possibility to live near the worlds biggest beer festival and party. This is now my first Oktoberfest, and I was and am so excited!

The Oktoberfest starts with the tapping of the keg at 12 noon, but if you try to get there around or just before that, then there is absolutely no chance you'll get a seat! It's for that reason I met my friend Alex at 8:30 so we can get into one of the big tents as soon as they open. Even then it was difficult but we found a nice spot in the Paulaner Winzerer Fähndl (big) tent. The problem is that means you are waiting in a beer tent for 3 hours before you  have your first beer. Hence the other guys didn't look that excited:

The party and the atmosphere started kicking up around 11:30, and then the brass band started walking around the hall playing some Bavarian drinking songs. Then the owner of the tent took a microphone and started talking and counting down the seconds to 12 from 45 seconds! That was a bit boring.

The first beer was served at 12, but we didn't get ours for another 40 minutes. Once it arrived the mood got really good. I drank mine a little faster than I should, causing problems later in the day (more on that later). The Paulaner Oktoberfest beer was quite nice, but too Lagery for my tastes, does the job though at 6.5% alcohol!

The mood improved a lot when the beer arrived
Inside the tent was really nice, the people were nice. I'll put it this way, there was a lot of eye candy everywhere!

And on to the name of this post (Bierleichen). It is a term used by Germans, or experienced Oktoberfest visitors, it means "Beer Corpses". It refers to the youngsters that don't realise the strength of the beer, get too drunk and pass out. While technically this didn't happen to me it kinda did. On the way home I either tripped, slipped or plain fell and broke my finger! It needs an operation and everything, my first visit to Oktoberfest!

The last 2 posts have been typed one handed because of this lol, but anyway it was so fun, and can't wait to get back there! 

Viel spaß homies!

Ausländer in disguise (Lederhosen!)

A lot of non-Germans I have met in Munich are hesitant to get a pair of Lederhosen for reasons such as they "just don't get it" or they think they don't know or feel part of the culture enough to partake. I'm not one of these people so I decided to get a pair to try and disguise myself as a Bavarian (until I spoke obviously). On the topic of speaking; I'm now 10 months into my Munich adventure, and I would say my German is not bad, but still a long way to go. I think I might write a post in German (ohne Übersetzer).

Anyway, here are my Lederhosen:

If you were to come visit me during Oktoberfest would you get a pair of Trachten (Traditional costume, in this case Lederhosen or Dirndl)?

Viel spaß homies!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Seehaus Biergarten

So it's a hot day in Munich, you don't have to work and you feel parched for a beer. What to do? The obvious answer is to go to a beer garden, but which one? There are over 50 to choose from.

My choice will normally be Seehaus, a really nice beer garden in the heart of the Englischer Garten by a lake. It serves Paulaner beer, one of my favourites of the Munich breweries, the prices are OK too, at €7,40 for a maß.

It so happened that I had some good news from work to celebrate, so I invited friends to join me here for some drinks, which turned out to also be some hair of the dog treatment after a very long and free cocktail night out. 

Anyway here are the pics :)

Breakfast of champions :)

So this is a really good beer garden, you should go! 

Oh and my parting gift - a duck gone insane...

Viel Spaß homies!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Today's Office (2)

Some days at work are better than others, last week included two of my best ever days!

So the scenario is that me and my colleague Selim were tasked with determining the roaming behaviour of our Sony Ericsson devices; the closest place for us to do this from Munich is Austria. So between us we were driving around an area known to have "difficult radio conditions", meaning handing over from 3G to 2G etc. While Selim was driving I got these couple of photos...

This is a really amazing part of the world, but the best bits were seen when I was driving! We have a large van, so when we are working in the back we can't really see much, but when driving these mountain roads it's really amazing! I wanted to come back with my bike but the following weekend was rainy and I couldn't find the motivation :(

I'll add all the photos to Picassa (because it's better than Facebook...) Link to follow.

Anyway, that was a cool couple of days work. I'll definitely go back! (both for work and for fun) anyone want to come with me?

Viel Spaß homies!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Housewarming party (edited)

Ever been to a party where the host wears a blanket and dog bones and swings a cannon ball between his legs? Yeah? Well you were probably at my house party then!

So my party celebrated 6 things; 3 birthdays ( mine, Adi & Adi's), my moving into a new flat, and the aforementioned Adi's leaving the country parties. So it had to be a big one! I think it didn't disappoint :-)

So, the highlights then. It had a theme of Barbarians and Bavarians, so we had lots of oddly dressed people, some with weapons and some in Leather trousers (pants for my american readers :) ) I discovered that my pointless corridor is actually perfect for playing Beer Pong, which was played all night.

Hell, i'll be damned if I can remember any more than that but I know everyone had a good time! I haven't got many pictures, i'm waiting for Aditi (below) to upload some of hers from her kick-ass camera.

Sporting an Augustiner Dunkel beer label on her head
But here are some that we do have from a different camera. Stay tuned for updates, and if you have some funny pics let me know!

Land Ho!

I wonder what she's drinking
Adi uploaded some pictures to Facebook :) Here are some of my favs....

Permalink to the album (maybe you  need to be friends with Adi on facebook).

And one thing that I saw the next morning...

Someone left a knife in the oven, so I now have a spatula with a very sharp handle

So, more will be up soon, post a comment if you remember something that I have clearly forgotten.

Viel Spaß homies.