The very first Oktoberfest I attended, my friend Krista and I randomly ran into (they let us sit at their table) a group of friendly German guys. They welcomed us with beer, smiles and a bit of teasing that we wanted mustard with our pretzels. With good ol’ Facebook, keeping in touch was easy and after all this time, now I’m visiting their city of Darmstadt!
Here we are years ago (My host Markus is on the right).
And here we are now!
Markus is a genuinely kind guy with a happy heart and a smile that I’ve watched light up every gathering we’ve attended. He’s a natural at making you feel comfortable which makes him fantastic at being a part of the “Welcoming crew” that show the college freshman around town.
Before I show you what a day looks like as a chemistry college student, let’s bring it back to the elementary days. This is a castle field trip that usually provides a day of excitement for young school kids around the area. This week, I got a private tour!
The walk to get us to the top.
Of course we stop for some fun!
This tree is over 300 years old and is clear at the top with roots extending all throughout the castle.
The tree for a high view point (including the handstand shot!)
Other incredible sights from up top including some pics with effects added.
The walk back down with a few more cool photos…
Now through the adorable neighborhoods of the small town he grew up in called Bensheim.
A peaceful walk through the woods to arrive at the Felsenmeer (sea of rocks)!
On the way back we stopped at this little cabin that was offering homemade pies, cakes, drinks and treats. The man inside looked as if he had built the place and had been running it ever since. I couldn’t tell, but Markus mentioned his “Red neck German accent”. I can only imagine!
Back to the city of Darmstadt to be a freshman for 24 hours. I got to tour the campus, the classrooms, the public transportation and the student beer gardens… Yes, the beer gardens! The drinking age is 16 for beer or wine and 18 for all other liquors. So this means a kid can have a beer while studying on school grounds before he can even drive a car. (They get their drivers license at 18).
I also got a kick out of the idea that one of the “activities” to introduce the new students was a pub crawl… Why not? The drink below is translated in english as “lamp drink”. It’s a stein of apple wine with a champagne glass of cherry liqueur inside. With each sip, you get a taste of both.
Haircuts all around…
…and a few jump shots to finish up my days here in the sweet college town of Darmstadt!
Markus and friends… Thank you for all great conversation and the mini German lessons! It’s been a blast! Tchuss!