By Circe Olson Woessner
I attended the University of Maryland, Munich Campus (West Germany) from1979-1981. Like many of my peers, I took advantage of our college’s long winter recess to travel. At the time, most of my friends traveled by train, and European rail systems offered incredibly cheap train passes to students. The Interrail passes allowed 2nd class train travel between most European countries at a fraction of the cost of individual train tickets.
Winter break 1980, my boyfriend and I joined the thousands of other European and American students backpacking across Europe.
We left Munich on December 18, 1980. It was a typical dark, cold and wet day. We were both fighting off colds and decided to head south towards southern France and Spain. My family had a small condo on the beach in Argeles-sur-Mer, not far from the city of Perpignan. We planned to hole up there a couple of days then head into Spain and Portugal.
We took the train to Strasbourg, bypassing my near-by hometown of Karlsruhe, and slept in the train station. It would have been more comfortable to sleep at my parent’s place, but we figured it wouldn’t have been great start of an adventure by going home on the first night!
The Interrail pass allowed us to get off the trains and to change itineraries at a whim, and we loved the flexibility. As we neared the city of Lyon, we decided to get off the train and explore, then catch an evening train to Argeles.
We had bought traveller’s checks and spent a great deal of time trying to find a bank that would cash some for Francs. It was not easy, but we finally found a place. With some of our Francs, we bought ham and cheese baguettes and large cups of coffee in a café near the train station. We bought a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread to take with us for our supper.
The station was packed when we went to board our train—it seemed that everyone was traveling south or going home for Christmas. There was one seat, and I took it and our back packs; Bill stood in the aisle until the conductor made him move to another place, where he sat on the floor until Avignon. Finally, we were able to get seats together. An older lady sitting across from us offered us some apples, which we gratefully accepted.
In Perpignan, we had to change trains to catch the one to Argeles, which dropped us off in the town of Argeles—not Argeles Plage –where the condo was.
It was pitch black, blustery and cold. It was sprinkling and we had several miles to walk. Bill had a flashlight and we picked our way carefully down the road following signs for the beach. I kept wondering if we’d be attacked by one of the many dogs I could hear barking and joked about having to beat them off with what was left of our baguette. Read the rest of this entry »
To All Our Fellow Muencheners, everywhere:
As many of you recall, Circe has compiled Munich Campus memories from fellow alumni, and published the collection of their stories in two books: Baverian Crème (2002), and Noch Eins (2003). Those books remain popular, and after more than a dozen years, there still seems to be an interest for more to be said about our “long ago”lives in Munich.
A third book is in the works!
Because of this, we’ve decided to work together to collect and co-edit a third volume of University of Maryland Munich Campus memories.
The third volume is yet untitled, but we would be interested in your suggestions.
Please share your stories!
We will need to have your submissions by end of February, 2016, and plan a tentative
publication date of June, 2016.
What we’d like:
Our initial thought is, depending on the number of submissions received, that we would like to categorize the stories/memories by decade: i.e. 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s ,1970’s, 1980’s– up to the school’s final closure in the early 1990’s.
We would like to get stories and memories not only from alumni, but also from instructors, administrators and support staff (we can only imagine that the Munich Campus educators and staff had more than a few eye-opening experiences dealing with the likes of us students ).
We would like to have stories and anecdotes rather than “sound bytes.” Your memories can be funny ones (i.e the infamous 1974 trip to Andechs, although the staff probably does not think that was so funny..) or they can be life changing experiences you had–even sad or tragic stories. We would like to see it all- that’s what made the Munich Campus experience real!
We can also publish selected stories/anecdotes on an anonymous basis. When you submit your story with that condition, your identity will not be revealed in print. It is up to you.
We would also like to try to include, for the first time, some of your favorite photos from Munich Campus life. We don’t know how many at this time we will use, but we will include as many as possible. If you can send us a high-resolution image of your photo by email, that will be great. Selected photos will be printed in black and white.
If you are unable to scan a photo, we can give you a mailing address to send in the original. We have access to a high-end photo scanner that we can use to digitize your photo, and then return it to you.
We would very much appreciate it if you can send us your stories and anecdotes by email as a Microsoft WORD document. This will make it easier to work with. If you can’t use WORD, please write your story in the body of an email.
Please send your submissions to:
Our intention is to produce and publish this third volume on a not-for-profit basis. We want to record our Munich Campus memories for the ages.
After covering our production costs associated with producing this book, any profits however large or small, will be donated to the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center.
If you have any additional questions or comments, please email us.
That said, we hope to have your stories in hand by end of February 2016.
Our beloved school is gone. But we still have each other, and our memories. With your help, we will be able to put together a great Volume III, which will be a great read for everyone who attended our very unique school.
Circe Olson Woessner (1979-1981) Alexander George (1975-1977)
By sending us your story, you agree that we may use the story on our blogs, in the book and for promotional purposes.
Dr. Karin Pohl, of the Giessinger Bahnhof Historic Society will be offering guided tours of McGraw and Perlacher housing area.
The tour of McGraw will be Fri, Oct 23, 3-5p.m.; Perlacher Sat., Oct 24, 10.30-12.30 in the morning.
More information and registration via DGB Bildungswerk München at:
Participants welcome. She will offer more tours in 2016 also with DGB. Stay tuned for a peek back into the past!