1972 was a grand time to be living in Munich, Germany; the world would be watching this magnificent city as it hosted the 20th Summer Olympics.
I considered myself fortunate to be residing in Munich during this time, while attending the University of Maryland branch campus. Living on McGraw Kaserne, an army outpost near the heart of the city meant having a gateway to the Olympics with the events being held only a few miles from my doorstep. Having this opportunity would give me a chance to cheer on the United States as they competed for medals against the world’s premier athletes.
Counting down the days until opening ceremonies; Munich was well prepared to host the world-the city dressed in all the pageantry of a Fourth of July celebration with light blue and white banners, ribbons and complete with bunting. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »