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Boat Race 2017

One of the sporting highlights of the Oxford calendar has always been the annual Boat Race. Not only because it is one of the oldest and most traditional rowing races in the world, but also because many of us Oxford boaties spent countless hours on the Isis trying our luck to win blades in college rowing. Many of us looked up to the few selected men and women, who actually made the Blues rowing team (OUBC) and sacrificed so much of the otherwise hallowed student social life for the potential of earning eternal glory by beating the Tabs on the Tideway.

So now several years after leaving behind the Isis waters, we still gather in Munich at the Isar River (notably similar to Isis actually) to watch the race of our university day heroes and heroines – who we feel so closely connected to, because these part-time athletes are training and studying in the same place where we used to be a few years back.

This year, the Oxford Munich Society organised the viewing event, which was last held in 2015, right next to the Ludwig Maximilian University at CADU. Surrounded by libraries and lecture halls, and young lads carrying piles of books the CADU actually provided a very student-y vibe for the event. With more than 40 alumni, the event had a huge turn-out and it was a pleasure to co-host the event together with the Munich Cambridge Society, who braved the century-old animosities and showed up in amicable fashion. A definite highlight was seeing so many alumni turning up in their old rowing blazers and stash. The mix of dark blue and turquoise – excuse us – light blue fashion items from both Oxford and Cambridge showed that the divide from our student days have indeed been bridged – and that together we celebrated this piece of British sporting tradition, that you could’t find in Germany.

Therefore, we hope that the Boat Race viewing event will continue to be a reference day for both Oxonians and Cantabrigans in Munich, to meet in merriment and sporty admiration for each others rowing wizardy (e.g. catching a crab at the first stroke at the start). Oh yes, and did we talk about the results yet?

A British Summer Garden Party

Reminiscent of the great Oxford days with Summer VIIIs, JCR garden parties and commemoration balls, the Oxford Society Munich decided that a proper British Garden Party was needed to cure our own nostalgia. After the Brexit hangover, we realized that we missed the unique flair of colourful ties, blazers and dresses as much as the staple ingredients like strawberries and PIMMs; the tastes and the merriment that make garden parties in England so special. Luckily Café Tambosi provided a most suitable venue in Munich’s largest quad – the Hofgarten with its cloisters and chestnut trees. It managed to recreate that feeling of tranquillity and well-kept greenery of an Oxford college in Trinity term.

The weather played its part in being very British: changing from rain showers to sunshine back to rainshowers. Marquees do not seem to be a thing here but will surely have to go on the planning list for next year’s party: supplier recommendations in Germany are very welcome. Also the Italian waiters seemed to have taken an expert course in “how to serve PIMMs and lemonade in a perfectly British manner” – and provided more than 60 guests with great service and entertainment.  Other than that the Oxford Summer Garden Party was a great success, with record sign-up numbers, fantastic food and active mingling between all age groups (and even a number of courageous Cantabrigans) – again showing the continued strength of the Oxford bond, holding strong even after many years of leaving.

The Munich Oxford Society will definitely continue to bring this flair to Bavaria, and thanks all members for their active participation in our little English bubble.

Oxford Alpine Excursion

A few days after the last Oktoberfest songs had been sung and the last tankards of beer had been emptied, the Oxford Society Munich gathered for a slightly more sober and sporty activity, to burn those calories from the previous weeks. On 13th October around about 20 Oxonians braved a7amstart on a Saturday to hike up to the Fockenstein, one ofMunich’s Hausberge (“home mountains”) at the nearby Tegernsee (“LakeTegern”). Despite a cold and rainy morning we were motivated by our secretary’s rally cry “that there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear”. Our courage was rewarded by a sudden change of weather that provided us on a blue-sky afternoon and a beautiful view over the Bavarian landscape from the 1564m high peak. After our uphill travails all the way from the lake (800m altitude) to the peak, we were greeted by the first 30cm of snow of the season, and an entertaining downhill descended that involved most of the group sledging down the mountain on their snow-soaked bottoms. Who said sledging was only for kids? In addition, Oxonians would not be Oxonians if the physical part of the day wasn’t topped off by some sort of banterous drinking activity. So on our way down we ran into an unexpected party by Radio Charivari, had free beer at the mountain hut “Aueralm” and were greeted by the generous hospitality of our committee member Leonie, who invited us for coffee and home-made cake to her parents house by the lake. Leonie, we really appreciated and enjoyed your family’s generosity. Overall, the Alpine Excursion was a fantastic day with many highlights and many of the qualities that madeOxfordspecial: motivation to make things happen, courage to overcome an initial challenge, and the esprit de corps of the dark blues. We are looking forward to our next event in the outdoors.

Christmas Dinner 2012

To celebrate the end of an eventful Oxonian year, the Munich branch of the Oxford Society again hosted its annual Christmas dinner. Due to the high level of interest in the year before, the committee opted for a much larger venue with fabulous views of the Munich State Opera House. The attendance of over 90 Oxonians exceeded all expectations. Nonetheless our members enjoyed the very cozy atmosphere of the wood-paneled rooms of the Spatenhaus on this snowy winter day.

Apart from a delicious 3-course formal-hall style Christmas menu with plenty of wine, there were a number of other highlights for those who traversed the snow blizzard to attend this fine occasion. The main highlight of the evening was the presence of the new British Consul-General Paul Heardman, who gave a humorous review of the year 2012 from a British-German perspective. He emphasized the Olympic Games, the Diamond Jubilee and Kate’s Royal Baby as the events that will be remembered on both sides of the channel. Furthermore the president of the OUS in Munich, Marco Janezic (SEH, 1989) provided a brief account of the early days of the Society, which had been dormant for a few years, and introduced his diligent new committee, now consisting of 11 members. His inspirational speech showed that Oxford’s influence and friendships are a life-time asset and extend far beyond life at the university.

If nothing else, the Christmas dinner at the Spatenhaus was a great occasion to meet old and new friends and exchange stories of the shared time in Oxford. One thing that we did notice though was the inexplicable absence of black-tie and port – two Oxford traditions that shall hopefully be reintroduced at the next dinner to complete the immersion into old times.