When I came to Germany I had a number of goals - gain deeper skills and knowledge in the software we were using, apply and gain some international business knowledge, experience living in a different culture...but first and foremost I was determined to make it to the world renowned Oktoberfest. Being somewhat of a fan of beer and the consumption thereof I couldn't miss this event especially when I had heard first hand reports.
Basically there are two ways that you can look at Oktoberfest...there are those who say "What's the big deal it's just a bunch of people sitting around drinking beer all day" and there others who say "Ah young grasshopper...you have much to learn...for it's not just about drinking the beer"...I, obviously, fall in group number 2...so as we headed down to Munich (we being Marc, Amanda, Shawn and I) I was a little concerned about the high level of expectations that I had set for this outing....the anticipation, the waiting. Well night number one was a conservation night (conserve energy, conserve money)...be ready for the next day, so we spent the evening gathered around a pool table watching Renee not know how to play pool, I'm sure to the delight of my pool playing companions.
So on Saturday morning, we decided to enjoy brunch, take a bit of time but still pacing ourselves so we could make it to Oktoberfest at a decent time.....ah yeah a decent time??? decent only if you wanted to sit on other people's laps (well maybe some of you out there would want to do that)....as you might already be able to deduce there were hords of people of there...it was a beautiful day in Munich, it was the last weekend of Oktoberfest and people were out in force not to mention out in force in their lederhosen. The first tent we tried to get into was Paulaner, it was noon and the doors were already closed...because the place was packed...this was surely a sign of things to come.
...next stop...Lowenbrau...well at least we got in this time....and my eyes grew really big and a smile spread across my face....the band was playing their Bavarian music, people were toasting each other with their litres of beer, the smoke was so thick that everything looked a shade or two lighter and streamers and decorations were perfectly positioned....and with that my expectations were filled...although there was that tiny matter of finding a seat....so after traversing the tent...which included a number of elbows in the side and back from busy waitresses carrying litres (and litres of beer) and huge trays loaded with food...we made it out and into Hofbrauhaus.
I would give those of you who haven't been to Munich some background to HB but I won't, think young, beer drinking..lots of Americans...as we walked in we were oh so fortunate enough to see a young lady who was threw for the day...and doing a little porclein praying before 1 in the afternoon. It was definately a scene in there...and we returned later in the evening and the place was thrashed...what a surprise...but once again no room in there either...so tent, to tent, to tent...until the end of the road....an Augustiner tent...one known for it's fish meals. Marc was on the hunt for seats...he was determined...I was still on the Oktoberfest high and wasn't too annoyed yet with the lack of seats...and low and behold he found a spot...and sat...quickly. The rule is once you've sat down...don't move...or if you do make sure you trust the person who is holding your seat.
So as you can see in these proceeding pictures our Oktoberfest fun was had...it was great, people were dancing on the benches...oh wait so was I....and drinking litres of beer...and so was I...and the pretzels (I think I may have had a few of those)...huge...you can see one that Marc has in his hand....and prosting!!!! which is one of the best parts....grab your litre and happily prost your unknown neighbor.
This picture cracks me up....take a gander at the boy sitting across from Marc with his head down...him and his friend...couldn't have been more than a day over 18 and had, had 4 litres of beer in something like 2 hours...they were pretty much down for the count...what a hoot.
...and they of course make the rounds with the cigarettes and cigars...I couldn't resist the lure of the Cuban...well neither could Shawn.
So after about 7 hours of prosting and toasting it was time to get up, survey some of the damage done in the other tents, ride a ride or so in the midway...and eat some more food...can it get any better???....the answer is no....what an experience...what a great time....Germany is one of the few places in the world where this type of event can be held...great food, good beer (not hefeweissen, won't knock 'em for that though) and great people...if you have ever entertained the thought of going to Oktoberfest...do it, you won't regret it.
Well it's time to sober up and head back on the ICE train to Frankfurt...see you at the next destination. Tsurrs.