Edit Blog Post
Published: September 18th 2011
The old Parliament in Stuttgart
Hello everyone! I arrived in Frankfurt without much issue, I have been putting my German skills to extensive work, though I am just beginning to understand how limited they really are. Many people do speak English here fluently, though I still do make the attempt in German before as I am a guest in this country and English is not the primary language.
I met up with Tobias after getting a new handy (cell phone ) and we went out for some curry wurst and fries. Through some navigational mishaps, we went on a long tour around Frankfurt were Tobias told me about the city that is the European Union’s economic centre. Our outing was short since he had to work early the following day, but we had a great time catching up.
The following day I was in Stuttgart where I would eventually meet Timo after a modicum of confusion, however we did meet and caught up over a couple beers at a nice biergarten only a few minutes walk from the main train station. We then left Stuttgart and traveled north east
An old building with a very interesting style
to the next town where we climbed a section of the old city wall that was still standing to an old tower. The tower had been converted into a classy restaurant, famous for the wine made from the grapes on the hillside next to the wall. All in all we had a good time but he wouldn’t be able to meet us in Munich for Oktoberfest because he will be in South America at the beginning of next month for several months of traveling around.
I got to Munich the next day and met up with Kerstin after she got off of work and we went back to her apartment which is only a few underground train stops away from the main train station. We made our plans for the opening day of Oktoberfest, hoping to see the tapping of the first keg and sitting for a few beer in one of the beer tents.
This next section I wrote today (the day after opening) after we were able to sleep and get some food in ourselves to clear our heads.
I have survived the opening day of Oktoberfest! Our original plans were to get into the
These stairs on the wall just kept going up!
Schottenhamel tent to watch the opening ceremonies where the mayor or Munich taps the first keg at noon, but when we arrived at 9 in the morning the tent was already packed (as you can see from the pictures), most probably because many (if not most) of the seats were reserved. A reservation doesn’t cost money, but you do have to buy drink vouchers and a certain amount of food, I believe that it’s 2 Maß (a one litre beer ), a Halb (half a litre, or nearly a pint), and a halb Huhnchen (half chicken). The beers cost about 9 euro (about $12.15 Canadian ) a Maß, which by German standards is atrocious.
So since we were unable to get into the Schottenhamel (shot-in-ham-el) house for the opening of the keg, we toured around the Oktoberfest grounds for a bit. Every major brewery has their own tent, now tent is a very loose work for the structures they have set up. They are giant halls where hundreds of tables and benches are set as tightly together as possible. The walls
Expensive food, not so expensive beer
and ceilings are decorated in a semi-traditional style with streamers and wreaths, and there is usually a large brass oompah band on a raised platform in the middle of everything.
We got into the Ochsenbraterei (oxen-brat-air-aye) tent afterwards at about 9:30 only to find that all the seats were taken or reserved. The problem with that is the fact that you won’t be served unless you are sitting down and they are not allowed to sell beer anywhere outside of the tents besides the Biergartens (which were also quite packed). So here we are on the opening day of Oktoberfest and we can’t find a place to get a beer! We walked around the Oktoberfest grounds and waited until the parade with the mayor and all the breweries came in, all with marching bands and draft horses pulling wagons.
So we’re outside with the hundreds and hundreds of other people who were unable to get a spot in one of the tents when Kerstin gets a phone call from one of her colleagues who happened to have a reservation in the Augustiner (August-ina) tent. Through our combined guile and skill, we were able get into the tent (where
That is a Line
The mob outside the Schottenhamel tent
all but the reservation entrance was closed ) and after a little searching, found the reserved table. At first we were able to sit down with the others there, but we were soon kicked out of our seats by the others who had reserved the rest of the table. No problem, the others at the table ordered our beers for us (when the server EVENTUALLY got to our table) and after half an hour most people were standing anyway.
I certainly felt underdressed for the occasion as most of the men there were dressed in Lederhosen and even more women were dressed in Dirndls (the traditional dress that the servers wear). I know it sounds strange to want to wear lederhosen, but at least half of the guys wearing them were around my age or younger. Many of the women in the group who were at the table with us explained that they actually really like the look of lederhosen. In any case, even buying a cheap set is something to the tune of 200 euros, so I doubt
It may look a little gross, but that is traditional street meat at it's best!
that will be happening.
One of the girls at the table (I wish I could remember her name, but I am terrible with names when completely sober let alone when I have been hanging out in a beer hall during the opening day of Oktoberfest) told me that last year her and her friends sat with another Canadian who talked a big talk about the amount of beer he could consume, but apparently after only 2 Maß and an unspecified amount of schnapps, he had his head on the table, passed out. I asked what part of Canada he came from, to which she replied Montreal (that explains it!). The gauntlet had been thrown down, I had to defend Canada’s celebrated ability to drink beer that had been tarnished and show it was at least in the same league as Germany’s. I had 4 Maß, along with the others before we left, we were there for nearly 4 hours, but I was told that my being able to keep up (with a very large German man in the group) without so much as batting an eyelash was rather impressive.
Along with all the merriment I learned a typical
The German police keeping order before the parade came in, and looking cool doing it
Oktoberfest drinking song. It goes a little like this "Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit!" (Aine pro-seet, aine pro-seet dair ge-moot-lihkh-kalt) Repeat twice and you're a pro!
Being the smart people we are, Kerstin and I went grocery shopping on the way home and somehow managed to only get everything we needed for dinner, not even a single bag of chips! I will admit that I had an even more brilliant idea when I decided that kebabs on the way home would be way more awesome than actually having to cook dinner that night.
In any case, I still have a lot to do to get my passport stuff on track, but I will let you know about that as it happens.
Talk to you all later!
Tot: 1.076s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 12; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0384s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb