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Published: October 8th 2006
We meet up with Julie and her boyfriend Mat at PHV and start out toward München at 0730. The temperature is in the low to mid 60s F, the air is foggy, and the ground is wet. Half way there we stop at a Burger King for snacks and a bathroom break, but everything tasted awful (burnt onion rings and a powdery milk shake), so we had a rough start to our day. Lack of caffeine turned out to be my problem. A little Nescafe chocolate coffee greatly improved my morning.
Anyway, we arrive in Munich, but way of an unsuccessful detour to find the Esso station on the outskirts of the city, about noon. Then we spend awhile driving in and out of the city limits, up and down many streets, through the suburbs and the high-rises, looking for a frigging gas station. (We pass a half dozen when leaving the city later in the day). We find one, finally, and park at the garage next door about 1245 and begin our trek across Munich. Our destination was the fest grounds, so our path was pretty much determined by our following a group of women in Bavarian dresses. We
The large statues to the right are put up to advertise those particular beer brews. (i.e. Pauliner and loewenbrau)
actually find Oktoberfest at 1330. It occurs to me that this is not one of our best-organized trips.
At first I see nothing but carnival rides and noisy crowds speckled by people in lederhosen, and I wonder where all the beer tents are that I’ve seen on TV. Turns out, as big as those tents are, they just blend into the background behind all the people and rides and signs, and are actually hard to notice when you’re trying not to get mowed down by the crowd.
We get some Eis and walk around a bit while finishing off the ice cream cones. Some rides were ridden, including a roller coaster and some fun houses. I heard more English than I expected, and more American accents than I expected, though there were defiantly quite a few people with strong Irish, British, and German accents to their English. There were many people in Bavarian attire: the women in dresses, many homemade, and the men in lederhosen. Young and old were dressed for the occasion, and the dresses were worn with a variety of footwear from boots to sandals to sneakers. There were leather and potato sack dresses and homemade
Julie, Mat, Seth and I toasting our litres of Augustiner beer.
fabric dresses. There was an awful lot of boobage (the dresses seemed to accentuate this), and there were many men walking crooked - not always because of the beer. There were people hugging, people singing, people puking and people peeing. There were hordes of people everywhere, and it was a mad house. It was a bit like being in a cattle drive, and I was so happy to be in the line for an out-of-the-way portable bathroom because it was refreshing to be away from the crowd.
We met up with Julie’s friend Amber, but I probably wasn’t very hospitable at the time because I was getting a bit homicidal after so much shoving and crowding and the heat and the cigarette smoke. But after a big beer I felt much better. It was a trial just to get the beer, however, and we walked through three beer tents before finding a small space to settle into outside the Augustiner tent with our one litres of beer and a gigantic pretzel. And I’ve decided to blame it on the beer that the second the guard turned his back we all booked it and took off running with our now
pilfered beer mugs.
After some more walking and rides and souvenir shopping, we were off to find some dinner. We had decided on the Hard Rock Café and though we knew the platz it was near, we didn’t know the way to the nearest bahnhof (train station) and so one of the girls (already a few sheets to the wind) asked a guy on the corner and we blindly followed him through the streets of Munich. What was ironic was other people in this new herd of people, upon hearing us speaking English, asking us if we knew the way to the train station. We seemed to have discovered a new large mass of people in which everybody was following somebody else and everyone was hoping that someone up front knew where they were going. Luckily, our guide led us right to the S-bahn (above ground train) which took us to the bahnhof and another train which took us all the way to the Marienplatz, where we were forced to ask directions again.
After a few winding streets, we found the Hard Rock and surprisingly got a table right away. We even got balloons, though I’m not quite
Seth, Amber, Julie, Mat
Everyone with the Oktoberfest goodies: the t-shirts, the hat, the message cookie reading "Ich Liebe Dich."
sure why that happened or why we decided to walk through town with them afterwards. As far as I can remember, this was my first trip to a Hard Rock where I did not order a cheeseburger. I figure this is monumental enough to mention in a blog, as I’m a creature of habit. The chicken fingers were good. (My second most popular choice for every other restaurant we eat at - well, American restaurant.) And Seth proved what a wonderful husband he is by slow dancing with me to Louis Armstrong’s music video of “What a Wonderful World.”
Then it was a trek back to the Marienplatz, a train going in the wrong direction, and then another train, in the right direction, which took us all the way back to Karlsplatz, where we’d parked the car. We started the return journey at 2030. There was hardly any traffic but there was a lot of rain. Plus, our driver only drove about 70 mph when the roads were clear, so we didn’t get back home to Heidelberg until 0030, making for a full four-hour drive each way. I passed out for at least the last hour of the drive.
Seth watching our confiscated beer mugs while we all go on a haunted house ride. The ride was actually kinda fun with that beer in us.
As cynical as my blog sounds, the fest was actually fun and it was worth seeing. However, I don’t see myself returning in the future.
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