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Published: October 5th 2004
Eins, zwei, drei, …… Suffa! (One, two, three ……. Chug)
Although we did have a nice tour of the Deuches Museum this morning with all of it’s ships and plains, as well as taking a pious journey to St. Luke’s Cathedral, by far the most significant event of the day was the Oktoberfest. En route I stopped in a subway WC to change into my Bavarian outfit. Decked out in Lederhosen, a white button up shirt, long green socks and an official felt cap - looked the part but I didn’t quite feel it yet. It felt like every eye was on me wondering what train this embarrassment of a tourist emerged from and how quickly can we get this chunder head back to where he came from.
A centuries long tradition, the Wiesen (Oktoberfest) was originally a wedding celebration between_____. Kamrin and I arrived around 4pm to survey the land and grab a late lunch/early dinner (sticking to Purser tradition where sight seeing and adventure taking come first before eating or just about any other human necessity).
The festival is unbelievably enormous. We heard from other tourists to visit certain tents at the festival. Well
there aren’t any - what these people call tents are veritable football stadiums. They are temporary building but had we not known that we never would have suspected that these behemoth beer halls were seasonal.
Anyhow to the spectacle. For those that have never been, my article will provide paltry service to the epic beer guzzling and utter debauchery which thrives at the Oktoberfest. Thousands of people packed into each tent - beer hall - with an oompa band in the direct center of the crowd on a raised up diesis leading the crowd in song after song and taking them deeper in to Bauchusian overload.
Kamrin and I were literally overwhelmed when we entered the HB tent. The cacophony was reminiscent of William Wallace’s man shouting at the British on the hills of Banakburn. Neither of us could handle the shear volume so we headed out side to an outdoor seating area to enjoy the festival from at a distance and partake in the first clear afternoon since we arrived in Munich. Incidentally the Bavarian flag is Blue and White checked to symbolize the blue skies checked by white puffy clouds.
Coming outside turned out to
afford us not only a wonderful afternoon but a wonderful rendezvous with on older Munich couple whom Kamrin and I felt an incredible kinship. Inge and Klaus sat down to join us at our empty table, as 5 o’clock hits the crowds really pick up at the festival. The first thing she says to us, other than her initial hello, was “ I am so surprised to hear English coming from your mouth when you look so Bavarian.” That’s right friends I even convinced a local Bavarian that I was indeed the genuine article. And with that one phrase I went from idiot tourist to Yohan Reife and sucked deeply from the marrow of my Germanic roots to imbibe all that being German and at the Oktoberfest has to offer. Oh friends it is on - bring on the beer and bratwurst.
We had a delicious lunch of traditional fair and HB beer, and chatted with our new friends for at least two hours. They had traveled quite a bit and we found we had much in common and our conversation flowed effortlessly through dozens of topics, jokes and tales. They did give us one priceless piece of local wisdom. Only order one beer at a time for the both of you, that way you are always drinking the freshest beer and it is never too warm. Amazing - these Germans think of everything.
Klaus has some funny jokes about - one in particular was pretty funny. A Brit, and American and a German go to a bar. The Brit orders a Harp, the American a Budweiser and the German a coke. The other two asked the German why aren’t you having a beer. He replied “Well if aren’t having a beer than I’m not either.” We all had a good laugh and as we all prost each other, watching Klaus swig his good German beer just made the joke that much more endearing.
Inge said that Klaus never tells jokes and that he must like us meets us to have told us two. What a lucky day . We both really did feel very fortunate to have spent such a wonderful afternoon with this lovely couple.
Inge said how cute she thought we were and we certainly had to say the same of them. They had to leave us, because Iinge had a ladies card game coming up in an hour. How funny. They came to the HB tent just to meet foreigners and we both got what we desired, they to meet some nice foreigners and for us to spend time with real Munichers. Definitely one of the most memorable moments of our trip so far.
Later after our dinner and outdoor warm up we went in to the HB hall and witness the festivities first hand and to have share a beer with the other revelers. I found a table in the packed place with only two seats left. We ended up sitting at a table with about 12 young people from Munich. Another stroke of good fortune because they were talkative, took to us immediately and were all about the party. We sat with them for about 10-15 minutes and the rest of the night we were all standing on our bench or on the tables singing and clinking glasses.
Every ten minutes the Oompa bad plays a song whish essentially goes. “I Cheers, I Cheers in Munich, I Cheers I Cheers in Munich - 1, 2, 3, Chug.” Everyone yells prost smashes steins and takes a big swig of beer. Suffice it to say that this evil evil song was the Achilles heel for us. In truth it was an amazing time, the company was great and the whole experience was once in a life time - don’t think my body could take another night like that - well at least not until next years festival. Kamrin rates it as far crazier than Marti Gras for the shear palpable intensity of the beer drinking going on. We didn’t see any clothes coming off but I can assure you the energy wasted on lifting ones shirt was harnessed and focused in the revelers sole purpose - DRINK MORE BEER!
Side Note: As a precautionary measure we only took a disposable camera to the festival, so the real photos will have to be posted when we get back to the States and can get that film developed. Trust me they are worth the wait. At least the ones I remember taking.
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