Tapping the Bavarian Spirit
Two million words:
Ladies and gentlemen of the choir, esteemed colleagues. Here we present a classy and sophisticated expose of Bavarian Beer, Bavarian Women, and Bavarian Pig. Oktoberfest 2008! Last Saturday, the 19th of September, was the very first day of Oktoberfest 2008 in Munich, Germany. It was said that if you did not get there early, that there was no way to get into an official tent, let alone find a table that had not been reserved. I mean, this was the first day of Oktoberfest! So, we got there early, and of course Sophie and Allie needed morning coffee.
Oh yeah, Miss Sophie Boddington, one of Allie's best friends from San Francisco, California, came to visit us just in time for Oktoberfest (as well as the first Raclette of the season!).
Reminiscent of Feria in Sevilla, as we arrived in the morning we encountered a huge fair ground in the middle of Munich, filled with rides, games, and the ominous beer tents. And when I say tent, I mean TENT, as in they are built to hold upwards of 7000 people. So, we got there at 8, and even though the tents didn't open until 9/10, there were huge, huge lines. But, luckily I was there with two beautiful girls in traditional garb. When they left to go to the bathroom, leaving me to save our place in line, I was skeptical of our ability to appropriate a table in the tent. Especially since official Oktoberfest beer is only served to those who are sitting at a table. But, then Allie returned solo and pulled me out of line. Turns out that a security guard had let them into a tent before the doors even opened, and Allie had quickly run off to get her "friend". Either way, we got into the tent pretty much before anyone else and found a table that had not been reserved. So, what's the lesson? Always travel with pretty girls, apparently they get things that we guys couldn't dream of!
Pre-Beer: We got in at 9, but the first beer doesn't get poured until 12, so we had a little bit of time to kill. So, we wandered around and ate brezi (pretzels) and made new friends at our table, who would soon become our drinking buddies!
The three hours went by fairly quick and we had a good time talking, exploring, dancing on the benches and playing cards, but as the hands of the clock crept closer and closer to 12, all 7000 of us in the tent grew a little edgy and impatient. But, good things come to those who are patient, a lesson we learned the hard way since I think we were the last table in the entire tent to receive our beer. But, I must say it was worth the wait. Well worth the wait.
Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, Gemutlichkeit!
Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, Gemutlichkeit!
(Cheers, Cheers, Coziness!)
You gotta love Oktoberfest. It's all about the beer, and the food and the traditional garb. Next year I have to get a pair of lederhosen.
Mmm Mmm Mmm, there's nothing like Schweinshaxe during the second beer (or mass as they call the gigantic 1 Liter Oktoberfest beers!) You gotta respect the waiters and waitresses who sometimes walk around with as many as 15 Beers at once.
Allie and Sophie making friends.
Somehow Antonello wandered into our tent of all tents and Allie was kind enough to point him in the right direction. Lucky him, he wouldn't have been able to get a beer if he hadn't run into us!
Well, until we changed tents at least. A friend of mine from ETH, a native Munchener, invited us to his reserved table in the massive Paulaner tent. So, at 4, we wandered out of the tent where we were greeted by the sun and thousands of jolly Bavarians in lederhosen and dresses, and stepped right back into another tent.
Once again, good beer, good food, great people, and lots of drunk bavarians singing Schlager (the folk music of Bavaria) renditions of popular american songs!
The day after... just don't talk to her.
Well not until she's had her coffee.
I have to say that Munich is growing on Allie and I. There is a reason Mercer ranked it as the city with the 8th best quality of life in the world. Of course, we all know the number one... yeah, that's right, Zurich!
But then again, they surf in Munich. Yes, that is a real picture. Surfers on a standing wave in a river.
San Diegans need to rock the moto + surf board combination. How cool is this!
So, all in all, Oktoberfest = Good Fun. We'll definitely be heading back there again in the future.