Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Munchen: beer and love

It was a 2-3 hr train ride, 1st class with our rail pass to Munich.  The rail system is extraordinary, so functional.

We checked in to Hotel Kent in the very quiet, Bavarian town of Engleschalking.  A great room, 3 single beds, clean & tidy with great ammenities. The room came with a old trouser press, too cute! In the hall was a shoe shine machine, cuter! First night in we just grabbed some snacks, drinks and pizza and were in bed by 9pm in preparation for Oktoberfest.

Awake by about 5.50am, the dress up process began.  Hair, makeup and dirndl all go!  We headed into town (very quick ride on the S Bahn) and when we got off, joined the masses on the walk to the grounds. We arrived between 7.30-8.00am and lined up at the main tent the Haufbrau.  Doors were opening at 9am. The doors cracked open about 10mins early and it was a wave of bodies, a moshpit! I dont think my feet touched the ground, I was jammed so tightly between bodies. We ran and secured a table, in a great spot near the stage and close to the bathrooms. We were joined by two other lovely girls, Cleo and Amy.  We all got along very well.  We were all hungry and parched. I needed caffeine, so ordered a coke but had to wait for 10am for any drink service. I ate a poppyseed roll with ham/salad.  They have cute people with food baskets walking around, serving pretzels and rolls.  When my coke came, I was so relieved to have liquid, caffeine and sugar... Only 2 more hours until the bells ring and its beer time.

At about 11.30 our assigned 'beer wench' Bettina took our beer orders. In the meantime, the band and family of the tent (each tent is named after a family) came on stage and received massive applause.  A marching band came through the crowd about 11.50, everyone stood on their chairs cheering! Then right on 12pm the gong went off, bells rang, the band started and the crowd of thousands cheered! Bettina had our drinks over to us straight away, she was onto it! Prost! Ahhh that first stein went down well, I reckon it took about an hour to get through. By our 2nd round of steins we were all mingling with surrounding tables and everyone was pretty loose and happy.  People from all over: aussies, kiwis, irish, german, italian, swiss, austrian!  It was honestly one of the most exciting, electric and happy environments I'd ever experienced.  Everyone smiling, getting to know eachother, drinking and dancing together.  There was attractive men in lederhosen everywhere.  There's something magical about the traditional suede lederhosen, every man just looks so handsome! And those beer wenches, holy crap some of them carry 10 if not more, steins at a time - it was mental!  These are mostly older women, with arms of steel.

Later in the evening, after a few bathroom runs, a cheese pretzel, a couple of steins later, (at one point I actually pretended I didn't speak english to a couple of aussie girls in the bathroom line haha) tabletops by now where dancefloors. I had  met so many lovely, happy, drunk people two which were a couple, I dont know their names. He was Swiss, she was Irish and they had actually just met that morning! They seemed in love, very cute.  I had said I wanted that, a nice guy - but no Aussie ;) We were all dancing on table tops, laughing, smashing our steins together and singing along to the band until the drinks stopped at midnight and it was time to leave the tents.

Following morning I was a little worse for wear. Lack of sleep, water and food took it's toll and I decided I couldn't do a second day/ night at Oktoberfest.  Nick headed in and I went to sleep.  At 1.45 I woke up, watched german Mtv and caught up on the internet.  I decided to head in so I got ready. Then I sat there fully dressed but still could not muster the strength or desire to head in. So my trackies came on, I went and got a pizza and spent the night in.  It was nice to have some space to myself.  I fell asleep after dinner, woke up about 2am and Nick was still not back.  I hoped he was ok and with his aussie mates.  I woke up at 7am, showered packed my bag and tried to contact Nick, no go.  Check-out was at 11am, he just turned up at 11.02.  Lucky!  We checked out and decided to get the soonest train out to Berlin.  It was raining a lot in Munich so not worth site seeing.  So off we went to catch our 6hr train ride to Berlin. 

I didn't have any expectations of Munich or Oktoberfest but it certainly delivered happiness, beer and love in bucket loads (or Stein loads!)



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