Anyway, I checked into our hotel, which is in the Olympic Village near where the 1972 Summer Olympics were held, and then went into the city center to people watch and see some sights. Here's a few shot's of the Marienplatz, which is their historic square.
As you know from the last post, it's Oktoberfest time here in Munich. Oktoberfest is the largest fair in the world. Some 6 million plus attend the event every year and they eat over half a million chickens, a quarter million pork sausages, and drink the equivalent of 3.3 million six packs of beer over the course of the 3 week festival. The first one took place in 1810 for the marriage of King Ludwig I and Queen Therese. To put it in Scott's words, "This is the Texas State Fair on steroids, HGH, and The Clear all combined into one fat horse pill."
I've decided to do this post a little differently. We did a bit more here in Munich than Oktoberfest, but I'm going to devote this update completely to that event. The other main activity was going to Dachau, which is one of the most notorious concentration camps from WWII. Since we are looking at two complete opposites in regards to mood (festive vs somber reflection), and I'm also going to Auschwitz next week, I'll simply include the Dachau pictures in with that post. Since I think it's important to show the stuff we saw at the camps, we'll simply combine the visits into one. No need being a Debbie Downer on two different posts.
Now before we move onto the festivities, I have some rather disappointing news that I must share with the group. I know there has been some discussion on the blog regarding me yodeling in a pair of tradition Bavarian garb, but despite my best efforts, I was unable to acquire said articles of clothing. I looked for 2 hours while I was waiting for Scott for anyone to be selling anything that resembled a Riccola commercial, but for some inexplicable reason, the entire middle of town was closed on Saturday. I found 7 (7!!!) stores that sold Lederhosen and not one was open. I simply do not understand.
If there is any day in the year you need to be open, I would think the last weekend of Oktoberfest would be that day. I was crushed (Scott, not so much). So word to the wise:. If you ever decide to do this, bring your own attire. Sad, sad day people. This could have been the stuff dreams are made of, but we can't dwell on what might have been. Have to move forward. This was as good as we could do:
Here's a bad shot of me and a good one of Scott.
But unlike us, there were tons of people who pulled out their favorite table cloth pattern and wore it around town in style. I have some shots of the Beer Halls in a bit, but Oktoberfest is about the people so here are some of my favorite shots of the crowd.
The only place outside of working for FTD that guys looking like this can get away with walking around with flowers all night long.
So the the whole festival has a bunch of parts to it. There are the typical cool fair rides, and there is cruising up and down the street looking at all the booths and eating, etc. But the thing that separates Oktoberfest from anything I've ever been to, are the Beer Tents. They are these huge 5,000 seat beer halls with a big polka band and thousands upon thousands of happy people eating and drinking and singing and toasting each other every 30 seconds or so. This is what it is all about. So of course, since this is the spot to be, it is impossible to get seats unless you know a guy who knows the 2nd cousin of the wife of the owner of the tent.
Well, since Scott and I didn't get to the party until around 5 Saturday night due to the flights, etc., we got shut out of the tents. People reserve seats almost as soon as the previous year is through and the few remaining general admission seats are probably sought after by 100 folks for every one seat. After a failed attempt to get past the bouncers by having Scott "show a little leg", we decided it would be best to try again the next day when we could get to the tent at an appropriate hour to start drinking beer: 10:00 AM. So that's what we did, and by golly if we didn't beat all the other folks with hangovers and have ourselves a blast. Most of these shots are at the Hofbrauhaus Tent, which from what I'm told, is the Big Wig in this group of 10-20 different beer halls:
Here's a shot of the band. As an added bonus, they also spontaneously break out classic Old Fat White Guy dance routines that thankfully don't include: 1) The Electric Slide 2) The Macarena 3) Somebody choking on a bratwurst
And then me. Not my favorite beer of the trip, but you have to have one or they throw you out of the Hall (only half kidding here).
You see this exact picture every thirty seconds. 8.5 Euros a pop (~$13).
This is a second beer hall that we popped into. As you can see, it is quite similar to the first, just different colors, different songs, and a different beer distributor. Again, we went early, before a lot of people were well past being able to walk home let alone drive, but the atmosphere here can only be conveyed if you've experienced it first hand. Just a great event all around...
Next post, Scott and I head to the German/Austrian border for a tour of the Eagle's Nest, which is Hitler's Alpine headquarters during WWII.