Oktoberfest

Next on the agenda was Oktoberfest, a famous 18 day fair that began as a celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig’s wedding in 1810 (yes). People liked it so much that it continued every year right into current times.

We lost so much time at the slow beer hall dinner that we had only an hour instead of the 3 hours promised by the travel brochure. Some people were not happy and complained that it was the reason they came on the trip. Eventually, those in charge decided to pay the bus driver overtime and extend the time by an hour. Then we received the wonderful news that the bus could not get anywhere close to the fair grounds to drop us off and we would walk 30 minutes there and 30 back to the bus parking area. It was a  Geh aus der Holle (Walk from Hell) Leaders walked as fast as possible so the complainers could have more time to drink beer.

I was half dead by the time I dragged my sore leg up the hill to get there. I saw some stairs and decided to sit there and wait as I was too exhausted to do anything else. Oktoberfest, by the way, is the Wilson County Fair with beer — lots of beer. There was a parade earlier with fancy horses and beer wagons, but we came at the end of the fair and missed it, of course. I saw one stray beer wagon with horses, which gave me an idea of what we missed and aggravated me even more.

The main event at Oktoberfest is beer and drinking. Each major brewery in Munich has a large wooden structure for serving called (appropriately) a “bier hall.” In addition, there are bier tents belonging to other breweries as the bier halls are always full.

Believe it or not, there was one thing I really liked. It was that many Germans at the festival dressed in traditional dress. The guys wear leather shorts called laden hosier. The ladies wear what we would call a square-dancing dress, full skirt with peasant blouse, apron and tight vest. I also liked the kettle corn, but didn’t need to go to Germany to get that.

drunk

Ein zu viel Bier

A German man sat down on the steps nearby. He tried to talk to me in German. I hadn’t the faintest idea what he was saying. Probably, “May I sit here?” Germans are very polite. When I didn’t reply, he sat down, passed out and went to sleep, laden hosier and all. Germans drink a lot of beer, which it is cheaper than water, but do not condone intoxication. Unfortunately, a few folks over indulge and he was not the only one drunk. 

I must admit that German beer is very good with a taste different than American beer. I like the wheat beer best. I asked someone why they did not export beer and was told, “Because they drink it.” When you order a small beer, it is served in a glass that looks like about a liter. 

We decided to leave and try to get back to the bus without leaving another trail of tears. By the time we got down the hill and drove an hour back to the hotel, everyone was half dead. Why didn’t we skip the pork, go to the Oktoberfest and let people eat there, we wondered? 

Since complaining seemed to be the only way to get anything, I complained to the tour director about the walk up the hill at 90 mph and asked him to slow it down to a stroll from now on. Most of the peeps were old and many of us could not walk so fast. It seems that river tours appeal more to older people than young folks.

As long as I’m complaining, the hotel was new and nice, but way too far out of Munich. It was supposed to be closer to the river, but the extra hour we had to drive might as well be on the day we leave Munich as on the day we were there. 

Advertisements

The Arrival

We arrived in Munich. I met the tour guide and we were transported by bus to a hotel in Timbuktu. We are out in the German countryside in a new hotel an hour from Munich. I don’t know how much they pay the travel company to come here, but it must be a very good deal for someone. It doesn’t look like the promised Bavarian village to me, just some shops built for tourists.

For some reason, I already think this is not very well planned. We cannot get in our rooms until 4 a.m., so we leave suitcases in a meeting room. We are now supposed to go eat on our own. Some people have no Euros and the hotel restaurant doesn’t take credit cards. They can’t get Euros as it is a holiday and banks are closed. Thank goodness, I thought about currency ahead of time. But, I’m not hungry — I’m tired. Besides, I can’t get up steps with no banister to get to the pizza restaurant where the tourist herd is going.

Oh, wait! I see Morris who came yesterday. Good news! He already has a room, so I retrieved my suitcase and checked in. I wanted to sleep, but he is hungry, so we decided to eat. It is cool and windy, but we walked about a block or two to a German restaurant. I figured I could eat pizza at home. I had Cordon Bleu and he had steak and potatoes. The food was delicious and not much more expensive than a moderate priced chain restaurant at home.

Tomorrow, we will go on a walking tour of Munich. The capital city of Munich is located in Bavaria a state in Germany with picturesque villages and medieval towns. We will begin with a Munich City Tour and see the glockenspiel, a famous clock thingy in the town hall with life-sized wooden figures that dance around. The New Town Hall is supposed to have cool architecture.

After that, we will spend about 3 hours experiencing Oktoberfest. Not sure 3 hours is much of an experience — but, oh well, I didn’t come to drink beer anyhow. However, the wine at dinner was very good and I had a taste of Mo’s beer. I don’t like beer, but it was not bad. Guess I’ll try one tomorrow as beer is what the festival is about, that and King Ludwig’s wedding a few hundred years ago.

IMG_0718

On the bus we had passed a lot of fields with strange posts and wire cages. We found out it was where “hops” for beer is grown on vines that love to climb. The hops have already been harvested for this year, however. The little villages we passed were interesting — clusters of red-roof houses and always a church with a tall steeple, like a Christmas snow globe. Bavaria is what most people think of when they think of Germany.

IMG_0714

IMG_0969

These photos were taken later, but are so typical of the scenery that I wanted you to see them.