I have been trying to write this post for the last
two three weeks. I have had several different ideas on how to do the trip justice, but none seemed good enough once they are on paper. So, today I’ve decided to just write and post whatever comes out. Rip the proverbial band-aid off, eh?
The first leg of the journey was in Munich. We flew over night, landed in Heathrow for a small layover, and arrived in Munich by 2pm. The flight was perfect. I had built up a healthy buzz at the United lounge pre-boarding and was able to make it through one movie before the ambien kicked in and I was out until we landed. A friend of my brother, Andreas, was so kind and picked us up from the airport. He showed us how to work the subway system, and we took about a 45 minute subway ride into the city. We got checked into our hotel (that looked to be pre WWII in age), and readied ourselves for sights of the city.
Being the opening weekend of Oktoberfest, we were greeted by masses of people dressed in dirndls and lederhosen drunkenly making their way through the city. It wasn’t uncommon to see vomit in the subway, or people passed out on the sidewalk.
So of course we judged these people. Obviously, the Americans were here to show these crazies how to conduct themselves appropriately after a few beers.
Once we made it onto the actual Oktoberfest grounds, we were surprised to find that drinking was only permitted in the beer “tents” (read: large wooden structures that house 5,000 + people). The grounds between the tents were much like that of a fair or carnival grounds we would find in the states. Given that it was Saturday night of opening weekend, we realized shortly after arriving we wouldn’t make our way into a tent unless we wanted to spend the rest of the night in line. So, we got a 1.5 foot long bratwurst for the road and made our way to the Hofbrauhaus for a few beers. The Hofbrauhaus is great. You really should make a trip if you are ever in Munich. It is very touristy, but in exactly the right way. And the beer was great.
The next day we woke up to the greatest breakfast spread known to man. Hard salami, deli meats, soft cheeses, Nutella, hard rolls, pretzel rolls, farm raised eggs, coffee, croissants, fresh squeezed juice – I mean you name it, it was there, kind of spread. I was in heaven. Talk about a send off into months of pregnancy. Brie at breakfast? Yes, please.
After breakfast, we got ready to depart for the castle tour. Andreas joined us as we took a bus into the Alps to visit two castles and a historic Bavarian village. It was a fun day trip, and we saw the castle that Walt Disney used as his inspiration for Cinderella’s castle. I couldn’t stop giggling over the German’s pronunciation of “willages” for “villages”. I’m so mature.
Once we were home, we got ready quickly to head back to conquer Oktoberfest. Since it was Sunday, we thought we would have a good chance at making it into a beer tent. Andreas brough along his friend, Kai, to help us work the system as well. We were super spoiled to have two natives show us the ropes.
We thought we would eventually eat dinner, but our plans were foiled. Foiled by three liters of beer in two hours. That is the equivalent of a 24 pack per person in the states, FYI. The Germans are smart. They close the tents at 10pm (probably to avoid too many deaths by alcohol poisoning), so we thought surely how much trouble could we get into arriving at 8pm.
Turns out a lot.
We danced on the tables, Terry bought me a giant gingerbread cookie heart to wear around my neck, I made a best friend from Newcastle, England named Lucy, we apparently ate fries that Rebecca claims were fried in duck fat, but none of us really remember them, and Kristin and I took a shot of schnapps at a random bar on the way to the subway while everyone else was going to the bathroom. I vaguely remember dunking my Aggie ring in Kristin’s leftover liter of beer. That we stole from the beer tent. Yes, I thought I was quite clever for pulling that off. Until
I Terry had to carry it in my bag to two more cities.
The next thing we know, half of our group is throwing up on the subway. I remember apologizing to my sister for embarrassing us “like those people we saw earlier”, and she said ‘Don’t be embarrassed! I’m not upset, I’m impressed! You just threw up an entire french fry!”
We are all still puzzled by how I managed that.
Thankfully we all made it back to the oldest hotel in all of Munich (yes, that was sarcasm) safe and sound. Terry earned his stripes as chief bad ass for making sure we didn’t die or get taken on that long stretch home. Liam Neeson eat your heart out.
Now here is the kicker: I spent the rest of the next day in bed. Super sick. Like couldn’t keep down water sick. Which meant missing the tour of Dachau, and my last day in Munich. Not my proudest moment. I also woke up with a random bruise on my nose that hurt everytime I had to throw up. And it appears in some well lit photographs from the rest of the trip. Nope, it isn’t a shadow you are seeing. Just a reminder of my own stupidity.
So that’s that. We came, we saw, we did not conquer. Or did we?! Now do you see how I was having trouble elequently telling you that I consumed too much beer at Oktoberfest. Hopefully the Austria post comes much easier to me!