Sunday, October 2, 2011

Birthdays and Beer festivals

 My birthday this year conveniently coincided with munich’s famous Oktoberfest, so when I received an invitation to stay with and attend the festival with a mixture of Germans, Italians and Australians I figured it was the perfect way to spend my 23rd birthday.
I took the night train on Friday night, arriving in Munich at 6.30am Saturday morning, just in time to see the dirndl and lederhosen clad youngsters returning home from the previous nights festivities.
After spending the day equipping myself with a Dirdle, we went to a historical section of the festival that was started last year to commemorate the 200th year of Oktoberfest. Last year the 6 Munich breweries came together to produce the beer that was brewed and drunk 200 years ago, it’s stronger, sweeter and was so popular last year that they decided to repeat the “historical Oktoberfest” again this year. So I happily washed down my giant pork knuckle with a stein of old fashion beer.

Sunday morning we had a traditional Baverian breakfast of weisswurst and beer followed by a lazy day before the big nights events.
Together with another 2 Australians, 2 Austrians, 1 Brit, 3 Italians, 4 Germans and 5 half German half Italians (one who lives in the UK), we had 2 tables booked in the Gallery level of the Augustine tent. Our tickets bought us the table from 5pm til 10pm, 2 beers (1L pints), half a roast chook each and a looot of fun.
I have to admit that although I wanted to go to Oktoberfest- more to say I had been and to see what all the hype was about... I really just expected that it would be a lot of sitting at a table drinking (or more likely on my part- struggling to drink) litres of beer whilst surrounded by drunk tourists. Yet I was really suprised... Yes, there were many many drunks, but I really didn't notice! Nor did I notice the 2 and a half litres of good German beer I drank that night (which may have something to do with the not noticing the drunks...) But Oktoberfest is full of history and tradition (which I learnt from one of the locals at my table) and apart from being primarily about the beer, it is still a festival with rides, sideshow games, candied almonds, music and costumes.

And whilst sitting at your table, drinking your beer and eating half a chook, the band on the ground floor is playing songs that everyone knows the words and actions to, so you find yourself straddling the bench seat rocking back and forth with the rest of people at your table, singing a mixture of eeeeeeee boo dii dddddaaaaaah lo li lah to the tune to make it look like you too know the song.

  The waiters are amazing, carring up to 14 beers at a time, through the hall and up the stairs to the tables!

It really was alot of fun. My birthday was shared with one of the other Australians in the group, and the group even organised a birthday treat for us, getting personalised lebkuchenherzen for us both. Thanks guys!

On monday night after spending the day in the beautiful English Gardens in Munich, I took another night train back to Florence arriving at 6.30am, ready to start work at 9am. Back to reality :)

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