Day Seven - Munchen/Oktoberfest '07
Munich Travel Blog› entry 7 of 14 › view all entries
We woke up to another bright day, ate brunch, (which seemed a lot like breakfast except it was nearly noon), and we were off to explore
We walked out to the bus stop and waited for the 153 bus that would take us to the U, their straight forward way of labeling the underground. Catching the bus turned out to be much easier than figuring out the subway. Derik and I have both traveled enough that it shouldn’t have been as confusing as it was, but the press of people and the screaming of nearly a hundred school children didn’t help with our ability to think.
Finally getting our ticket and getting it stamped, we walked down the long ramp to wait for a train. Once it came I was amazed at how clean and spacious it was. Their trains are not all the same, but this one seemed wider and taller than subways I’ve been on in the past. The walls were metallic grey and it had wood seats along the edge placed in a gentle arch. The handrails were all in chrome and there were little modern lights over the entrance ways. Adding to the clean concept, there were no ads anywhere! Where you would normally be accosted with ads for the latest movie or pair of sunglasses, there was just clean empty space.
The car we had walked into was just comfortably full of people. There were no seats for Derik and I, so we stood in the entry way.
Oktoberfest - what can you really say? Billed as the world’s biggest public festival, it all started in 1810 with a horserace to celebrate the marriage of Ludwig and Thérѐse von Saxe-Hildbburghausen. Following that an annual fall festival was held, apparently to commemorate their marriage and has grown ever since.
It would be difficult to find the right words to describe the festivities. A HUGE part of it is nothing more than carnival midway. People were crammed down the wide lanes waiting to get onto the plethora of rides and amusements. If you wander through this section as we did, you move when the crowd moves. Just walking from one side of a thoroughfare to the other can take a bit of time, as there are so many people.
Adding to the difficulty in mobility as well as the flavor of ambience are these large wagons from the different beer manufacturers being hauled around by teams of horses laden with regalia. The crowds stop and admire and that brings all movement to a stop - but again, they look quite impressive. But the main draw of the fest, are the large beer tents Derik and I eventually meandered towards.
While they call them "tents" that doesn't seem a logical term. They're HUGE and solid structres. However, my understanding is they put them up just for these two weeks and then the rest of the year it's a vacant lot. So, in that sense, I suppose "tents" wil have to do.
We talked with some young people who were in costume, as I wanted to try and learn if they just got dressed up for Oktoberfest, which would seem a huge waste to me, or if there were other dates through the year that they got dressed up for as well.
From what we observed I’d have to say they were right. Everyone did seem to be very palsy-walsy and I’m sure the beer only heightened the sensation for them. But I think it was more than that. There was just a feeling of openness that you couldn’t possibly keep in a group that size all the time.
I was left with the impression that Oktoberfest is really much more than a beer fest.
By the time we left the vast grounds and got back to Arvie, it was nearing 10pm and we were quite exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep.