Oktoberfest 2009

Munich Travel Blog

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Oktoberfest T-shirt
 

With construction on the Autobahn between Augsburg and Munich, and heavy traffic by road closures within the city, it was nearly eleven o'clock when Walter and I reached Manuela's  place. Her narrow residential street was lined with parked cars. Since she had no car, we were able to park the BMW in her allotted parking spot in the basement of her building. Cars were stacked two-high and either could be retrieved by an electrically controlled elevator. I had never seen such a parking system. It made practical use of space below ground by eliminating a spiral driveway to a lower level.

 

I felt a little goofy wearing hand-embroidered deer-skin lederhosen complete with suspenders, long woolen socks, baggy white shirt with silver buttons, and a leather vest with carved wooden buttons.

With Manuela
I left the equally authentic hat with goat-hair tassel back at Benno's, fearing it too easy, and too valuable, to lose. The traditional costume felt odd at first but I knew that after a couple of beers it wouldn't matter and would allow for fun times. I had met Manuela twice in Cambodia so it was not only a thrill to see her again, but to see her also decked out for the festival in traditional Bavarian dress. Walter wore jeans and a T-shirt, looking more like the tourist.

 

Manuela's apartment was a short walk to the Metro station, just two stops from the sprawling Oktoberfest grounds in the center of Munich. I was happy to see many others wearing the Bavarian attire. Walter and Manuela intervened - and chuckled - when someone, another Bavarian, asked me a question in German. Though more than a million people attended opening day, weekday crowds were far fewer than on the two weekends.

Oktoberfest 2009
In addition, attendance was down by 25 per cent from an Al Qaida terrorist threat. We were able to stroll the grounds with surprising ease. We designated a small clock tower near the much taller Lowenbrau Tower, visible from just about anywhere on the grounds, as a meeting point should we become separated. We would meet there on the hour.

 

Half a dozen or more beer hall tents dominated half of the grounds. Each held up to 10,000 jubilant beer drinkers. More people sat outside in adjacent beer gardens. Lowenbrau and Paulaner were two brands that I recognized as U.S. imports but there were many others - all Bavarian brews. I always assumed Oktoberfest was a national event but it was only for Bavarian brewers. Many had been brewing beer for more than 500 years. Wooden kegs were delivered to many of the tents by horse-drawn wagons.

Paulaner horses
Teams of neatly groomed work-horses were proudly decked out in polished silver trim, trademark medallions, and colorful flowers.

 

Manuela had acquired promotional tickets for the three of us. The green one was for a meal (10 Euros) and the yellow for a beer (8 Euros). We took an outside table at the Armbrustschutzenzelt tent and cashed them in. A waitress brought us each a hefty one-liter stein of Paulaner beer and a fine chicken dinner, complete with pretzel-like bread. The air was chilly but warmed quickly as the sun appeared on and off from high clouds.

 

During our second beer, an elderly couple at a table behind us recognized Walter. He had worked for them at a flower shop thirty years ago and they recognized his high-pitched voice and laugh.

Riding the Frisbee
While he ordered another beer and reminisced with the old friends, Manuela and I set off to explore the other half of the grounds which contained a wide assortment of amusement park rides. After six rounds (one ride) on the high Ferris-wheel to get photos, she wanted to ride the Frisbee, a spinning, swinging contraption that indeed felt like an out of control frisbee. After that we were ready for more beer and returned to our beer garden. Walter was in a heated discussion with someone from Singapore. Others from Italy and Norway joined in. German beer tables were the place to speak one's mind on any subject and in the end, all were best of friends. Sometime after sunset, we all staggered back to the Frisbee for a night ride. From there, everything appeared a more brilliant, colorful blur.

 

mcphistino says:
Very nice pictures, you can believe me, I've seen many of the O'fest, but yours are extraordinary!!!
Posted on: Oct 29, 2009
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Oktoberfest T-shirt
Oktoberfest T-shirt
With Manuela
With Manuela
Oktoberfest 2009
Oktoberfest 2009
Paulaner horses
Paulaner horses
Riding the Frisbee
Riding the Frisbee
The Frisbee
The Frisbee
Oktoberfest crowds
Oktoberfest crowds
Paulaner horse
Paulaner horse
One of the rides
One of the rides
Another ride
Another ride
Chocolate vender
Chocolate vender
Palm reading
Palm reading
Inside a beer tent
Inside a beer tent
Cheers!
Cheers!
Munich
Munich
Oktoberfest partiers
Oktoberfest partiers
Bring it on!
Bring it on!
Heading home
Heading home
The park at night
The park at night
Munich
photo by: AleksandraEa