Munich Travel Blog› entry 20 of 126 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.