Saturday, October 01, 2011

Oktoberfest...we did it 100 percent

I wasn't originally going to do Oktoberfest. Too touristy, I said. Too expensive. I'm too old. Just asking for trouble.. I remember telling Kimberley that if I go, I have to go in with 100 percent enthusiasm! My friends started making plans and I allowed myself to be talked into it. When ever again will I have several friends going to Munich at the same time? We warmed up for Oktoberfest in my German neighborhood in Chicago a few times. We got matching shirts made. We eagerly anticipated this for months. It was all of those things listed above. And more. But hilarious and amazing!

After the marathon, Jen and I did laundry at the most bizarre laundromat I've ever seen. It had a light up panel on the wall telling you which machines were free, and a very fussy man running the laundromat. The three of us had a celebratory beer, then hobbled down the block for a nice outdoor Italian dinner. We were too tired to join the others downtown for the official afterparty.

The next morning we were met by a very hungover and tired other half of our party. We had booked first class seats on the Berlin to Munich train, planning on singing and being borderline rowdy all the way. I pictured us with our arms around some Germans, swaying back and forth, singing Oktoberfest songs. It was the opposite of that. We napped!

SOMEBODY needed several bottles of water. I wonder why?

We arrived in Munich, which was in a celebratory mood. But also smelled of cigarettes, beer, vomit, desperation, regret and cheap cologne.

I took a walk around Munich, then found a quiet square to read and have a coffee. I got hungry and accidentally ate something that looked like a cookie but was really a wall decoration. We met for dinner at the original Hofbrauhaus, which is like a mini Oktoberfest in itself.

Jen practicing lifting some steins:

I had some bratwurst and spaetzle (not pictured). I think we all fell in love with spaetzle on this trip. I ate it as a kid, but never with cheese and onions!

The next morning, after a large breakfast, we headed for the morning shift at Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest goes in two shifts. AM and PM. Many seats are reserved, and you really have to scramble to get group seats together. We were lucky and got a great table at the Spatenhaus. We sang and toasted people at every table nearby. Some Italian guys were sitting at the next table and one of them gave Carrie some flowers.

Pankers and Steph:

The steins were so large, you had to look inside your glass as the tidal wave of beer came at you:

We made friends with a Pretzel guy. I called him Jazz pretzel because he kept doing jazz hands with his pretzel. We cheered every time he came by and waved and cat called to him like he was a celebrity. To us, he was!

I loved this family, all dressed alike. Kids and all!

The band played traditional Oktoberfest songs, and the Austin Powers theme. Every 10 minutes or so, they would play the "ein prosit" song, and everyone sings and prosts.

One of our meals. The food at Oktoberfest was fabulous!

Dave and his cauldron of sausages. Apparently they have to be peeled first, and sliced a certain way. We were doing it all wrong and were corrected by a German. Then we still did it wrong.

Between the AM shift and PM shift, we went to the GIANT amusement park on the Oktoberfest grounds. Oktoberfest is ENORMOUS. Grounds just built for this purpose.

We rode a crazy conveyor belt ride - it went up a steep hill and nobody was able to stand straight up. Carrie did a backwards tumble. It was really funny to watch. Here is me scared to go on another ride!

This was one of the funniest parts of the day, the fun house. You had to put on 3-D glasses and go through an indoor obstacle course. There was a giant METAL drum with hard metal ridges that spun around like a clothes dryer. The idea is that you walk through and might tumble a little bit.

But each of us fell over and tumbled around and around, helplessly. We all have big bruises. I was in the dryer with Kimberley and a little kid that looked like Manny from Modern family. (he is pictured above between K and Donna). I wonder how he felt having two adults thrashing around and almost kicking him in the head? I was also laughing so hard I almost peed. Here is Jen in the dryer, below. I love how two people in traditional German dress are waiting their turn, above. Tumble dry medium!

I love how this kid is just trying to crawl out while Jen is tumbling around and around. They would never have this in the USA. Amusement park rides with metal ridges while people are drinking?! And I was shocked at how many people wear lederhosen to Oktoberfest. I thought it would only be a few people. It was more like 30 percent or more. German outfits everywhere!

Time for some more food!

For the PM shift, we moved to the Hofbrauhaus (not to be confused with the one downtown). What a coincidence, the same Italians sat at the next table. One of the Italian guys was really gross. Actually they all were getting on my nerves. This kid made a lewd gestures to me with his fat little fingers and tongue.

After awhile at the Hofbrauhaus, everyone in the entire hall was standing on the benches and dancing. The energy level in the evening was MUCH more crazy and out of control. They played all kinds of Oktoberfest songs: take me home to the country roat, Hey hey baby (ooh! aa!) I wanna know if you'll be my girl, and of course "Ein Prost" 876,953 times. My arm got sore from Prosting. I swear we had to do it every 15 minutes! I was actually pretty impressed with the Oktoberfest grounds. There were enough bathrooms and they weren't too far away. It was controlled chaos. But chaos for sure. People were bumping and josting eachother while they were dancing on benches.

Below, some young Germans we made friends with. The Italian guys did not like them because they wanted to talk to us, and we were talking to the Germans instead. The Italians actually confronted these guys. "hey we are a trying to a talk to these a girls and you are getting in the way!" Security stepped in. The Germans just left. There were people from all over the world having a crazy time.

While we were dancing, we saw a guy in a Berlin marathon shirt. We all yelled to him and he joined us. He was actually from Chicago. Now we have a new friend, Jeff.

After hours of dancing on benches and getting jostled around, I was bumped and fell. Hard. On my face. We had to go to the official Oktoberfest medical tent. They examined me and took me to the hospital. I was horrified, but my forehead had swelled to an egg sized lump! It was huge. Pankers went with me to the hospital. They took my blood pressure, asked me several questions and just let me rest in a nice comfy bed with a bag of ice. I was very lucky. I didn't break anything or have a concussion. I was so grateful to have Pankers with me. People in the Munich hospital were very nice. Oktoberfest takes care of its patrons. They could have easily just let me go home after the medical tent, but wanted to make absolutely sure I was OK. Total bill, about 22 euros. amazing. And I got a cool hospital band as a souvenier!

Total damage for our group> one ER visit, two make outs, one person got lost for three hours, several hangovers the next day. We had an amazing time. And I never need to do it again! Truly a rite of passage. I gave the marathon my all, then Oktoberfest. Both were tests of endurance.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

The Oktoberfest ride operators were not amused with us.