…That is a translation of a German stein quote, and it describes my experience at Oktoberfest in Munich quite well. Although I spent a total of 2 days in Munich, I managed to acquire a new fondness for beer in large quantities, cross “kiss a European in Europe” off of my bucket list (it was on the cheek, everyone can calm down), see some ladies that I was missing greatly, and most importantly, travel to a new country alone. Margaret, Katie and I arrived in Munich around 10 on Friday evening and travelled thirty minutes to our hotel. We ended up taking a cab and I experienced the complete chaos that is the German Autobahn. Started off on a great foot at almost 200 km an hour!
After spending hours catching up in the hotel, we woke up early to start on our journey to the fairgrounds. Now I feel fine with being blunt because this is my personal blog and therefore my personal opinion, but it became pretty clear that 1) Germans definitely live up to their reputation of being rude and 2) the way their city looks might be why. Breakfast at our nice hotel would have been over 20 euro (no thanks!) and the front desk man said “nothing’s free, only the death.” What does that mean?? The bus was easy to navigate but incredibly difficult to pay for. We didn’t have enough coins (of course the dingy little machine only took coins, and our total was 10 euro for the day for 3 people) so we snuck off the bus and down into the metro. Getting a ticket there was easier, and we were on our way! Sidenote: the amount of alcoholics on public transport was kind of astonishing, not even because it was Oktoberfest. Screaming, rambling, drinking, this doesn’t occur in our buses in Amsterdam!
Oktoberfest was busy even at 9am. We started our day with “frische waffeln,” warm and definitely fresh. Carbo-loading was a good idea because we started drinking at Hofbrauhaus before 10. The weather was cold but we sat outside and ordered our first liters, and then were joined by a huge Italian family that fell in love with us. There were 10 of them, a mixture of fathers, uncles, cousins, sons, and they were insane. They all made shoes for a living and this was their third time at Oktoberfest. Our whole table ended filling up with Italians, and they were all so crazy but fun. They insisted we eat their prosciutto sandwiches, croissants, salami straight from Italy, and they bought us each another liter. They ranged in ages from about thirty to seventy, and we particularly liked the 65 year old “playboy” of the family. Kissed him on the cheek, not even slightly embarrassed to be in their family photo album (most likely). After our grand Italian adventure, we walked around the rest of the fair buying wurst and cinnamon nuts and more beer in a more restaurant-type tent. Every twenty minutes the live band would play the German drinking song, “Prost,” and you have to toast as many people as you can before the song ends. It was so much fun and we met more Germans and, surprise, more Italians. Seeing Oktoberfest was definitely something everyone in Europe should do. There is so much country pride despite the cranky morning we had in the hotel and on the bus. Supposedly in the inside of Hofbrau is where all of the college students are but I was pretty happy we didn’t end up in there, that seems like a giant frat party I don’t care to be a part of. We had a enough of a fratty time with the italian playboys for sure. Another highlight of the day was hearing two American girls ask a German waitress if they “have any other alcohol than beer.” Come on, ladies, no. After a long day of adventuring around the festival and getting back to the hotel, we enjoyed long naps and dinner near where we were staying.
Katie and I explored downtown Munich while Margaret slept more after dinner. I felt so bad saying this, but I missed Amsterdam. The Munich city center was less than eventful, even on a Saturday night, and I realized I am so spoiled to live in a beautiful city, with beautiful surroundings and canals and people. We cut the night short because I had to get up at six AM and was still exhausted from a day of festivities. The Munich countryside on the way to the airport looked surprisingly similar to east Texas. All in all it was a great weekend with some great girls, but I couldn’t help smiling on the train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal. I was going home to my beautiful and happy city. I’m unsure what my future weekends hold, but I know inner-Holland travelling is a must. I’m jealous that Katie and Margaret are planning a lot of travelling for this semester, but my Pitzer friends will be in Europe next semester so I can see them AND more cities. I think I will get to Dublin, Scotland, and Prague before I go home for Christmas. And lordy, that will definitely be enough for now.
I just had my first Dutch test and it went very well. I had a full conversation with Harry, my Dutch friend that goes to Pitzer. I can’t believe how much I understand! I will be speaking so well by the end of spring semester. I’m missing everyone and am trying to get myself together enough to write postcards to my gigantic list of people. I’ll already be attempting to get a huge German stein back to the states in December, but if more souvenirs are desired, let me know!