Munich - Beer

Trip Start Sep 22, 2006
Trip End Sep 25, 2006

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Friday, September 22, 2006

We're here! I should probably call it Oktoberfest, because that's the correct name and German people don't know what you're talking about it if you call it Beerfest.

Arrived Friday night on a cheap flight from Standstead. I like Stanstead, it is nicer than Gatwick for some reason but not as big as Heathrow of course. Trudie went to town at the juice bar and also picked up some muffins. Blueberry and chocolate and double chocolate. Mmmm, I liked the double chocolate best. We all played our games at the airport which in retrospect does seem a little geeky. Oh well, geek is the new chic!
The fun continued on the plane, Spencer and I played Grand Theft Auto on our PSPs. It probably wasn't a good look when I'm shouting "Grab the gun" and "Hijack it, hijack!", it was fun.
The flight was pretty short and we arrived before long. We queued up and moved along quickly to the immigration counters. Spencer came with us in the non-EU queue, which was busier due to the number of Antipodeans arriving. We went through first and then Spencer and Christine. Hold on they are asking Spencer questions. They tell him that he must have a VISA to get in. Grinning Spencer pulls out the Mastercard and hands it over. The border police are not happy. They are gagging to get out to Oktoberfest and haven't had a beer since lunchtime (it is 1pm). Spencer pleads with them in his best German, "please sir, vil you please let me in, I like Germany - it number one". No avail, they just give each other a knowing look and say in unison, "cavity search".
At this point Spencer is crapping himself, though pleased that he had used that self-enema kit he got for Christmas just last weekend. He was sure that it couldn't be too bad when his bowel was spick and span, how wrong could he be. They took him and Christine away to a small room. Trudie wanted to watch but apparently the room wasn't big enough for the 4 of us (yeah right). Several hours later Christine came to visit us. We had texted her previously to say that since they were having fun we felt left out and were going to start our own beerfest outside. When Christine arrived we were on the tables singing "PROST, PROST" The whole situation had upset Christine greatly, Spencer had a sore anus and they weren't going to let him into the country! Oh man, damn Germans! Spencer even tried to bribe them with beer, but it was in vain. They couldn't be bought that easily, it would have taken beer and pretzels - little did Spencer know.
We managed to talk Christine into staying with us to Prost some more but she soon remembered that Spencer was still upstairs in the stirrups. She left to rescue him and ascertain what his future would hold. The border police had done another cavity search and Spencer was looking a little ragged. They were holding him in fluffy handcuffs and had a blond wig on him. Christine's womens intuition told her this wasn't normal but she never listened to that intuition anyway. He was to be hog-tied and sent back to the UK in the hold of a cargo plane that was to stop-off for refueling on the the way to the Arctic. Spencer's biggest worry was that they wouldn't let him off in London and he wouldn't be able to get the gag out of his mouth to yell for help. The cargo plane wasn't to leave for another 2 hours so Christine said goodbye and kissed him passionately.
The three of us left the airport somewhat unhappy but like the border police gagging for a beer. We the train into the city but not before running in the Katie and Phil at the train station. They had been hitting the booze hard on the plane and Phil was close to vomiting and Katie wasn't looking crash-hot herself. The train we caught wasn't the quickest one available but suitable. Phil needed to sit down after getting his head jammed in the door. The German subway trains don't seem to have rubber around the doors and they left a nasty bruise on both sides of his skull. Katie had passed out on the floor. (Hey, I hope you guys don't mind me spilling the beans on this, I know it was a kinda secret and stuff.)
We made it at least 10 stops (though the others will say 2) before I needed a pee, oh my god. I jumped off the train and quickly sorted out a meeting place to catch up with the others. They handed me the essentials; map, ticket, cell phone and a packet of smokes (though I don't smoke and didn't have a lighter either). I raced out the doors and down the platform looking for the black man standing with his legs astride (the international sign of mens toilet). Blackman, blackman, blackman - oh god where is the black... There it is, a door on my left! Yey, I'm saved and not a minute too soon! But it is locked, shit. Next stop the bushes outside and I wasn't alone there was a friend for me. Not that I talked to him, who knows if that is done in Germany. Refreshed after my urination I make my way back up to the platform and jump on the next train. Luckily it seems to be going in the right direction. I double check with some small Germans, children I believe. Destination confirmed I catch up with the others in a few stops.
Katie is feeling a little better but Phil doesn't. We exit the train station in the center of Munich and head in the general direction of our apartment. It takes a while to get there but seems to sober up Phil and Katie considerably. The day is pleasant, Autumn hasn't begun in Munich. I admire the clean streets and European history. Many of the buildings seem to be rather intact and I wonder about the effect of WWII on the small city.
We check-in to the apartment. Spencer has done well finding us such a wonderful place to stay, and just a stones throw from the center of the city! Phil admires the German precision in the apartment (still a little boozed) while I check out the coffee machine. Being a coffee snob it is always a thrill to find a coffee machine in you room (or for that matter anywhere). No time was wasted testing the machine for quality and I have to say the coffee was average but the pod coffee concept is sound and gaining popularity. With still enough hours left in the day, Phil and I head out for some groceries. We take orders from the three girls; chocolate, lollies and a treat too. Yeah, typical - we make our way round the corner to the local supermarket.
The bread is the first thing that appeals to us. Germans love bread and the selection of fine German breads reflects this. We select a small pack of sourdough, though do wonder how it will taste with raspberry jam... We tick off the list as we weave through the narrow isles. I don't mind shopping for food, it is a necessary pleasure. As many people do, I like to enjoy food and grocery shopping is like food foreplay. I'm sure Spencer will agree, though Spencer likes to involve food in the bedroom foreplay also. At least on this trip we won't have any of that carry on. Basket full of goodies and wallets empty we head back to the apartment. The fridge fills up quickly, it is a typically small hotel fridge but the lack of a mini bar allows us to squeeze a little more in. Of course we've bought some beer so we settle down for a few more beers before heading off to bed.

It isn't an early start the next day but we do manage to make it out of bed and dressed with no casualties. Christine woke us up in the night screaming Spencer's name and in the morning we noticed a lettuce by the side of the bed and a jelly baby by her pillow. We didn't say anything.
The walk to the festivities was longer than I expected but rather pleasant. As we got closer it got more exciting. We could see rides from quite far off. Big wheels and crazy spinning rides that I'm sure made best use of the German precision engineering. Once we were amongst it I was dumbstruck and flabbergasted (that kind of sounds German), it was quite amazing. How could I have lived my life fully without coming to Oktoberfest (sorry Spencer, you'll get there next year). The rides, the pretzels, the BEER! I'm afraid to say that for the next few hours things are a blur. A mixture of a vicariously induced adrenalin high and beer vapor left us in a solid stupor. As you can imagine the place was packed full of people, all having fun, riding rides and drinking beer. To my surprise it was more of a family event than I had imagined. The image I always get when people speak of 'beerfest' is like a beer-induced moshpit punctuated by the odd barbecued chicken or tender pork knuckle. Instead it was a family day at the fair with huge tents filled with a hundred thousand people drinking almost half a million litres of beer a day. We eventually decided we should have a few beers, unfortunately it wasn't all that easy. We tried about 3 beer tents before retiring to a small bar. It seems that all the people in the know had arrived early, while we were in bed dreaming of fluffy poodles and gummi bears. The beer tents were full and they were not letting anyone else for love or money, we tried. Trudie had texted Jenny a couple of time during the day and we soon arranged to catch up with them.
Jenny and Chris were both suitably toasted, Jenny especially. She told us that she had hurt her leg and that was why she was having trouble walking, I suspected otherwise. Chris was a little less boozed and his legs seemed to work well. We headed off in the general direction of the City. Chris and I were confronted with a challenge on the way, which we accepted. The ride was called the spinning arms of death. The line wasn't too long (or so we thought) and we lined up. It turned out that the queue was concealed and it took about 20 minutes to get to the end. Chris was really keen on doing the ride naked but I managed to get him to keep his clothes on. As a compromise I agreed to not hold on, so we both did the ride with no hands which no no easy feat. It was an enjoyable if not violent ride. Phil and I had caught a ride earlier in the day however it wasn't quite as violent though a bit more scary.
Next stop was the Hofbrau House. What a great place! Trudie and I had been the year earlier on our Contiki tour, it was a great night that we don't remember but we do have photos! We managed to find a table upstairs but outside. We all order the obligatory Hofbrau beer and browsed the menu. We all made our choices and ended up with sausages, pork knuckles and whole chickens which are the usuals at the Hofbrau House. The Hofbrau House is really just like a big pub in the style of a beer tent. From what I have seen it is popular year round and every night is just as rowdy as the next. The food is always good and tonight wasn't an exception, I was polite enough to help other people finish theirs. The night progressed, Jenny made a recovery and declined once more as we all did. Steins of strong beer take their toll after a while and it wasn't long before we were rowdy as the next table. It was about this time that kiwibird went flying. Now I'll have to give you some history on this and no Kiwis don't usually fly. Trudie has (had) a Kiwi called Kiwibird. It was to be our mascot and the idea was to take it everywhere we went and get photos. Not a very original idea and I'm sure Spencer and Christine will agree as we copied them! Anyway, Chris decided that Kiwis could fly and put it to the test and launch the native ground-dwelling bird off the balcony into the chest of a Italian. Now we all know that Italians have very hairy chests and by the time Trudie, closely followed by several others from our group, had made it to the crash scene it was too late. The chest hair had enveloped and completed engulfed the Kiwibird. Christine attempted a brave but reckless attempt at a rescue. The only result was her fingers getting entangled up in the Italian's voluptuous chest hair for 15 minutes. Kiwibird was a goner, never to be seen again... Chris coped a bit of stick over this, for the rest of the trip and beyond. It turns out that Chris had a bad experience when he went to New Zealand with Jenny last. We don't know the details but know that it involved a Kiwi, Chris and a packet of snifters.
After leaving the Hofbrau House it wasn't long before we were off to bed. I think I may have had some bad sour kraut and ended up worshiping the porcelain throne for a while. After this I lay down for a nap, for some reason it seemed to entertain the others that they were able to make fun of me. Typical, I mean I wouldn't do that to them. I figured that the best idea would be to get some sleep as tomorrow was going to be a long day. We had planned to get up early and secure some primo seats at the Hacker Pschorr tent.

Bright and early the next day we're off! We did the big walk, which was actually quite refreshing. I even managed to get my leg over on the way. The bull didn't mind me giving it a ride and I lasted quite a few seconds before falling off. We met up with Jenny and Chris and eventually the majority of their flatmates too. We grabbed a great table in the Hacker Pschorr tent. Our Fraulein, Nikki, was soon over to take our order. Beers all round of course. The day started off slowly, a few people grabbed pretzels off the pretzel lady for their breakfasts. I'd had breakfast but certainly had room for a giant pretzel also. The pretzels are great and have huge chunks of rock salt. They're real pretzels as you would expect., not fake supermarket ones. We progressed slowly through the morning, gradually becoming one of the noisier tables. Later in the morning a drinking game was launched, a card game with associated penalties for different cards. This was the biggest factor as our progression to be the noisiest table in the tent! Before long everyone knew each other and some people were getting on especially well! Chris met a Russian guy called Boris and they spent a large amount of time having very in-depth conversations. It ended up they were related and Boris' uncle had come to the UK in the 60's with a traveling circus. He was in fact the bearded lady, he managed to pass for a lady with some breasts he had picked up in some voluntary medical trials. But I digress, the day continued on quite well, in fact very well. We all had a fabulous time drinking and... drinking and drinking... and eating too.
Mid-afternoon we bust a move out of the Hacker Pschorr tent and headed elsewhere. Now this is where my memory gets a little vague. I do remember that Chris and I had a ride on a Giant Drop type ride but it was a little lame. I don't remember the name of the beer tent where we went but it wasn't nearly as good as our cheery Hacker tent! We managed to squeeze ourselves into some seats at a couple of tables making friends as we went. We met a few Germans in the traditional lederhosen, surprisingly a girl from Gore and a couple of Aussies. Of course she was the brunt of a few jokes, though it seems she was pretty used to it. She wasn't an avid fan of Havoc nor Newsboy for that matter. Before long a bout of arm wrestling broke out, boys, girls, Germans, Kiwis, Aussies and midgets of an undecided gender - it was all on. The results are a bit fuzzy so lets just say that some people won and some lost but the arm wrestling was the winner on the day.
I just lost the rest of the day, damn computer! I'm not happy, so in summary. We left, lost everyone. Got the best pizza in the world and Christine is making and releasing a tribute song - to be released on CD, DVD and MP3 download. Woke up next day and went home.
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