Oktoberfest and Munich or Müchen

Trip Start Nov 21, 2007
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Friday, September 19, 2008

After dropping off our parents and saying goodbye for a few more weeks, we headed to Munich from Frankfurt to return the rental car and celebrate OKTOBERFEST!  We had to have the car back by noon and we dropped our parents off at 7 am.  It was supposed to be a 4.5 hour drive, but we made it in about 3.5!  Go Autobahn!  Layton had a great time testing the speed a bit, but it was just fun to watch the other cars zoom by us when we were going 85 mph(ok, maybe a bit faster at times).  Crazy!
Saturday, we headed to OKTOBERFEST.  The mecca of all beer festivals.  It was much more like a state fair than we thought it would be.  There were game booths, carnival rides and glutenous foods galore!  Also, lots of locals dress up in traditional drindals and literhosen which was really cool and got everyone in the festival mood.  Saturday morning was pretty calm because they don't serve beer until the mayor taps the first keg at noon and says "let the games begin!"  We watched a parade of horses, traditional marching bands and wagons full of hosts for the festival.  There were loads of people everywhere but was sort of eerily quite and calm comparatively to what we thought it might be...however, by 2 pm that was not the case anymore.  We visited a few tents, met some fun guys from Switzerland, and had some great pork sandwiches before calling it quits!
We did manage to go on another free walking tour on Sunday (the same company we walked with in Berlin) which was great.  These tours just do a great job of condensing history and culture of a city into a four hour walk.  We both left with more understanding of the difference between Munich and Berlin.  Berlin is the capital of the country, but Munich has lots of culture and history too and each has their own way of representing that history.  Munich feels more like a small town with things situated in a very condensed area where as Berlin feels a bit more spread out. 
Some things we learned on the tour:
-         HUGO BOSS was the first designer and creator of the Nazi's uniforms, not something widely publicized today...who knew?
-         the first synagogue was built back in Munich in 2004. 
-         one church's reconstruction was financed solely by the proceeds from the Augustine Beer tent at Oktoberfest.  The public loved this idea SO much that they ran out of beer for the last two days of the festival.
Now for the return to Oktoberfest....we met a great couple in Cesky Kromlov, Czech Republic, the Patek's.  They wanted to come to the festival but did not have a place to stay and it is VERY difficult to find reasonable rooms (i.e. we looked for a dorm room back in July and the cheapest we found was a 40 bed dorm for 60 Euros per person, normal 8-10 bed dorms were 120 Euros per person!!!).  However, Layton was able to get "free" rooms at a Marriott because of his points from Consulting.  So, we invited them to join us.  They came on Monday afternoon and left Wednesday morning.  THANKS Pateks!!!  We had a great time.  We spent a fun night at a table with some locals who taught us the traditional songs and ways of the festival.  It was awesome!  We gorged ourselves with pork sandwiches and wurst at the end of the night, but the fun did not stop there.  We headed back for a midnight snack and birthday cake for Jana at the hotel.  We enjoyed some baby burgers, onion rings, fries and chicken wings at the "American Grill" at the Hotel...YUM!  Paul thought the chocolate bday cake would have been better with some milk, and Jana loved the sparklers that came with it! 
We were not as quick to get up the next morning, but we did make it to have a late lunch before going back to the 'fest.  We eased into it this time...we went to a Floh Circus (flea circus) where they packed us into a small room and literally watched a three act circus.  We watched fleas drag chariots, pull a wagon and kick a soccer ball!  Funny, funny stuff!  Supposedly, this is one of the oldest acts at the festival.  Then, we got on a merry-go-round bar for a few beers and tried to put candles in a beer for Jana with minimal success.  We then went to the Hoffbrah tent for one mass of beer (1 liter mug, ok...  maybe a couple) which is where all the tourist go...it was a party!  We met a few people, but one that stands out is a guy from Russia who was SO nice.  He was so nice Jana did not believe he was Russian.  He showed her his driver's license and then we looked at his family pics on his iPhone!  What a small world! 
We all made it out of Munich and survived Oktoberfest, but warning to anyone going....beware! This festival is something else, especially for us 33 year olds!!
Costs of Oktoberfest are not for the faint of heart:
Mass of Beer (1 Liter mug) = 8.30 euro ($12)
Pretzel (huge ones) = 1.50 - 3.5 euro ($2.25 - 5.00)
Pork sandwich (heaven on earth but still...) = 4.50 euro ($7.00)
Germany calls Munich, Munchen...strange huh?  Supposedly, the old German word for "where Monks live" is something close to Munich, but then it changed in the German language to something like Munchen.  So, somehow we did not evolve with Germany to calling it Munchen.  Weird but true.

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