A quick trip to Munich

Trip Start Jan 01, 2012
Trip End Aug 15, 2014

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hey Guys,

Ever since my list trip to Munich and more importantly Oktoberfest I have been yearning to go back. When a chance came up at work to go on a fam trip to Munich hosted by Lufthansa, Swiss and Global Hotel Alliance I did nothing short of grovel on hands and knees to bag myself a place.

Lucky for me my begging eventually paid off and before I knew it, it was 3am and I was on my way to Heathrow making small talk with a taxi driver about traffic pattern changes in the UK over the past ten years.

Being the clever travel agent that I am I forgot to actually check which terminal I was flying from and ended up at the wrong end of the airport. At that hour with inter terminal transport closed I did what anyone would have done in my position... I hijacked an out of service private bus and made the poor driver napping in the front seat drive me right to the door of the correct terminal. He was really sweet and seemed like a nice guy but looking back I think he just drove me there to get the crazy raving person off his bus as fast as possible. Either way I was very thankful.

At the terminal I met my hosts for the weekend and fellow travellers before heading to the Business Class lounge for a spot of Bacon and Eggs before the flight. I would love to give you a wonderful in-depth review of the flight but those of you who know me know that I was passed out asleep less than 2 minutes after sitting down. I missed the take-off, and I missed the landing but what I can tell you is that the seats were comfy and the pilot must have been very good because his flying didn't wake me once.

On arriving in Munich we made our way by train to our hotel The Kempinski  Vier jahreszeiten, the hotel itself was gorgeous and it was such a cute touch that all staff were dressed in traditional clothing. We were greeted by the hotel manager decked out in lederhosen and a red gingham shirt. As gorgeous as the outfits were I couldn’t help but imagine that Lederhosen can’t be that comfortable to work in.

What I found interesting was that he said Munich was the one place in Germany where people still wear traditional clothing on a daily basis. At a business meeting it’s likely that half will be in suits and half in Dirndl and Lederhosen and nobody would bat an eyelid, yet turn up like that to a meeting in Berlin and people will assume there is something wrong with you.

The Kempinski prides itself on having a mix of tradition and trend and it this is probably the best way that I can describe it to you. 3D televisions, showers with changing coloured lights yet walls with painted murals depicting early Bavarian art and traditional red carpet patterned with the royal families initials. My room was simply beautiful, I fell in love with the cream colourings off set by deep burgundy accessories and on entering the room I found myself taking a running jump and diving into the soft fluffy duvet and folds of the bed. I could spend an hour raving over just the rainforest shower and its changing lights but I’ll let you off that particular rant.

We had a group lunch at the hotel restaurant which of course I had to be the difficult one by not eating seafood but they made a menu especially for me. Potato and leek soup, veal with gnocchi and the most amazing dessert made from broken up pancakes with plum sauce. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it in my other German posts but the food is always to die for, and just like the other times I’ve been in Germany I was transported to foodie heaven.

I had a bit of free time so went for a wander in the local area to see the sites, I made brief stop at the famous Hofbrauhaus and did a bit of shopping.

At 5 the group headed to the beer fest. Walking in my senses were so overwhelmed by everything going on around me, the smell of Sausage from the street stand, the screams of delighted ride goers, and the overwhelming site of so many people in costume. 

There is something so magical about Oktoberfest, it’s like Disneyland or the fair for grownups. It’s not just the beer but the whole fun fair atmosphere and despite being alcohol themed it has sections aimed for families and keeping the kids entertained.

Our hosts had booked a table at the Loewenbrau tent and when I say tent what I really mean is a permanent structure that holds 10000 people at any one time. We had vouchers provided for drinks and food and the delivery of the first round of drinks marked the start of the evening. It would be impossible not to enjoy the experience with a live band and music that took me straight back to my childhood and memories of my father’s band.

I think it took a sum total of about 20 minutes before we were all standing on the table swaying in unison and joining in with the songs. To me it seems that the White Stripes song Seven Nation Army is the official Oktoberfest theme song. Both this time and the last time I was there every ten minutes or so someone would start yelling the tune and in no time there would be 9999 others joining in and stomping the beat out on the table tops.

As for the beer, well it went down quite nicely I have to say. My only negative about the whole event was that very quickly I developed a beer claw from the weight of lifting the steins. I would put the glass down and my hand would still be stuck in glass holding position and bright red.

I met some really nice people while there, the table next to ours was a bunch of nice German men who I practised my German with. The thing that seemed crazy to me was that they had driven 160 kms to get there and were driving back the same night as they had work in the morning. They mocked me for my Swiss accent and decided to tutor me in German food. They kept sharing all their food with me wanting to teach me about German culture.

Before I knew it 5 hours had flown by and it was closing time. Our group left but the problem was that with so many thousands of people all flooding out at the same time I soon found myself separated from my group. I took a train to the stop closest to the hotel which was fine however without a map or even a street name to find the hotel I soon found myself asking passers-by for directions. Whilst this would have worked had they pointed me in the right direction it turned out they weren’t locals and sent me on what was to be the start of a scenic night walking tour of Munich.

I wandered around for the best part of an hour and a half; I wasn’t panicked at all and was enjoying seeing all the landmarks lit up by night. I knew the hotel was no more than ten minutes away but just couldn’t quite seem to find it, I figured If I kept walking I would come across it eventually.

 I got a call from the hotel manager in a panic because he had lost everyone from the group. So between us with me reading off street names and him with a map trying to find where I was describing he eventually came to find me in a limo and rescue me…oops.

The next morning was free time and for me that meant maximising and making the most of the lovely hotel room. We ended the morning with a group breakfast and trading war stories from the night before. Whilst I was the only one who had to be rescued by limo I was relieved to hear I wasn’t the only one lost and at least unlike some of the others I wasn’t thrown out of a cab for drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Breakfast was just as if not more amazing than the lunch the day before; it consisted more of a 2 hour eating session than a single meal. It also signified the end of the trip and marked the start of our journey back to England.

It may have only been one day away but I had so much fun and gained so many memories that I will carry with me for life. I thought the first time I went to Oktoberfest it was a once in lifetime experience, and I felt so blessed to be able to go a second time. I am so thankful for being given the opportunity to go back again and also to the hotel manager for caring enough to personally come search for me in the wee hours of the morning.

And so dear readers, until next time.

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