Octoberfest in Munich!

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Where I stayed
Marc and Andrea's place in Olching

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Greetings from the land of chocolate.    I have waited far too long to visit this country.  I have several ties to Germany.  No....I am not german in anyway shape or form.  But growing up, I had several nannies that came to live with us and take care of my sister, brother and I.  Many of my good friends are also German.  So I thought that this would be a great chance to have some good ol fashion reunions. 
     Before I arrived in Germany,  I sent a message to Andrea and Marc, sister and brother in law to Gunda, one of my first nannies I had, who is also still very close with our family and lives in Bolton.  I asked her if she would mind if I came and stayed with them during my week in Munich for Octoberfest.  They graciously allowed to let me stay with them, which was nice, because I hadn't seen them in quite some time, so it would be a good chance to get caught up.  After arriving at the airport, I had a few hours to kill before Andrea was off work, so I got some sleep on the airport curled up in a corner (since I had been awake for over 24 hours), before making my way to their place in Olching, a 15 min train ride just outside the city.  At first it was a little confusing the trains here.  There are SO MANY places you can get on the trains, and to me....they all see to have weird names.  ICE, U bahn, S bahn, i didn't know what I was doing.  After some assistance, I got my ticket and made my way to the platform with my 30 kilos of backpacks.  It gets a little awkward when getting on busy trains when you are about 4 feet wide, but I managed.  When I finally arrived in Olching, I got off the train.  I was holding on to my train ticket looking for where I would have to give it to someone, or show proof that I paid, but as I  got back out onto the street,  I realized that no where do I have to do this.  The whole German train system works on the "honor system."   Pretty amazing if you think about it considering there is 1.3 million people there.  Everything in Germany was like perfect.  Now when I say this, I don't mean it is the promised land.  I mean everything works exactly the way it should.  Doors don't squeek, hotwater comes from the tap almost instantly, trains run like clockwork....In my head I pictured German guys in white lab coats coming to fix anything that wasn't running the way it should. 
     Andrea showed me around Olching area, and how to get to and from the train station.  Everything I needed was within a 10 min walk.  It looked exactly like what I thought a small Bavarian town would look like.  People riding their bikes everywhere, narrow street, really long names to places that I could not pronounce for the life of me.   One of the first german marvels I was introduced to, was Andrea and Marc's coffee maker.  I swear that this thing is the Mercedes of coffee machines.  I ended up drinking more coffee than I normally would, only because I was having fun using this thing.  Sorry guys if I drank all your coffee.  :)  They even treated me to a traditional bavaria breakfast, which included white sausage, pretzels and some of the best honey mustard I have had EVER!
    After settling in and getting used to my surroundings, I headed into the city to take a walk about and take some pics.  Andrea and Marc equiped me with a map, list of stations to get off at, what to see, they were amazingly helpful in my day to day plannings.  Andrea told me what station to get off the train at for where the festivities were at, and gave me simple directions.....follow the crowds!   I also used couchsurfing to look up if there was going to be any group meets during the massive celebration.  Of course, there was plenty to choose from.  On the opening day of Octoberfest, I walked through the hoards of people to the meeting point set up by one of the couchsurfers.  But when I arrived, I had no idea who I was looking for.  There were thousands of people there.  How the hell was I supposed to know who I was looking for?!  The openinig day parade to officially kick off Octoberfest was beginning, so I made my way to a good vantage point for some picutres.  There were people dressed in every possible outfit you can imagine.  People in lidderhose, beautiful German women in dirndl's, people wearing kilts, arabian galabeas....you name it you got it.  At 12 o'clock, the fireworks went off to signal beer time!  All of the beer tents were packed.  Table upon tables of people waiting with their litre beer glasses.  It didn't take long after the fireworks to already see drunk people walking around.  Walking along a very busy walking path behind some of the beer tents, there was even a girl taking a pee.  I am not talking like she was hiding, I mean she was right on the side of the path, dirndl up around her neck, smoke in hand, drunk as a skunk.  Let's just say that there was nothing left to the imagination.  There is also a big hill behind the tents that you can go and lie down on to sober up, they too were packed quickly.  Some people looked like there were taking a nap, others looked like they were dead to the world.  This...all just 2 hours into the festivites.  What is the night time gonna be like???   On my train ride home everynight from the octoberfest, there was always someone passed out drunk.  One of the nights, a man wearing lidderhose, got off at the same stop as me.  He lived in the same living complex as Andrea and Marc, so I was walking behind him the whole time.  He was like a pinball, walking down the middle of the street, zigzagging from one side of the street to the other.  I swear he walked an extra kilometer than me because he couldn't walk in a straight line if his life depended on it.  I just walked behind with a smile on my face.
    One day I did end up meeting with some couchsurfers.  I messaged a Peruvian girl, Nelly, who was in town to see if she wanted to meet up, because its always fun to have some company when doing new things.  When we finally met at the Bavaria statue, she took me to a beer tent where she introduced me to all of her friends that she had already met.  It was a great time sitting and talking with all these people.  We all had a great connection, and shared a great day together.  Nelly had made a German admirer who played in one of the bands inside the beer tents.  So after a few beers we went inside the tent for the ladies to get up on the platform in the middle of the tent to do some dancing.  It was funny, because Pamela, a girl from Munich, was saying that she has never been up there, so it was fun for all of them.  I ended up meeting Pamela later in the week to give her a computer program to help her with her english, and learned that she is a boxer.  She even had an amateur fight.  Not someone you want to get on her bad side. :)  
   Later in the week, Gunda and her friend Karen were coming to Munich.  They were on a Euro trip and rearranged their schedule to meet me.  I knew it was going to be good fun, always is with her.  When they arrived, we had a beer, and headed into the city.  We found a beer tent, and grabbed a table.  Once the beer started flowing, we made more and more friends.  Our table was on the edge of a busy walk way, so many people would stop and talk with us.  Gunda started grabbing peoples hats, which is a great conversation starter.  Everyone was really cool with it too.  Many people don't sit down either.  Half the time people are standing on the tables, dancing and singing traditional songs.  I wish I knew the words to some of them, maybe this is just an excuse to come back to Munich next year to learn?!  I ended up buying a hat, that made me look like the expedia gnome, but I think it completed my outfit.  On the drunken stumble home, we stopped to take some silly pictures, that I vaguely remember.  All good fun, but with nearly three litres of beer in me... I was done!  
   On my last day in town, I said my goodbyes, sent off my last few emails, and packed.  I was sad to leave Germany.  I was just getting used to everything there.  But this is the life of the road.  Always on the go.  With my heavy backpack, I boarded the train to get to the airport.  Of course, just my luck, the one day I needed to be somewhere at a specific time because of my flight, the trains were having major problems.  The train stopped one stop before where I needed to transfer.  Not understanding a word of what was being said over the PA, I just stood around for 25 mins waiting for another train.  It didn't come.  The platform filled up fast.  I was starting to panic since I had only two hours to make the airport.  I could hardly move through the crowds of people with my heavy pack.  Playing telephone tag with Andrea, she helped me find my way to where the taxis should be.  She also got in the car, and headed to the station I was at to take me to the airport since all the taxis were busy because everyone was looking for alternate transport.  Now I am down to 45 mins before my flight with the airport 30 mins away.  AHHHH!  Long story short, I made the airport 20 mins before my flight, and they wouldn't let me board the plane.  I missed my flight!  I have taken 30 + flights on this trip, and this was the frist one I missed.  I was pissed off, cause it was completely out of my control, and also because I had made Andrea drive around and waste her time.  I booked a flight for the following morning, checked my bag and left it at the airport, and headed back to Olching.  What can you do?  Things like this are bound to happen sooner or later.  The next morning though, I was up LONG before I needed to be at the airport to make sure that this didn't happen again.
      Thank you very much Marc and Andrea for all your help and for letting me stay with you.  I had a blast thanks to you guys. Also thank you to all my new German friends I made in Munich.  It was a blast.  I can easily say that I will be back again someday for another Octoberfest.  And Marc.....sorry for eating all your chocolate.... You can't leave that tasty stuff out and not expect me to eat it!! :)    Next stop on this trip.....Izmir, Turkey.  A city I know absolutly nothing about.  Should be interesting.
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aline on

Belgium (or maybe Suisse as well) is the land of chocolate, not Germany ;-)
hope you're fine!
greetings from cold Belgium

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