Some of the aussies that brought about my downfall!

Arriving in Munich after a long drive from Berlin, the city seems like any other.

A pleasant drive down the autobahn at horrendous speeds and allowing the brain to adapt to driving on the opposite side of the road can be tiring.  Sylvia handles most of the operation, her driving skills more up to date then mine.

But rest is in order for Oktobafest begins tomorrow!

Getting there late morning after returning Hertz’s hire car finds the grounds of Oktobafest already infested with tourists and locals alike.

It’s like one of the shows you went to as a kid.  There are rides, show bags, games.  One big difference is the seemingly endless array of massive beer tents. 

Each one is capable of housing many hundreds of people on long wooden benches in front of equally sturdy tables.

Entering a beer tent, or beer hall, is a mission in itself.  Being day one of festivities many are already full to capacity.

Finally making it into one of many tents (the name of which alludes me), there seems to be a sea of people and no spare seats.

The people are all singing and carrying on in a most joyous fashion.  We’re keen to get started!

The waitresses are all moving around, some of which with ten beer steins in their hands! (each stein is solid glass and 1L in size, so surely one and a half to two kilos each, very impressive to watch!)

However, due to their overloaded nature, the waitresses need clear walkways, which in turn means that anyone not in a seat is not served and is quickly ushered away.

The mission to find a seat and subsequently a beer takes nearly two hours in total.  In a beer fest, that seems absurd!

Thankfully, Sylvia is half German and as such can speak the language rather well.  She manages to coerce some locals into letting us occupy some spare seats at their table.

When you finally wrap your lips around that fresh preservative free German beer, you decide that maybe it’s worth the long wait and 10euro cost.

The table I’m seated at is full of Germans, all from Munich, or Munchen.  So that would make them Muncheners..?

Anyway, we swap stories busting through the language barrier over the universal language of a beautiful amber ale.

One asks me if I would like to try a ‘fish roll’. 

‘What’s in it?’ I ask suspiciously.

‘Fish, bread and onion,’ he replies.

I’m up for anything so I say yes, I mean ‘ja’.

Presented to me is a small bread roll with some strings of onion and a large scaly looking fillet of fish.  I sniff it suspiciously.  My new German friend scoffs his down without hesitation, I don’t mean to offend so I follow suit.

Despite appearances, it’s actually quite nice!

Fish roll, numnumnum

It's what you think it is

Sadly after a half hour of enjoying the local hospitality, some other Germans turn up and need our seats.

We thank them for their hospitality and withdraw.

Trying that process all again by mid afternoon is just beyond me, so we retreat to Munich city centre and enjoy a beer in a deserted bar.  This time it takes me thirty seconds to get a beer, a much better result.

My reserve is strong, tomorrow will be better!

Heading in at the same time, I am armed with a secret weapon: Sylvia’s family has a table reserved!

Within a half hour we are seated, beer in hand, smiles on faces.

We try some cross cultural beer stories and all is well for several hours.

I am suckered into old habits unfortunately and find myself at a series of tables occupied by a huge group of aussies. 

Huge novelty hats, bad glasses, loud singing.  Ah I’m home.

Suddenly the world is spinning, apparently there was something in my beer making me dizzy, I can’t seem to stay on my feet.

One lad makes the unfortunate mistake of walking behind a big group of us as we are all standing up and dancing on the benches.  He bumps a few of us over.  I end up a little worse for wear.

Shins: Natures’ way of finding hard blunt objects.

I vaguely remember walking back to my accommodation, falling face first into bed and thinking:

‘oh good, Oktoberfest is over.’

That however is day two of a two week festival.

I had no time to even get a gauge of Munich, the beer fests of all beer fests took up my whole time.

Too much for me, next call, the Czech Republic!