Before I left for Geneva a couple Fridays ago, my uncle took me and my roommate Kate out for an excellent Sardinian dinner. When we told him we were going to the following weekend for Oktoberfest, he told us:
“I went to Oktoberfest a few years ago, just because I was in Munich on business. And you know, I imagined it was going to be like, halls filled with long tables and buxom women serving overflowing mugs of beer to rowdy people in lederhosen, with a big polka band playing music and people singing…”
He sighed. I saw Kate’s face fall and I felt my heart drop, and I thought to myself, Well, at least there will be SOME beer.
My uncle smiled and continued, “…and it was exactly how I imagined it.”
Truer words were never spoken. Oktoberfest was one huge cliche, such a cliche that it became not a cliche but a fact. When I first saw people in lederhosen and dirndls (the women’s dress) I laughed, but they took themselves so seriously that I soon realized it wasn’t a joke. I’m honestly trying to think of something comparable in the states. I guess it would be like a Miss America pageant, how they all wear kind of weird nineties style bikinis with the sides of the swimsuit bottoms all high on the hips. Or how they all do the weird dance and everyone takes it so seriously. Yeah. Oktoberfest was like the Miss America pageant. Only with lederhosen and beer.
And schnitzelburgers and bratwurst.
We got into Munich by 12-hour-long bus on Friday. We headed for the beer halls around 11:30 or noon, and found our way into Hoffbrau House. Two steins of beer later, Kate and I went on carnival rides, and then headed home to our tent at Wies’N Camp. Eh, “headed home to our tent” is a phrase that implies that our tent was homey. It wasn’t. It was freezing. I’m an experienced camper (not by choice, Mother and Father), but even I was not happy with the tent experience.
Kate woke me up at 5:45 am, crying, and we got up to head to downtown Munich for warmth. After a delicious breakfast, we headed out to the suburbs of Munich to…see a movie. We found an English-speaking movie theater and saw “Eat Pray Love”. And then we went out for Thai food. I’m honestly not sorry, because it was exactly what we needed. It was a little dinner-and-a-movie date.
After our date, we made our way back to the ‘fest. We stopped for a glass of prosecco before entering Lowenbrau House. At first, we tried to actually enter the beer hall. After quickly realizing that this was not a possibility, we found some girls from our campsite at an outside table, and they kindly let us join their party. They were hanging out with about five young married Dutch men who were the absolute greatest people ever. These guys loved talking about their wives, and they made excellent drinking partners. We had such a great day-to-night with these guys. And with that, we had conquered Oktoberfest.
Or at least, Kate did.
The next day was spent in coffee shops waiting for our second 12-hour-long bus ride to commence. At the end of all that (and by “all that”, I mean all that hellish traveling in a bus full of hungover ‘young adults’), we were finally “home” again.
After all that excitement, I’m not sure how this weekend in Rome will compare. I guess we’ll have to make it comparable in some way…