Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oktoberfest 2010 Day 1: Follow the Liederhosen! (With Video!)

I'm sorry bloggers and blogesses - I have failed you.


I know that your weeks are practically defined by the next time you can get updated on my life. That your one glimmer of hope each day is to come home from your dull lives to get online, frantically type my URL into your browser on the of chance that I had updated in the time it took for you to close out of Firefox at work to get home onto your personal computer, was absent for a few weeks. Then, after that, I allowed myself to fall behind a full month in events to catch you up on.

For that, I am sorry.

And, by God, I will be blogging like a fiend to catch you up on the three mind-blowing and possibly life-altering experiences that you've missed.

So I've got my work cut out for me, especially because I'm exhausted, each of these will take a gargantuan effort to put up, I might not remember everything, and I haven't written much besides terrible midterm papers for weeks.

So you have that to look forward to.

Up first: visiting the Fatherland during Oktoberfest...


I spent the first two weeks or so of my time in Rome planning out all the places I wanted to go this semester. At one point, the list came it at something like 15 countries (not cities, mind you - countries). Never having been to Europe, I wanted to experience as much as I possibly could, and was pretty open to any and all experiences.

But when I was reminded that Oktoberfest in Germany was not only an easily-reachable destination, but also occurred during the month of October (making it fit quite nicely into a Fall semester abroad), I knew that I had to go.

For a few points of order:

1) While I don't especially like beer now (though I have developed a taste for it as of late, more on that in a bit), I absolutely HATED it going into study abroad. I viewed drinking beer as near-synonymous with drinking not only urine, but a finely crafted, bitter urine that had been fermented in a rotten barrel and likely came from a steady diet of all that is evil in the food world (brussels sprouts, papaya, liver and onions, and anything made by my elementary school cafeteria besides mini corn dogs)

2) There is a lot of beer at Oktoberfest.

Despite these two seemingly contrarian facts, I knew I had to go. I never got to embrace any sort of ethnic culture growing up aside from proud American, and I thought it would be really fun to attach myself to my (very) German genetics, even if only for a weekend. So I grew a manly Oktoberfest beard, hitched up my imaginary liederhosen, and booked a flight and crappy hostel and boarded my late September flight* with high hopes. And my friend Mike.

*Yeah, apparently Oktoberfest also happens in September. I don't understand either. But don't you dare insult my people.

And, in my enthusiasm to document the fact that, yes, I was heading to another country, I took a picture of the first thing in German I saw:

No, not the most exciting of pictures. But don't squash my enthusiasm, you bastards.

Also saw these little bumps from our window:

When we got off our flight, Mike and I continued giggling like the little schoolgirls we are at heart, repeating the phrase "OMG WE'RE IN GERMANY' and attempting to pronounce random German words a good hundred times. Soon we found our way to the train we needed to take to get to Munich, and admired all of the fine German people sitting all around us. Soon, as we approached our destination, these folks got on:

We nearly cried.

Soon, as we closed in on the promised land, we weighed our options. Our original plan had been simply to drop our stuff (consisting of a tightly-packed backpack apiece) off at our hostel and spending the rest of the night doing what we could at the festival. But, we were starving, and Oktoberfest was on the way, ssssoooo....

After randomly running into some people that someone in our group new (already fairly blasted, despite the fact that it was about 3pm at the time), we walked around in a circule with a circumference of about 100 feet, then settled upon a stand to obtain our first of many bratwurst (pronounced, according to my three-page German cheat sheet I printed out before leaving, "ber*phlegm*ATverst")

And oh, what a bratwurst it was.



After having a slew of mouthgasms, we headed to the tram to head to our hostel.

Now, a quick word about our hostel: Mike and I didn't quite realize the extent of unprepared we were. By that I of course mean that we didn't realize that the vast majority of people who attend Oktoberfest and don't live in Munich are, in fact, poor, young, drunk people. And, as I'm sure most of you know, such a crowd tends to not have much money, and what little they had was already set aside for beer and sausage and schnitzel consumption. Therefore, they all want to stay in the cheapest housing available: the hostel. We especially fell under this classification. However, we also fell under another classification: dumb and lazy. Therefore, we didn't start looking for a hostel of our own until two weeks beforehand.

Which is how we came to love "The Tent."

Yup. Sounds like a winner, don't it?

It was, in fact, simply a gigantic tent. Concrete floor, 60 or so bunk beds, some lockers for valuables, and a tent covering it all.

Like, that's it.

But all the workers were really great and helpful (AND SPOKE ENGLISH IN A SWEET GERMAN ACCENT). Plus they catered to pretty much every need one could have.

Fourth one down or so. They sure know their target audience.

We obviously couldn't wait to get back to the festival, so we went to grab some tickets for the tram.



We didn't quite remember if we were getting on the correct tram, so we went by the old adage:

Follow the Liederhosen.

When we got back and got to gaze upon the full glory of Oktoberfest. Which, apparently, also translates to giant-ass carnival full of awesome things.


Now, there will be more pictures of the fantasticness next post (spoiler alert: ROLLER COASTERS), but here, for your viewing pleasure for the second time ever on Soft Nonsense, is a video presentation that sums up (and, really, tells the story better than I ever could) our first evening at Oktoberfest after we found some of our friends:


Cheers indeed.

Then we all went out to explore Munich a bit, saw a sweet castle thing: you do in Europe.

Then I ate pancake soup. you do in Germany.

Then Mike and I headed back to The Tent and was greeted by a giant bonfire filled with happy, drunk Australians. you do in...The Tent...I guess...

And so went Day 1 at Oktoberfest. More to come ASAP.


Quick side note: had a sudden upswing of followers last week, greetings and thanks to all y'all. I'll take that as a hint to update less often.


Pat Tillett said...

isn't that old guy who got on the train, wanted for war crimes?

What is the difference between a condom and a "spongebag?"

Sitting in the rain drinking beer? You have ascended to a higher plane, my friend!

Loved this post!
pancake soup? yak...

Eleni said...

Yeah, I have to say that I kind of hate beer, mostly as you describe it. But I like papaya. How can you put something fruity and benign like papaya in a list of evil foods associated with noxious chemicals (i.e. beer)? :P

But roller coasters and lederhosen sound like fun. And old castles. Berlin, which I went to last year, didn't have that much left that was old. Perhaps Munich has fared better?

Can't wait to hear more of your amazing adventures.

soft nonsense said...

Pat - I'm sure he's done his penance. And I really....don't know.

Eleni - I love almost all fruit, but papaya just doesn't agree with my taste buds, unfortunately. I wondered how you'd feel about such an admission...

Eleni said...

Actually, I think I didn't like papaya very much as a child. Now I can't remember what there is about it not to like. How quickly we forget.

Avocado is the fruit that I have always found most vile. I can tolerate it now...but only if it's in a smoothie with lots of sugar.

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