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Entries about munich

Ein Prosit Zum (A Toast To) Oktoberfest!

sunny 18 °C
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The traditional drinking song of Oktoberfest which is played every 20 minutes all day, every day:
"Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit.

English translation of Ein Prosit:
"A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times
A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times.

Foodie moment

Oktoberfest is known a lot more for its beer than its food, but saying that, there is plenty of traditional Bavarian food available at the fest (for a hefty fee). Each tent not only serves beer, but also have hot food available too. However it is common knowledge that people under the influence of beer tend to forget about eating until it is too late. That is where the pretzel girls come in handy. Every few minutes a girl dressed in a Dirndl (traditional dress) comes walking by with a basket full of pretzels, jolting your memory back into gear, reminding you of your need to eat. To say that I had a couple of pretzels during my drinking sessions at the fest would be an understatement.


Cultural moment

Being at Oktoberfest is simply an awesome experience, one that is enhanced by that fact the nearly every single person is dressed for the occasion in the traditional costumes. These are the Dirndl (a colourful dresses with apron) for women and the Lederhosen (leather overalls) for men. It was fantastic to see that everyone puts in the effort and gets dressed up, making the whole experience a giant dress up party. The one time we went for a short drink without costumes (because we came directly from a day at Dachau) we felt excluded, so we were really happy that we had our costumes for the majority of our time spent there. There are thousands and thousands of costumes available in the city (not cheap, some starting at around 100 euros each!) which really encourages people to get into the occasion and join in the fun. If we ever have a dress up party at home, we at least have some costumes to wear again!


Wow moment

Imagine a place that is half fairground, half beer festival. A place where everyone is in dressed in bright colours, and some of the best beer in the world is served table at a time in one litre glasses. Where total strangers become best friends, singing and 'prosting' on long wooden tables. A place where women wear curve enhancing dresses, and men dress in leather. A place where the smell of pretzels and roast chicken are permanently in the air. It is the place of dreams, and this place is Oktoberfest in Munich.


What can I say! It was everything that I had heard it would be and was looking forward to. I have always wanted to go ever since I saw the huge tents full of thousand of people having a great time on a TV documentary. Now we were finally here! The event is held on grounds that have 2 identifiable sections; the main street with the drinking tents (14 large tents that hold 1000s of people each at a time) and the fair ground section with rides and roller coasters. We spent most of our time in the beer tents, our favourite being the Augustiner-Festhalle. It was the first tent we went to on the first day and we were very lucky to get into it only because of Lisa's genius idea...


We had just missed out on getting into the Schottenhamel tent after lining up for hours in the morning and we had nowhere else to go, because by that stage everything else was full and you will only get served beer if you are sitting at a table in a tent. So Lisa came up with the genius idea to follow a group of local girls that ended up walking around the back of the Augustiner tent and into the back entrance after the front was closed. We got in against all odds and were greeted by a lovely fraulein (beer waitresses that can carry over 20 steins at a time!) that somehow found us 2 seats on a table where we made friends with 2 New Zealanders and 2 Chicagoans and 3 slightly strange Germans. We still had to wait 1 1/2 hours before the beer taps started flowing however, because no beer is allowed to be served until the mayor comes and taps the first keg at 12pm. Once the rocket exploded overhead symbolising the opening of the fest and the brass band did a lap of honour inside the tent, the beer began to flow.


Over the next 3 days that we visited we drank an average of 4 litres of beer each, our best being 5 litres each over a whole day, enough to put us in a jolly old mood, join in with everyone singing and dancing on the tables and chairs and make friends with total strangers. We visited 4 tents total; Augustiner, Schottenhamel, Löwenbräu and Hofbräu. It was a fantastic experience overall and would love to go again!


What we learnt today

After a few days at Oktoberfest there is one thing that we all agreed with, there is no possible way that an event of that scale and with that much alcohol could be successfully run in either Australia or the UK. The drinking culture here is completely different. Drinking is not seen simply as a means to get drunk, but enjoyed for other reasons; being social, excuses to eat good food and the great music and atmosphere found in the beer halls. During our time there we saw very little violence, couples arguing or people being sick, and considering the number of people there and the volume of alcohol drunk, that is quite amazing! I don't have the same faith in my fellow country-people to handle their booze in the same way!


Speaking of the beers, there are 2 sizes in Germany; "One" and "Half". One being 1 litre and half being half a litre. It is not uncommon for the local experts to knock down 10 or more litres of beer in one sitting and continuous visitations to the same beer hall every week over 3 years will earn you a permanent place as a VIP with your picture on the wall and your very own special beer stein locked away waiting for you. Miss one week though, and unfortunately you're back to square one in your quest for beer drinking immortality.


Posted by travellinglise 04:56 Archived in Germany Tagged munich oktoberfest Comments (4)

Munchin' in München (Munich)

overcast 15 °C
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"Of one thing there is no doubt: if Paris makes demands of the heart, then Munich makes demands of the stomach" - Rachael Johnson

Foodie moment

At our walking tour guide's recommendation we decided to have dinner at the Augustiner am Platzl restaurant in the city centre. All of the beer houses only serve one brand of beer (this one serving Augustiner beer), and each names their resturant after the beer they serve. This means you have to be careful you find the right restaurant (and give the correct full name if meeting someone there!) or you could end up at any of dozens of 'Augustiner' restaurants around the city. Being a few days before the start of Oktoberfest the place was packed and we had almost given up on the idea of finding a table before I spotted one hidden in a corner and dived on it. The quality of the food was fantastic (as always meat and potato heavy) and the servings huge. We had the Pork Knuckle cooked 2 ways (roasted and pickled) and 1/4 Roast Duck (If that is the size of a quarter duck then I'm scared of the size of German ducks!). Washed down with a couple of half litre glasses of beer we literally rolled out of the place after, Food coma!


Cultural moment

When you think of Germany, its unfortunately impossible to not think of the World Wars. However, the city of Munich shows very few traces of that terrible time. There are little to no memorials to do with the wars, and those that are around are very hard to find and even recognise that they are memorials. There are still traces of Nazi history if you know what your are looking for. Some people criticise them for ignoring the truth and hiding their history, but they say that large recognisable monuments can become touristy features for the wrong reasons and anyone serious about remembering their history will find the ones that are there. For example, our guide had to point out one piece known as the Golden Path, which is a small path of golden bricks in Viscardigasse street. You wouldn't know it if you were standing on it, but it represents the alternative route that some citizens walked to avoid having to heil a monitored Nazi swastika sign that was on the main corner up ahead. Eventually Viscardigasse street was guarded by a Gestapo guard, and notes would be taken about citizens who walked down it. If you were caught not saluting the Swastika as you passed or intentionally avoiding passing it, you would be punished. This could include being sent to a concentration camp, so taking the street represented by the Golden Path was a incredibly risky choice for those who wanted to maintain a sense of honour and humanity.


Another sombre place, that not everyone would recognise, is the Odeonsplatz. Here on the steps between the 2 lions is where Hitler gave his most recognisable speeches to the masses. It is exactly the same today as it was then, minus all of the Nazi propaganda and symbolism. It was a very strange feeling standing in the same place where Hitler spread his hatred by giving his frightening screaming speeches.


Wow moment

The city centre of Munich is a really nice place to walk around. There are traffic free roads for pedestrians and the main squares (Marienplatz being the largest) are joined together by wide streets packed with shops and restaurants. During our walking tour we got to investigate much of the city. The majority of the city has been rebuilt, due to it being all but flattened by Allied bombings during WWII. Much of this has been done by referencing old photographs taken by the Nazi's (which they took as an alternative to showing any weakness to their public by sandbagging buildings or moving artworks to safe places!). Due to the effort put into rebuilding Munich as it was, it still has an old world feel to it. However, you can still see signs of economic crisis after the war in the way that some of the buildings have been rebuilt, examples being that their bricks and columns have been painted on! Our guide brought to our attention that Germany has only recently in the last few years paid off its debts for WWI, let alone WWII. Lucky for them they have big companies such as BMW which helped bring them out of economic ruin, and actually make Bavaria one of the wealthiest regions in the world.


What we learnt today

In the centre of Marinplatz stands the impressive Old town Hall and in its clock tower is the famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel. We arrived in the square just before noon, and noticing the hoards of tourists standing looking up with cameras at the ready, I instantly followed suit. What followed was only beaten in tediousness by the Astronomical clock in Prague and perhaps the light show in Hong Kong. The music in the Rathaus-Glockenspiel started to play..... nothing happened or moved until about 5 minutes of music has occurred. Finally the characters in the Glockenspiel started to move, some turned slowly (apparently dancing?), some moved joltily from one side to the other (apparently joisting?).. this happened for a another 5 minutes or so. At this point I admit, the magic was not working for me, and my back was killing from bending back to film it, so we gave up and left. Apparently we missed the big finale where some sort of bird comes out and makes a noise... hmmm, I think we'll live with the disapointment missing that!!


Posted by travellinglise 06:45 Archived in Germany Tagged munich Comments (0)

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