Saturday, October 01, 2022

Munich Oktoberfest Accomplished

Today was the big day! I've been wanting to go to Munich Oktoberfest for so many years.

The Mariners are lovable and their stadium is amazing, but they are so, so bad. Great at being good people but just so tragically bad at the game of baseball. They are all excited because they made the playoffs for the first time in TWENTY ONE YEARS. Sweet lord. These people have never even been in attendance of a World Series. It's amazing. I didn't realize how spoiled I've been by the Cardinals all of these years.

I put some ooompa ooompa music on while we put on our Oktoberfest gear.

BOOM. A lot of people know the word lederhosen. It just means literally "leather pants". That's what the boys wear. Lydia's lovely dress is called a dirndl. There's a bodice, a blouse worn under that, a skirt, and an apron. We read differing accounts of which side you tie the apron bow on being a signal of your relationship status. I couldn't find what sort of bow would denote "a couple of bros makin' babies". Relationships sure are complicated. Anyway where was I... oh yeah German clothes. Anyway both outfits are considered folk costumes or tracht. I learned that word quickly as it was in numerous shop windows.

Another word that I learned was Wiesn, which is sort of the slang term for this particular Oktoberfest. This is a shortening of the name of the fairgrounds in which it is held: the Theresienwiese. The name of the site is derived from the name of Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, the wife of Crown Prince Ludwig I. Their wedding took place on a meadow outside the city walls in 1810 ("Wiese" is German for "meadow"), which thereafter was called "Theresienwiese". Since then, the Oktoberfest is celebrated every year to commemorate this event.

Lydia was still pregnant with the troll and so was sleeping hardcore. I was in the unfamiliar position of waking her up in the mornings.

The grounds were walkable from the hotel which was awesome.

Um, make the entire game Bavario and I will buy it.

I was surprised that it was free to enter the grounds. It was very populist to let everyone in.

We were immediately confronted by like a city of giant beer halls. Having no idea what we were doing we just picked one based on the beer brand name that I had heard of: Paulaner.

The inside was amazing but packed and overwhelming. It was unclear if we were supposed to find our own place or ask to be seated or if everything had already been reserved. It was a confusing system. I innocently asked one of the servers if there was any seating available. They handed us off to another person who showed us to a table that was so packed I don't think we would physically fit on the bench. We declined.

They had a machine whose entire purpose seemed to be cleaning beer mugs.

I agree with the Germans: playground swings are fun and there's no reason adults shouldn't still be able to do them.

Well I was a bit discouraged after our first beer hall attempt was a big fail. But we tried again like heroes. This time we picked a smaller, less intimidating one: Münchner Stubn.

This place was a winner. There were seats available and it was much smaller and more chill and manageable. There was a small live band on a balcony that played intermittently.

Bands in all of the tents regularly played this "Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit" song that is pretty much a little toast to encourage you to drink. It is the Nashville "holler and swaller!" of Bavaria. All of the tents seemed to have different vibes, and we were surprised how family oriented this one was. With a Troll in the oven we were noticing these types of things more and thinking that maybe our German beer hall lives aren't coming to an end after all.

To be fair we were here during light time hours. It's entirely possibly that this place descended into Deutschland Mardi Gras after we went home. That being said I thought that pretty much everyone was being very civilized with their gigantic beer mugs. The beer seemed to be completely confined to the beer halls and none was for sale outside. Even inside the beer halls either due to rules or just social norms, no one was walking around with their beer.

This was a good place to slide into the swing of things.

Note the menu has the "welcome to Wiesn!" Wiesn/Theresienwiese/Oktoberfest thing we covered earlier.

I don't read German but I assume the menu said "it's a little bread teepee with a sausage entryway where sauerkraut lives peacefully"

All of the menus had non-alcoholic beer which was very nice because we were still hiding the fact that Lydia had a Troll on board her vessel. We couldn't very well go to Oktoberfest and Lydia not guzzle gallons of beer as it might raise suspicions. Hers came with handy little paper circles on the handle to denote that her bottle rocket was a dud.

This hall was like my safe space and I was sad to leave, but more explorations needed to be explored. What are you going to do?

At one point the weather took a turn which was a bummer because I wanted to see everyone's folksy outfits.

The big lady back there is the personification of Bavaria. She "is the first colossal statue since Classical Antiquity to consist entirely of cast bronze."

While the vast majority of the festival was free admission, there was a mysterious pay gate that led to somewhere presumably even more mysterious. It cost like 3 euro to enter so I couldn't help myself.

I'm glad I did because it was awesome. The place was like antique Oktoberfest. Everything was wooden.

According to tradition Oktoberfest commences with an opening ceremony. Part of this is when the mayor of Munich taps the first beer keg with a big mallet. The idea is to tap the thing with as few swings as possible. The current record is two strikes.

There were some dudes playing barrel organs.

These halls were fun. The music seemed more classic and there was organized dancing which I believe was a first.

This place was like an old timey bowling alley where everything was made of wood. There was a cool rope mechanism the staff used to reset the pins without having to walk over and do it manually.

There were some dudes doing one of those classic knee slapping German dances. I think National Lampoon's European Vacation is the only place I've seen this dance other than today.

There were pretzel girls. God bless them.

Some of the dudes had this weird socks that didn't go all the way down.

99% percent of the beer drinkers were perfectly well behaved, but I did see one push a security guard and then soon after receive a Karate Kid leg sweep resulting with his face down on the asphalt. Achtung!

This was a version of the game where you hit a thing with a hammer to try to hit a bell and win a glorious prize.

We walked back to the apartment but took a detour or two.

I spotted a grocery store and we bought some provisions.

I think I was sad that we didn't get to see the place at night with everything lit up, so we swung back around on a night walk.

We had some late night currywurst and fries at Gute Nacht Wurst.

We stopped for an even later night snack at McDonald's.

Since Lydia has the Troll under her bridge I figure she gets to have all the German McFlurries her little heart desires.

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