A Stroll through Bavaria

Wow, three days have come and gone in Munich.  It's been awesome being part of Oktoberfest, as well as experiencing all the other traditions and sites of Bavaria.  Let's break it down.

Wednesday afternoon I got into town and rode the tram to my hostel.  Well tent.  The place is litterally several giant tents with about 200 people sleeping in them!  It's pretty cool; they have a bonfire every night, which makes it really easy to meet people.

But enough of that for now.  Oktoberfest!  I was literally at The Tent for about 15 minutes to just check in and put my stuff in my locker, when I found the first group heading down to the festival. I found 5 Swedish guys who just got there as well, so I tagged along with them. They were all blue collar guys who had come down to Munich just for Oktoberfest. (like everyone else except me lol)  As you approached the Theresienwiesen where it's held, there were SWARMS of people. And over half of them were in lederhosen and dirndls. I don't know if I could pull of that look lol. That, and I don't feel like paying €200 - 700 either.  But it was quite a site!

I think one of the Swedish guys put it best when describing the beer tents: "These aren't tents, they're airplane hangars."  Yea, they're pretty huge, with several levels and decks all over.  We didn't really see much of the festival, since it was already 16:30, and even for a Wednesday, tents tend to fill up by then.  After having no luck at the first two tents, we finally got into the Hofbrau tent.  Yea, I know it's the tourist tent, but we were just happy to get served.

Immediately one of the guys ordered a round of 6 Maß for our group.  The beer (and the huge pretzels) were awesome.  We chatted with everyone around us and sung songs.  I didn't get a chance to get up on the table and dance tho lol.  After about 3 or so (about 9-10 pints), I was definitely feeling it.  We ordered some food; I got some wurst to follow in the Bavarian tradition.

Sadly, about that time, I started to fade as the Swedes marched on.  What can I say?  I'm a lightweight lol, and that's a lot of beer for me in 2-3 hours.  I don't quite remember all the happened next (what was it, 21:00?).  All I can say is that I wandered off, got sick, made it to the tram somehow, got to The Tent, took a shower, and passed out in my bed.  It's all kind of a blur.  I woke up around 10 hours later lol freezing cold in the tent.  To all you guys that can drink for a week straight from 11:00 until 23:00, I salute you!  Still, it was great experience and I'll never forget it (there's plenty of pics to go along with it too lol).

The next day (Thursday? yea)  I woke up cold and with a backache.  I may have had a bed in the tent, but it's not much of a mattress lol (MAN, I miss my bed), so no surprise it felt like I just slept on the floor.  I got up and did some emergency laundry lol (my clothes from last night were in bad shape) and had a quick breakfast.  I planned an extra day in Munich just for this reason, since I'd feel like crap and not want to do much for a day.

I made my way down to the train station to find the free tour.  I walked around for about an hour or two before I realized I missed both tours and had to wait.  By now it was lunchtime and I was hot and tired; my breakfast hadn't been much.  Since people have told me American fast food is much better quality in Europe, I caved and tried Burger King, since I also felt like some comfort food.  It was actually really good, especially after a night like that!  I think it was the one thing that day to revive me a little bit, at least enough to give me the strength to find the next free tour.

Turns out I was right around the corner from the Starbucks where it started.  Figures.  The tour lasted for almost 4 hours and the guide was really good.  I think her energy was the only thing that was keeping me awake.  On the tour, I met Layne, who's Canadian and lives near Calgary.  She had been traveling for a few weeks so far and is planning on doing a bus tour next, totaling 8 weeks.  She was off to Berlin next, so I gave her a bunch of advice, since that's been my favorite city so far. 

After the tour, we hung out, got some fruit juice at the local market and grabbed sushi and ice cream.  Apparently, she has been to SF and knows the EXACT same street performer as me, you know, the one who hides behind a branch and jumps out at people to scare them?  I love him!  It's a small world after all.

We parted and I grabbed the tram back.  I was struggling with whether to stick to the museums I planned for Friday or going to Fussen to see the Disney castle.  Once I realized that the train ride was 4 hours round-trip (and I had a train Friday night) I nixed the Fussen plan for the museums.

Back at The Tent, I met all sorts of people around the campfire.  Of course most were drunk, but that made their stories so much more interesting!  Most were from Australia (no surprise).  I'd definitely recommend The Tent for meeting people, although during Oktoberfest it's a little harder since everybody's always wasted and you can't remember anyone.  Still a ton of fun though!  After a couple hours of chit-chat, I grabbed an extra blanket and passed out.

Friday was museum day.  Well, I only made it to one of the two lol.  After checking out and stowing my bag at the train station, I grabbed a S-Bahn to the Deutshes Museum.  According to Wikipedia, it's the largest science and technology museum in the world, and I believe it!  Man, I'm glad the lady at the counter gave me the English map and said to just pick a few exhibits to visit.  Out of the 65 there, I managed to hit 5 or so in a little over 3 hours.  Wow.  It was REALLY interesting.  I spent most of my time in the electricity, energy, and computer sections (of course), but they have SO much stuff, it'd take days to just cover all of an exhibit.  Looking at the exhibits got me thinking about a lot of stuff, like picking up my circuits hobby again, research stuff, and grad schools, so I'm excited to look into that stuff once more when I get back.

After a quick lunch, I headed to Oktoberfest sober (yea it's a crime, sue me) to take better pics lol.  It's Friday, so it's even more packed, and it's not even evening yet!  I can't even imagine what that will be like.  This time, I got a chance to see all the main beer halls and the amusement park part.  I didn't even know there was an amusement park part to it lol.

After baking in the sun taking pics, I found a coffee shop to cool off and catch up on pics, videos, and journal entries :-)  I'm taking it easy for the night (I guess I walked WAY too much yesterday).  I think a good meal will be nice.  I had planned to go to the BMW Museum, which I heard is also awesome, but I think that will wait for my next visit to Germany.

Tomorrow is Paris; I head out on the night train at 22:00, wish me luck!  I have a sleeper, so I'm hoping it's not too bad, although I know we'll be packed in there like sardines.  I'm also a bit confused about my ticket, since I'm no longer using my pass, so we'll see how this goes lol.  I've gotten plenty of warnings about Paris and French, so I think I should brush up on my French (or lack thereof) at some point before I get there.  Oh man, and all the sights, so much to see!  This will definitely be the last push before I'm burned out enough to go home lol.

Alright, time to go and get ready for tomorrow, wish me luck in Paris.

Au revoir!


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