Day 101, 102, 103, 104 & 105
Munich the town of Oktoberfest and so much more was our first stop in Germany. Coming from Amsterdam and Barcelona before this we had experienced a hectic couple of weeks and were beginning to feeling the cost. However as Munich was our last city of the three most pumping weeks of our trip, we decided to give it our all and deal with the consequences after.
From the first minute there we never stopped. We hopped off a 11 hour overnight train, swung past the hostel and headed straight out to the free walking tour. Kurt our American guide was unlike any guide we had followed before. He loved to talk about himself, always slipping in some little snippet about his life and how it has to do with Germany. From what we heard he seemed to have done everything imaginable and was now just relaxing in Munich. Nevertheless he gave a cool tour taking us past the usual churches and towers that every city seemed to have. What stood out for me was the glockenspiel, a massive cuckoo clock with wooden dolls that did a show every couple of hours. Now whilst the show was terrible and the accompanying music even worse (rated the most disappointing attraction in Europe) it was Kurts commentary that made it for me as he gave us a play by play on what every tourist would do as they watched it. He was so accurate it was hilarious. Other things we saw was the four lions of Munich that everybody touches for good luck and the Hofbrau Beer Hall where Hitler had his first unsuccessful uprising.
He also gave us some tips of things we could go see by ourselves including Munich's only wave and a church tower with 307 steps you could climb to see the alps. We ended up doing both and absolutely loved them. Munich's only wave was a really fast flowing river with a rock in the way that created some awesome swell. All day surfers flock there to ride (well attempt) this monster, entertainment for everyone who walks past. The tower gave us a cool view of the city and beyond despite being a bit cloudy. Whilst it was a huge effort to climb, it went quickly as we amused ourselves making sure there were indeed 307 steps.
Knowing what incredible friends we are we couldn't let Azzys birthday pass with no notice. As such we gave him an extended birthday just like Gav, beginning when it began in Sydney and only finishing it off at midnight German time. Starting with Dinner we headed to one of the best beer halls in the city, the Augustinier brewery. It was incredible. People everywhere were singing and playing instruments as we ate massive meals of meat, kraut (cabbage), meat, dumplings and more meat. Of course the beer was flowing too with everyone grabbing a mass (litre beer) and giant pretzel to go with the meal.
To make it a bit special for Az we tried to set a couple things up to make him the centre of attention. Of course, as per usual both seem to backfire but in rather humorous ways. As there was a band inside, well 2 people playing a trombone and tuba, we asked if they wouldn't mind playing happy birthday to our group. They played it which was cool and even played Waltzing Matilda after finding out we were Aussie however once they were finished they quite aggressively asked for a tip. Taken a bit back by the request but understood where were coming from we each chucked a few coins in, expecting them to be happy. Rather they yelled at us saying to rather give him nothing then the few coins we did chucked in. This argument went on for a while, back and forth, not really getting anywhere. Eventually they left, receiving nothing and as they walked away we couldn't help but laugh.
Our second plan was to order dessert for Az without him knowing and do the whole surprise with a cake thing. The closest thing to cake we could find on the menu were blueberry pancakes but they had to be ordered 30 minutes in advance. So we ordered, not expecting the gigantic meal we were about to eat. By the time dessert came, we could tell no one would want to have a bite. Not only did the waiter forget to bring candles but he ended up bringing the completely wrong dish. Arryn was served something that resembled hash browns and some sort of a sauce. All of us attempted to shove it down our throats but we had all eaten to much and were unable to finish. We headed home after the brewery knowing we were waking up early the next morning to hit the tents again but we will get to that soon.
Oktoberfest, the reason we were in Munich was unlike anything we had seen before. We had no idea what to expect but right from the first day we were caught up in it all. After our walking tour we headed towards the tents, conveniently 100m from our place. As we stepped out the door there were people everywhere, lining the streets, all headed to the festival dressed up in Lederhosen and Dirndl (which I absolutely love).
As we got the park we were taken back, this place was huge. It was like the Easter show with beer. There were massive rides, food everywhere, shops, beer tents and as per usual everything was ridiculously expensive. Of the 5 days we were in Munich we ended up spending 3 full days at the festival. They were all so very different and each which was more crazy than the last.
On our first day we headed straight to the beer tents eager to try the Bavarian beer. Whilst at first we struggled to even find a seat in the Paulaner tent, after asking a waitress (well we thought she was a waitress) for a place we were invited back to some German girls table in the beer garden. We drank with them enjoying our first litre of beer and the day just took off from there. After a few more, we headed out with them into the park checking out the incredible rides that were everywhere. Whilst I manned up first and went on the Top Spin, (spinny rollercoaster) all of us had some fun messing around on something called Devils circle. With a rotating platform in the middle of a tent, this ride entailed different groups of people going onto the circle and staying on for as long as they could. It sped up, slowed down and even changed direction just to throw you off. If you managed to deal with that, people threw ropes at you trying to hook you and pull you off. Whilst this may seem easy to some after you had a bit drink it becomes significantly more difficult. We went on several times unable to win, yet it was then we discovered something completely different. For one round only 2 boys were called up and we had no idea why. They were then presented with boxing gloves and began to fight on the circle. I was in love. Immediately Aidan and I stood up and volunteered ourselves for the next round. It would be a decision we would later regret. We got the crap beaten out of us, not only by each other but also from the amount of times we fell from our lack of balance. It was hysterical for everyone however we were sore for many days after that. From there bumper cars were played again and again and again as it is classic that couldn't be beaten. Eventually the girls had to leave and we headed to another beer tent, Hacker Pschorr. This being a very young tent we met stacks of young people and eventually sat down at a tent outside with some German boys. After a beer drinking competition and some fooling around, the beer had gotten the best of us and we headed home having a spectacular first day.
Day 2 started with some massive hangovers but nonetheless we headed back to the festival. We began the day with some rides thinking we might feel better after them if we did them before the tents. Massive rollercoasters and huge drops featured on our agenda as well as of course some more Bumper Cars. After a chill out on the hill overlooking the entire festival we made our way into a different beer garden, the Hofenbrau. Here we met the entire world sitting next to people from Aussie, singing with people from Iceland, chatting up girls from Germany and taking photos with men from China. We spent hours there, doing nothing but having a fantastic time. Giant pretzels were eaten and chicken devoured the only thing from stopping us from staying longer was the lack of money we had on us and thus lack of beer. We headed off quite early that night ready to take a break from beer for a day.
Our final day at the festival came on the Saturday, the busiest day of the week and of course Wazzys birthday. After decorating his bed in a style similar to Gav we headed to tent at 10, a time we thought was early. We were very wrong arriving there only to wait in a line for 3 hours. As we actually wanted to sit inside the tent for the first time we didn't mind waiting a while. We only lost our cool when as we got to the front of the line they closed off the tent. We managed to get inside only after we snuck in using the backdoor of the bathroom. We sat down at a table with some German guys and girls and for the next 5 hours we drank, ate, sang and had a fantastic time. We hadnt truly experienced the feel of the tents until then as we finally got a chance to be in there with the band. By 6 we had experienced enough and decided to make our way out of the Augustiner tent. It was then in the final moments of our Oktoberfest experience that we, as well as our new German friends ventured to a ride we had wanted to ride since we had got there. I don't exactly remember what the name of the game was but it was clearly aimed at the drunk. It was essentially an obstacle course with moving platforms, rotating rooms and roller floors that you had to make your way through. It was hysterical watching each one of us try and get to the end. Water was even involved and many of us walked out quite wet. It was great way to end of our day and indeed our festival experience. We farewelled our new friends, farewelled the beer and sadly farewelled Oktoberfest until next time.
Our last day in Munich was filled with very little and was very much an R&R day for all of us. One thing we did do which ended off the city in awesome way was headed out of town to a small place known as Holzkirchen after being invited there by the friends we had met the day before. We chilled there for hours, being able to experience a side of Germany many other tourists wouldn't. We made good friends with them listening to their band practice and exploring their town. We really hope we can see them again if we swing past Germany on our way to Scandinavia.
That pretty much summed up Munich for us. I will be back next time Im in Europe if not during this trip again.
Off to Berlin.