Oktoberfest is a thing that needs no introduction, of course. You already know the focus is beer (on horses!), traditional Bavarian clothes and lots and lots of sausage stands to keep it all in one piece.
Beer and carnival rides are two things I dearly enjoy, so knowing that I was going to be in Europe anyways Oktoberfest I had already made the painful decision to skip the festival in favor of a quicker trip and saving money. But then, this guy:
Once I found out that Logan (a fraternity brother from back at Centenary) and his wife Katrina were going to be in town, I finally gave myself permission to head up from Vienna and check out this world-famous festival that I’ve always kind of wanted to go to.
Heading into the party is every bit as chaotic as you might have heard, and even showing up at noon on a Sunday it took us a little while to find seats at the Armbrustschutzen (Crossbowmans’) tent.
We managed, finally to eke out a table spot and order three liters of beautiful Paulaner. With two Oktoberbrau and one Alkoholfrei in hand , our little slice of Oktoberfest had begun! (Did I mention Katrina was slightly PREGNANT?! And accomapnied her husband and his fraternity brother to Oktoberfest! Somebody hand me a nomination form for wife of the year!)
At random intervals throughout the afternoon an eruption of sound would sweep over us as someone attempted to chug a liter at a go and the beating of mugs on tables provide the aural encouragement to see them through. To the dismay of our Fratboy pasts, neither Logan nor I ever made the attempt. Eventually, out of a combined desire to try new beers and sample carnie’ foods, we wandered out of the Crossbowmans’ Tent and into the rest of the festival.
The cool thing is, Oktoberfest is not just a big drunken beer festival. I saw entire families wandering around, riding carnival rides, and enjoying the crowds and atmosphere. I even convinced Logan, mildly afraid of heights, to ride the Tower with me!
It was soon, of course, time for another beer. This time, at the Lowenbrau tent, the beer was even better and the crowd even more convivial. (I wonder how much of this has to do with being NOT the first beer we’d had??)
While I wandered around the tent taking photos (am I always that guy?), Logan and Katrina made fast friends with our Bavarian neighbor-at-table who had been through the US some 20 years before. Tales were told, stories traded, and by the time they headed home I was sad to see them go. Even sadder, of course, was when Logan and Katrina had to head back to their hotel a short drive from town so that he could finish preparing for his week or work back in Weisbaden.
So we said goodbye, and I wandered through the carnival a little bit longer just wondering why it had taken me so long to finally make it here. I’ll be back though, I think, and for longer next time. There are 14 tents, after all, and somebody has to find which is best!
Finally, it was time for me to leave as well. Salzburg was calling, and I wasn’t keen to miss a second train on the same Eurotrip!