19.09.2016 - 21.09.2016 20 °C
Monday morning - a time to savour our Kellogg's cornflakes. Infinitely better than the bland no-name brand flakes of corn we'd acquired in Norway. A time also to struggle at the basics in life. While shopping at Interspar, we spent an eternity looking for peanut butter. If we had wanted beer or cider or wine or any other alcoholic beverage on our sandwich, that would have been easy. But the ol' edrussbutter was a bit more elusive. We persevered and eventually claimed the last jar available in store. Triumph.
We packed up our pb sangas and our other less important possessions and navigated the ticket-buying-and-bus-catching system with style, getting ourselves to the main station with plenty of time to find the train bound for Munchen.
We found Pat and Belinda at Neuaubing station and were pleased to hear that their train experience had been much less traumatic this time around. We traded Salzburg and Berlin/Leipzig stories while making our way to The Most Floral Apartment Of All Time. Anything that could be floral, was floral. And anything that couldn't be floral was pink. Some items managed to be both. But it wasn't all bad - the landlady had thoughtfully provided non-floral beer in the fridge for us. And we had peanut butter. Small victories.
We settled in and headed into the city to explore, shop, and cringe at the bogan Australian accents that filled the streets. Dinner was at the cleverly named restaurant 'Yum', and then we checked out the Hofbrauhaus (so noisy, and so many mildly unpleasant and unidentifiable smells) before finding another place to sample the local brew. I was mercilessly mocked for ordering a 'small' beer (which would be called a 'pint' in Australia) but that was quickly forgotten as the eclectic music selection distracted everyone from my inadequacies. Some songs were familiar, some were not, most were unexpected (Moscow! Moscow!) but all went down very well with the rowdy crowd at the front of the bar. We enjoyed spotting Oktoberfesters on the train home, and realised that you don't need to speak the language to understand what drunk boys are saying to each other. That kind of banter is universal, it seems.
Tuesday was brewsday - time for us to become Oktoberfesters ourselves. Since we had completely unintentionally booked a trip to München at this time of year, it would have been a shame not to. The girls had braids and the boys had to compare notes on whether jackets were or weren't required, and then we were off. We knew which train station we needed to get to, and then figured we'd check the map to get us to the venue in question. Rookie mistake - map totally unrequired. We simply followed all the dirndl-ed and lederhosen-ed people and made it there in no time. Our first impression on arriving was that it was basically a big version of the Noorat show, with beer halls. Excellent.
Over the course of the day, we managed to get seats (and beers) in three different tents - Ochsenbraterei, Hofbrau Festzelt and Hacker-Festhalle. Visiting mid-week and being there mid-morning probably helped our cause considerably. We sampled pretzels, oxen, kartoffelsalat, potato dumplings, doughnut pretzels, and the undisputed culinary highlight of the day - roast chicken. Soooooooooo good. We relived our childhood on the dodgem cars, provided a critical appraisal of the strong man test techniques, and acquired various stuffed toys through various demonstrations of skill in the sideshow games. Some of us rollercoastered - some of us photographed. We met people from Coburg, and people from Manhattan. We saw varying levels of classiness in the dirndl department, but were happy with our decision not to partake in dirndl wearing for financial reasons and for warmth. It seemed that half of the dirndls we saw were covered by hoodies anyway. And then there's the fact that neither Belinda or I are (or ever will be) the right shape for such things...
Oh and we drank some beer too. Because Oktoberfest, after all. Once we'd had our fill we followed the crowd back to the train station, got ourselves home via a fountain and Bohemian Rhapsody and got some chips and some water. Belinda and I watched Cruel Intentions in German (Ryan Phillippe's German voiceover was terrible, for the record) and the boys went adventuring on their own.
The next day started with a session of comparing photos, videos and quotes from the day before - and I still stand by my claim that the best thing about Oktoberfest is the chicken. And that it is all Simon's fault. And that I love him. Once we had laughed to the point of incredibly sore cheeks, we headed into the Viktualienmarkt and perused the goods on offer, before having a quick lunch in the cellar at Ratskeller and then joining a walking tour with Ben, the Irishman with a striking resemblance to King Ludwig II. We saw the sights and learned the stories of the city, and left feeling incredibly intelligent. We put our newfound intelligence to the test with an escape room, which we smashed out of with 8 minutes to spare. Legends.
From there we found our way to the Englischer Garten, a vast park in the city which gave us our fix of 'green' for the day. It also provided the opportunity for surfers to get their fix on the Eisbach River. We stood and watched the river surfers for ages - Google it and you'll understand why. Eventually hunger and fading light got the better of us and we found our way to a food serving facility, where we had our final prost together. Danke, München.