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1982 Munich

Travellers

Paul, Ray, Kev and Mick.

Objective

Visit the Oktoberfest.

Keywords

Oktoberfest, Hippodrome, Spaten, Paulaner, Augustiner, Birdie Song, Deutsches Theater, The Hippodrome, Spaten, Paulaner, Hacker Pschorr, Lowenbrau, Hofbrauhaus, Augustiner, Marzenbier, Malthaser Bierstadt, Englischer Garten, egg bill.

Comments

The trip to the Oktoberfest was with DB travel - the West German national rail network - and was organised with typical efficiency, even so far as sending some deutchmarks to cover the taxi fare from the station to the hotel!

The journey was by train and boat and was to take 24 hours. With travel from Ostende to Munich overnight we had reserved couchettes, only to find the aged carriage supplied with bench seats. Still this did mean we four had a whole 12 - seat compartment. Seeing this sparsely occupied compartment many passengers (To this day, Mick fondly remembers the American girl) joined us for short periods, until turfed out by the ticket inspectors after the frequent stops to remove and add coaches to the train.

Accommodation was at the Deutsches Theater, handily situated near the railway station, the centre of the city and the festival site. The festival site is huge comprising not only the temporary pavilions of the big six Munich brewers but also a large funfair, innumerable food stalls (whole roast pig anyone) and The Hippodrome.

Each beer pavilion seats around 7000 people and when busy almost as many standing as well. The majority of tables are reserved and unless you arrive early you will not get a seat. As they would not always serve you unless you had a seat getting your arse parked became of major importance. The tents open at about 14.00 hours and the only way we found we could get to try some of the beers was by starting then!

Over the week we did manage to try all the six brewers - Spaten, Paulaner, Hacker Pschorr, Lowenbrau, HB (Hofbrauhaus) and Augustiner - beers. The favourite was probably Augustiner, no doubt why their pavilion was filled with locals and was the most difficult to get a seat in. For the Oktoberfest all the brewers produce Marzenbier, brewed in March and kept throughout the summer to serve in autumn. With the ompah band in full swing a lively atmosphere soon develops and becomes infectious as you end up not only singing the bloody ‘Birdie Song’ but doing all the movements as well.

The HB tent seemed to have the largest area of unreserved seating and was why we together with all the Italians, New Zealanders, Australians ended up there each night. Each pavilion had its own private security provided in HB by the firm PIG with the unreserved area in front of the bandstand becoming known as the pigpen. The waiters stopped serving at 10.45 and the beer pavilions were closed and empty by 11.00. How orderly can you get? The only place you could get a drink at the festival site after then was at the Hippodrome, a large pavilion with a circus ring in the middle. One night, having found some precious ringside seats, we were just wondering where Kev had got too when we heard a voice calling our names and there he was going by on a horse. Apparently he had mistakenly thought the ride queue was a queue for beers! When the Hippodrome closed at 01.00, it was all off down to the station for the all day café and ... I have issues with my sexuality!
Of course when visiting Munich it would seem silly not to experience at least a couple of the beer halls.

The Malthaser Bierstadt (Bayerstrasse 5), just around the corner from the hotel, is the Lowenbrau beer hall and with a capacity of 5000 is Munich’s biggest. As a change from the Marzen, the Hell and Dunkel are always on draught. Of more interest was Hofbrauhaus (Platzl 9), the favoured beer hall of Hitler, it still had ironwork swastika’s above the wood panelling. Again Hell and Dunkel are always on draught as well as seasonal offerings.

The trip was not all drinking (although we did go into a bar just for lunch and emerge some 6 hours later having seen off 3 different waiters) and some sightseeing was done! The old city centre around Marienplatz includes the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) with its famous clock and many other historic buildings. Kev had been to Munich before and on his recommendation we visited the Englischer Garten, a large park with a beer garden in the middle. Fortunately Ray had fathomed the S and U bahn system so we were able to get there even after Kev had taken us the wrong way a couple of times.

After 5 days in Munich it was time to go. We settled Kevin’s egg bill, then off down the station for the 24 - hour journey back, but this time with real couchettes.

Created on 01/21/2006 09:11 AM by drinking
Updated on 03/16/2006 08:03 PM by drinking
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