More than just Oktoberfest
10.04.2012 - 10.07.2012 75 °F
We met up with Emily and Stephan (who we met in Singapore back in January) for a traditional Bavarian meal. It was nice to hear how the locals still love Oktoberfest and its traditions. This made us really excited for the festivities to begin! The vibe was incredible, it was a blend of families, bachelor and bachelorette parties, old dressed up German couples walking hand in hand, and of course drunk tourists. It is unbelievable how many people attend and how large of a space Oktoberfest really is. There were carnival rides, games, ½ meter long wursts (see below fight to finish the wurst), humongous pretzels (see kid in below picture), people watching and much more.
Even during the day, the infamous Oktoberfest beer tents were packed full and it was clear that getting into one of them was going to be a challenge. Lucky for us we were with our German speaking friends from Switzerland (David and Karin). Dressed in her Dirndl (female lederhosen) Karin miraculously convinced a security guard to let the four of us into not one, but two different tents! One was a small hip tent set up with a kitchen while the other was the Spatenbrau tent, a classic beer hall that we snuck in through the side door.
Even on a regular day, the city of Munich is filled with amazingly large Brauhaus beer halls. The Hopbanhaus is the largest in Munich, and the upstairs hall seats up to 8,000 people (note: is this was in the USA, this would be THE place for our wedding)! Here is Kevin in the VIP section:
The city streets are packed with people wondering through Marion Platz into old cathedrals and window shopping. Although it was tempting to buy a stein and some lederhosen, we opted for the less main stream ‘wurstsalat,’ which could arguably be the worst salad we’ve ever had.
On a more ‘sober’ note, the first concentration camp in Germany was built just outside of Munich in Dauchau. To say it was a chilling experience would be an understatement. It is one thing to go to a museum, read stories and see pictures, but it is quite a different experience to walk around the camp, step into the barracks that housed thousands of prisoners, and walk through what was once the Verbrennungsraum (incinerator room) and the Hinrichtungsstätte (execution site).