Saturday, October 10, 2009

Munich, and our first Oktoberfest!

J and I have had a busy few weeks since my last post. We've been to visit Frankfurt, down to Munich for our first Oktoberfest, and yesterday we received our Household Goods shipment!

I haven't been able to post any of my new pictures until now because for some reason my computer does not want to connect to the LAN (but it likes the wireless fine).

Munich was wonderful! We drove down after German class last Wednesday (about a 4-5 hour drive) and arrived around 8:30. Unfortunately we spent another 45 minutes looking for parking, because the neighborhood that Meghan lives in is within walking distance to Oktoberfest, and it was full to the brim! We finally got lucky, and went to say our hellos.

I hadn't seen Meghan since I came back from Japan in 2005, and then it was only for dinner while we were both passing through Seattle, so it was really great to spend some time with her! We were roommates senior year of college, and had traveled Italy together previously.

We were famished, so we took the dog and walked to a nearby restaurant where I had some delicious German-equivalent of Mac and Cheese: KaseSpatzle with fried onions. YUM and beer, of course.

The next day Meghan and her bf Stefan had to work, so J and I borrowed their bikes and took a short tour of the city!
We saw the town hall, with it's famous Glockenspiele, the pedestrian shopping district, a wonderful spice shop, some traditional gift and Dirndl shops. We also found a yarn shop!

Click any picture to visit the whole Flickr set, I hate how the blog cuts off the right side of the photo!
The Town Hall
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Glockenspiele
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Blooming Artichokes
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The Palace Gardens
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The yarn and spices I bought (hard-to-find Sezschuan Peppercorns, and a Sweinebraten spice mix), and a wedding gift from Meghan of a Bavarian cookbook!
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That evening Meghan and Stefan got all dressed up in their traditional garb and we went to Oktoberfest! I had no idea that everyone dresses up for this! You can tell the tourists by their modern clothes and their stupid Oktoberfest hats. I will definitely be buying myself a Dirndl for next year, one that I can also wear to Renaissance Faires when we get back. J and I rode through it on our bikes that afternoon, before coming back to do some eating and drinking later.

Oktoberfest is now more of an amusement park than anything else. Of course a large section of it is covered in giant beer halls, and there is wonderful food being sold everywhere, but that part is kindof dwarfed by the roller coaster and giant ferris wheel.

Giant animatronic lion on the Lowenbrau tent
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Guys in their Lederhosen, who need to pull up their socks
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Also interesting was that cabled sweaters and vests are traditional as well, and I saw more beautiful sweaters and handknit-looking socks than any knitter could ask for!

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Meghan and Stefan, ready for Oktoberfest!
Meghan and Stefan in their Bavarian garb

Yay! Pretzels, beer, bratwurst and Saurkraut!
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J and I had DELICIOUS roast Ox and potato salad
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And beer, of course!
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Inside the Augustiner (A traditional Munich Brewery) Beer tent
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PROST!
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There was much drinking, eating, and standing on the benches singing along with the band! A good time was had by all :)
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The next day, Meghan and I decided to walk off some of that beer with a nice long walk with the dog through the forest and along the river.
Munich (and most German cities I've visited so far) are nice in that they include many forested parks or other communal natural spaces for people to walk or bike in.
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With their dog, Corina.
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I love this house!
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Our last full day in Munich Meghan, J and I drove down to the beginning of the Alps, where the famous Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castles are. The beautiful flat farmland abruptly ends where the mountains start.
We visited both the lived-in Castle of Hohenschwangau, and Crazy King Ludwig's "Disney Castle" as it's derogatorily known, but we didn't go inside, just hiked around the castles and the surrounding hills and to the lake, before taking a Goldola ride up a nearby mountain to watch the Paragliding/Hanggliding conventioners show off their stuff! They ride the gondola up and then jump right off the side of the mountain to glide over the flat farmland 900 meters below. We were lucky enough to be there the same weekend as Free Flight Tegelberg, the biggest Paragliding festival in Germany!

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You could rent little boats to go on the lake. Gorgeous teal water!
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Unfortunately, Neuschwanstein castle was covered in scaffolding on the best side to view it :(
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Looks kinda like home!
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You can see how it goes from mountains immediately to flat farmland
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I love these hats! They look stupid on me though :(
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Neuschwanstein Castle

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This kind takes off from the ground
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Up we go!
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A Hang Glider ready for takeoff!
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After some cake, coffee, and watching people jump off the cliff for a while, we went back down the mountain and rode the Luge Sled! A tow line drags your sled to the top and you zoom down a twisty, metal luge run! Totally worth the 2 Euro.
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Dusk
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J and I enjoyed capturing a truly phenomenal sunset!
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Dont forget to visit the flickr page to see ALL the photos from this trip! Just click on a picture to be taken to the set.

1 comment:

Javajem said...

Wow - Amazing photos!! I never made it to Neuschwanstein Castle and I have always wanted to see it. Too bad it had scaffolding on the side!

I road one of those luges in Austria and it was so much fun! The setting definitely helps too!! It's so great that you got to see the hang gliders!