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Christmas Markets in Munich – 11/2022

Our newest adventure started off in Munich for the Christmas markets. Munich is definitely in the Christmas spirit with gluwein, bratwurst, roasted nuts, crib scene figures for sale, and the stores all decorated for the holidays!  Did I mention that the weather was cold and wet? No snow in sight in the city but we were told the mountains have enough snow for skiing.

Lederhosen and dirndls for the children
Christmas market at Marienplatz in Munich
Food stand at the market at the Residenz, Munich

10/2 – On to Munich and Oktoberfest

THEN it was off to Munich!  We decided to take the train, Deutsche Bahn.  Trains are, after all, more climate conscience and scenic than flying.  We bought the ticket a few months ago and we had a seat reservation from Essen to Munich. 

When you think of Germany, what do you think?  Efficient, great engineering, cars, beer.  You certainly expect the train system to work, right?  Let’s just say, DB did not have a good day on Monday!  Our train arrived in Essen, missing half the scheduled cars (about 8 cars total missing), including the one we had a seat reservation on.  The DB conductor  said, “Sit anywhere”.

“But there are no seats” …

Oh, well”, he shrugged!

We found seats for about 2 hours before two people showed up with reservations in those seats. We gathered up our backpacks and joined the gaggle of people standing in the aisles.  About this time, the train arrived at Frankfurt Airport station; announcements told passengers (in German, of course) to use a different train to Munich and what tracks alternative trains could be found on. 

Mark and I decided to get off the train and see what we could find.  I went to visit the ticket office and managed to find 2 seat reservations on the 2:38 PM train in about an hour. Nope!  The ticket agent discovered that train was cancelled! Like I said, DB was having a bad train day!

We grabbed the next train to Munich with no reservations and managed to find 2 unassigned seats to Munich and chatted with two businessmen – a German and a Belgian.  The German said DB doesn’t do very well in the opinion of Germans. It’s late, equipment problems, rude employees.  If Germany is serious about climate change like they profess, DB needs to get their act together in increase train use and reduce flying and cars!

We arrived in Munich only about 1 hour late so all was well. 

One note … we stayed in a Sheraton Westpark in Munich using points. Great hotel in a convenient location.  For the first time ever in 29 years of visiting Germany, the breakfast breadbasket did not have any German brotchen!  These are yummy crispy rolls and we have NEVER not seen them on the breakfast table.  They’ve been on small B&B tables, brand name hotels, campground bakeries.  What was I supposed to eat my cheese and ham on for breakfast?? 

We’ve had 2 enjoyable days here with friends from University of Iowa, Sam and Josh. Good weather for Oktoberfest, English Gardens, a bit of sightseeing, and visits to 3 tents to compare the differences – Marstall, Spaten, and Hofbrau.
Marstall serves Spaten beer in their test as well as champagne and wine! We opted for beer and pretzels at 11 AM.
We both did some shopping and bought some Bavarian clothes to wear. The dirndl was pretty comfortable but needs a little work done to it when we get home. We are not carrying these around for the rest of the trip. We mailed them home with DHL.
Oxen cooking in the tent
This is one of the oxen being cooked in the Marstall tent. They go through about 97 of them during Oktoberfest, according to last year’s stats.

Jutta showed up on Thursday after work in Munich.  We spent Friday afternoon at Marstall tent enjoying the food and beer.  A table of French guys near us provided the entertainment  as we watched them break 2 glasses (one handle and on big chip out of the top of another one); got told to stop after they danced on the table top – not allowed! They also spilled a glass of beer on the shoes of a Lufthansa flight attendant and she was NOT happy!  She flies to Denver all the time and had just flown back from DC that morning before coming to Oktoberfest.

Mark, Susan and Jutta at the entrance to Oktoberfest. Susan has bright orange shoes on because her other ones fell apart after 20 some years of serving their purpose. Guess I’ll have to do some show shopping in November!
platter of cheese, ham, radishes, pickles on a wooden platter
This was a yummy food platter to go with the beer. No chickens for us this year!

10/2 – First stop – Kettwig, Germany

We had a lovely weekend in Kettwig, Germany, with Jutta who we met in Tanzania in 2017.  She was on our flight from Istanbul to Kilimanjaro, landing at 2 AM, and then in the same hotel before our safaris started.  This was an “0”th birthday and Jutta invited us to her party! We had a great time meeting her friends and celebrating her big day.

Kettwig is on the Ruhr River but was largely undamaged during WWII. Now, it’s a quiet place about 15 km. from Essen where lots of people commute to work.
Window boxes of flowers hanging on slate walls.
First time I’ve ever seen slate used for wall tiles but it’s all over the old town of Kettwig.

10/5 A fun time in Munich

We had so much fun last year in Munich at Oktoberfest that we wanted to go back this year and Bettina from Heidelberg agreed to get the table reservation.  We couldn’t convince anyone else from Fort Collins to come along but Jutta from Essen, Germany, met us there.  (We met Jutta in Tanzania at dinner one night before our safari and kept in touch.)

To reserve a table, you have to reserve the full table of 10. The reservations are free but you have to buy coupons for 2 beers and a chicken for each of 10 people. We were at the Pshorr Braurosl.  Besides us and Jutta, Bettina and Michelle came down from Heidelberg, making 5 at the table.  Four “students” joined us from Cal State – Fullerton.  The “students” are not students any more.  They’ve all graduated and pay their own bills. One has a Mom who works at Fullerton with exchange programs which is where the connection comes in.  I think they had fun!  They danced on the benches, anyway, and enjoyed the chicken and drank the beer.

We’ve already made a reservation at Hotel Uhland for next year for 3 nights.  (It’s cancellable.)  We love this hotel! Susan stayed there in 1982 on a trip to Munich. It’s about 2 blocks to the Oktoberfest entrance, nice people, good breakfast, and a dog to pet. This year we met Eddie, a big fluffy dog who leans to get more pets.

2 girls from Fullerton

The ladies from Fullerton rented dirndls for the event and the guys with them rented liederhosen. None of us knew you could rent the clothes.

One Brit/Irish and two German friends at Oktoberfest

Mark drinking a stein of beer.

Mark drinking a mas of beer backwards. It’s an Oktoberfest thing to do

Hofbrau horses

Each tent has a team of horses pulling wagons full of kegs and they parade around a few times a week – or maybe every day. These are the Hofbrau horses

One night we ended up at the Hofbrau tables outside and it was cold! We sat near the heaters but I wasn’t taking off my coat.

This is the Augustiner wagon near the grounds.

Inside of Marstall tent

Marstall tent at Oktoberfest

If you’re interested in going to Oktoberfest, think about going the first week before it gets crazy; avoid weekends, and book a table for an afternoon session which is 11:30 – 4:30. Afternoons are way calmer and much quieter.  Of course, it helps to have a German speaking person to try to get a table.  If there aren’t many people in your group, you can usually find some seats by just walking in.  We (2 of us) had no trouble finding seats at Marstall tent one afternoon.

Susan with a beer at Marstall

Susan enjoying a wheat beer.

Mark at Marstall tent

Mark at Marstall tent. It’s the newest tent on the grounds and has a horse theme.

After the tent and beer, it was game and ride time! Oktoberfest is like a REALLY big fair with lots of rides, including upside down, spinning rides.  Why anyone wants to ride the upside-down ones after a beer or two is beyond me.  Mark rode two rides with Bettina and Jutta, Mark and Susan rode a small roller coaster.

upside down ride

We did NOT ride this one. This car spins upside down while the whole ride goes around in circles like a ferris wheel.

Ferris wheel

The ferris wheel is one of the tame rides.

Mark and Bettina on a ride after the beer. It’s an old German ride with the goal to be the last person sliding off by resisting centrifugal force.

Mark and I did some sightseeing in Munich before Oktoberfest. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies!

Sandcastle man

This guy was in Marienplatz as a street performer.

On the way back to the Hotel Uhland, Mark asked two guys if they needed directions since the guys stopped at a corner to discuss the map on their phone.  One guy said “This is good. We have an American guy telling two German guys how to find Oktoberfest!”  Yes, they needed directions at the messy intersection.

Oktoberfest sidewalk signs

These signs were stuck on the sidewalks leading from the train station pointing people in the correct direction.  At the end of the day, it’s easy to find the way back to the train station – follow the crowds!

Lowenbrau Lion

The Lowenbrau lion rotates around on top of the tent. You can see how perfect the weather was during the day.

Gluhwein and Friends Heidelberg

We flew Condor from the Seychelles to Frankfurt because that’s the only direct flight to Germany and we really didn’t want to connect through either Istanbul or Dubai. The flights all leave Mahe late at night (10 PM or later), making the connections at 0 Dark 30.

After flying for 10 hours, the Condor flight landed on time and our body had a small weather shock.  It was about 85 F when we left the Seychelles and it was 32 F when we landed in Germany.  What was Mark wearing??  You guessed it – shorts!  One flight attendant looked at him and said, “I hope you have pants packed someplace.”  He did!

Our luggage with all our summer and safari clothes actually showed up and we managed to have some coffee before we met the Lufthansa shuttle to Heidelberg. The room was ready when we showed up at 10 AM and our suitcases with winter clothes (We’d left them in Heidelberg with friends.) were waiting for us! By the time we sorted out dirty clothes and found warm clothes, the snow started. The Christmas markets are pretty magical when everything is white, even if it was wet snow.  When we wandered back to the markets in the evening for some more gluhwein (Susan’s favorite!), the snow stopped and was all melted!

Snowy Heidelberg shopping street

Snowy Heidelberg shopping street

Snow at the Christmas Market in Heidelberg

Snow at the Christmas Market in Heidelberg

Mark melted snow on face in Lowenbrau

Mark has melted snow flakes on his face from all the wet snow. Yes, we were having a dunkel beer to warm up!  And he’s wearing the U. of Iowa scarf to stay warm.

It’s always nice to see familiar faces and this time we enjoyed meals with 2 different sets of German friends.  The first night (after we managed to get our clothes washed!) we met Joachim at Heidelberger Kulturbrauerei for beer and dinner.  The sauerbraten was really good, and the side dishes were enough for all to share.  Their November beer was good even if we drank it in  December!

Christmas wreath

Christmas wreath at Kulturei Brauerei

The second night after a day of shopping for supplies, we met Bettina, Michelle, and Hermann for gluhwein at the Christmas market and dinner at the Zum Güldenen Schaf.  It was a fun night with the gang who’s being so kind to store our suitcases and clothes so we don’t have to take them all with us everywhere!

Christmas market pyramid

This Christmas pyramid was on the main square in Heidelberg. There were at least 5 different market locations in the city, including one with an ice rink.

Drinking gluhwein

We were all trying some Gluhwein. It’s pretty hard to hold the cup with mittens on.

Mark’s version of Oktoberfest

Germans think it’s a good idea to let people shoot fake guns after consuming large quantities of alcohol.

Full Disclosure:

  1. This is Mark’s version of Oktoberfest – I haven’t read Susan’s account. This will be fun to see how we match up on our stories!
  2. Most of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
  3. You will see duplicate photos from Susan’s version – she used mine

Mark’s abridged version of Oktoberfest

Drink, drink, drink, eat a chicken; drink, drink, play carnival games; drink, drink, eat a brat, go to bed

Mark’s full version of Oktoberfest

I knew this day wouldn’t be like any other day in Munich – it was sunny!  We had pretty much a week of cold and damp weather before Thursday when our Oktoberfest reservations rolled around.  Susan and I went over early to the Oktoberfest grounds (no, not to drink) to buy a souvenir stein that our lovely German friends were gracious enough to take back to Heidelberg for us.  We will recover it, along with some clothes we leave in Heidelberg, next summer sometime.  We, along with the girl selling the stein, about had a heart attack, when the opening bell screeched at 10 a.m. to announce that the grounds were officially open!

pschorr brauosl tent

This is the tent we had reservations for in the afternoon.

We had a reservation for 30 people at the Pschorr Braurosl tent.  Due to unforeseen issues, some people couldn’t make it.  We had 22 people at our 3 tables – 15 Americans and 7 Germans.  That meant we had an additional 8 * 2 = 16 beer tickets to use.  We wondered if they would go to waste but any guesses if they went to waste?  We added a couple of extra people the night before at Schneider Weiss, Dan & Debbie from Minnesota, to join us at Oktoberfest.  It was easy to pick them up, we just mentioned beer!  OK, they are friends of Chris and Janet and we knew they’d join us but they were new to our group.

We (the Americans) arrived at the tent at 11:30 and found our table with no problem.  The only issue we ran into that day was our 3 tables were spilt between 2 waitresses.  One waitress had 2 tables and the other waitress had 1 table.  John committed a mortal sin and ordered his first beer from waitress number 1 and his second beer from waitress number 2.  John was summarily berated, spanked, and given a wedgie by waitress #1.  OK, I am a bit foggy on the wedgie.   We were then told to order only from the table where you ordered your first beer. Fear of the wedgie, we didn’t make the same mistake as John.

Our German friends, led by Bettina, made it to the tent around 11:45.  What took them so long?  They had been in the Lowenbrau tent queuing up!  The roar of the Lion was the giveaway they were in the wrong tent.  At 11:30, BTW, the drinking hadn’t started!  Not for us at least, but maybe the Germans started early!?!  If you are keeping score, it’s Americans 1 – Germans 0.

A tent in the afternoon

A tent in the afternoon – not crowded yet

Being the afternoon session, the tent starts off quiet and is not very crowded.  As the afternoon wore on, the tent started to get busier and noisier.  People in our group moved around to different tables so people had a chance to speak with everyone during the session and spend time with each other.  No fights started in the tent, so that was good.

As the session got later in the afternoon, people started ordering their chickens (Remember, you get a ½ chicken with your voucher).  Here’s how they cook all those chickens.  This was one of maybe 6 stations that just cooked chickens.

Chickens cooking

Lots of chickens needed to be roasted.

People also consumed more beer as the day progressed – shocker.  The operation to clean, fill, and serve the beer is impressive.  Again, this was just one of several stations in the tent.

Beer glass washing station

Beer glass washing station – one of at least 5 or 6

Where would we be without the vendors?  People came by, selling pretzels, hats, t-shirts, snuff, and desserts.  At some point Justin decided he need a Chicken hat and, yes, the legs do move!  The hat made it around the table with plenty of photos.  I believe I have a video of people wearing the hat and dancing.  If I find it, I will post it!   Justin also decided that I needed a traditional Bavarian hat, so he bought me a hat.  The hat immediately made me more dashing and I immediately became fluent in German – “Ich kenne diese Leute nicht, sie haben mich einfach gebeten, mit ihnen zu sitzen. Es tat mir leid für sie, also sagte ich ja.”

Hat lady with all her hats

The hat lady sells a variety of hats. (Thanks to Dave S. for the picture.)

Wearing lederhosen

Justin wearing one of the hats.

Thanks, Justin, for the hat.  I got a lot of compliments on the hat.

Franziska (Bettina’s daughter) bought some tobacco snuff and peppermint snuff; as they say, when in Rome….  I tried both and can attest both open your sinuses.  I did have peppermint several more times that day from unknown Germans.

Fast forward to the end of the session … you can guess a lot of beer was consumed during the afternoon.  Justin commented that he knew, now, how all the people we had seen over the last several nights who were passed out, were puking, or were so drunk they could barely stand could reach that state.  He said “if you were at Oktoberfest from beginning to end, you could be pretty drunk”.  Enough said.

Trumpeter on balcony

The trumpeter played from the balcony to signal the end of the session

The trumpeter played his song to conclude the session and at that point people scattered like cockroaches when the light comes on.  We didn’t see most of our group until the next morning.  We aren’t sure what happened.  We ended up with our German friends and going to the carnival part of the Oktoberfest – great!

Here’s the list of games I played and the results (Remember, this is my memory of Oktoberfest).

Strongman Game (think sledgehammer and bell) – 3 attempts

  1. Swing and a miss – I had that hammer cocked over my head for a good 2 minutes (I swear) and the whole time I am thinking “Don’t miss the target. Don’t miss the target. Don’t miss the target – shit!”
  2. Rang that bell – I won a little horn.
  3. Not sure, I swear I hit the bell again.

Shooting game – yep, my comment at the beginning about Germans and shooting after drinking – I had 12 shots.  These guns shoot BB’s, but haven’t they seen Christmas Story and the Red Rider BB gun?

  1. Summary – I hit pieces of the target, but instead of moving on to the next target, I just kept shooting at the same target until it shattered. If you’re confused about why I was confused about the rules of the game,  read the part above about drinking for 5½ hours.  That said, I hit 10 at least parts of 10 of 12, if that counts.

Franziska did the Strongman Game and hit the bell 3 times in a row!  I think she even knocked the bell off on her third try.  Her and her dad, Hermann, blasted most of the targets.  BTW, they showed up later than everyone else to the Pschorr-Braurosl tent so they had an unfair advantage on me.

I’ll give this round to the Germans.  Americans 1 – Germans 1

After games of chance our German friends did some “traditional German rides”.  One was for 2 people where you stood in the cage and tried to get the cage to go in a circle.  They also rode a ride that went in circles; see my FAQ page about vomit-inducing rides.

Mark and Bettina on the traditional German ride

Mark and Bettina on the traditional German ride – slightly out of focus.

I rode one “traditional German” ride. The only way to describe it is spinning top, upside down, without the point.  The object is spin around and try to stay on as long as possible.  The announcer called for people 45 and over to do the ride.  Bettina and I both rode it.  I didn’t win that one, but didn’t vomit either.  So, a win in my book!

Since everyone was getting a bit parched by this time, we all stopped at the Champagne booth to have a glass of bubbly.  At that point our German friends left and we met up with John, Deanna, Hans, his cousin Mark, and Mark’s friends at a wine tent.  The wine tents are much smaller than a beer tent. Weinzelt seats 2,500 people.  We had the table until 8:30 and had a little wine.

Evening in a tent

Spaten tent toward the end of the evening in the middle of the week.

At some point we got separated from Mark and his friends, but found them again at the Spaten tent around 9:00.  Of course, we heard “Sweet Caroline” while we were there.  The Spaten tent was fairly crowded and noisy.  It was fun as we got to meet and talk with new German friends.  We stayed there until it closed at 10:30. I bought a brat on the way back to the hotel and went to bed.

I must give Dave and Justin the award for Best spirit of Oktoberfest!

BTW, no beer tickets went unused.

I want to thank everyone who came to Oktoberfest to celebrate the start of our Around the World adventure.  It means everything to us to have such good friends to celebrate with.  Thank you again!

As Bettina says “same tent, same time next year”.  Are you in!?!

Tips and Tricks for Surviving Oktoberfest in Munich

History of Oktoberfest
You can thank Prince Ludwig for the annual party that hosts more than 6 million visitors a year. It all started when Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s fields”) in honor of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n”. (

Oktoberfest sign

If you have any doubt about where to go, these signs are posted in the U-bahn and S-bahn and along the streets. Follow the signs to Oktoberfest.

grounds welcome sign

Welcome to Oktoberfest!

Afternoon vs. Evening Session
If you have “Ein Prosit” or “Sweet Caroline” running through your head for a few days, that means you attended the afternoon session (Ein Prosit) or the evening session (Sweet Caroline) at Oktoberfest. If you have both running through your head, you probably had too much to drink at Oktoberfest. BTW, the bands don’t play “Ein Prosit” because they like it; they are required to play it every 15-20 minutes to increase the drinking of beer and, hence, the sale of beer. It works!

German band playing at Pschorr Braurosl

The German band playing at Pschorr Braurosl all afternoon.

tent in evening

Evening session in a tent. This is the floor of the tent as seen from a balcony.

Evening in a tent

Another tent toward the end of the evening in the middle of the week.

What is the difference between afternoon session and evening session ?
You could say night and day. ? The afternoon session is what you would expect – calmer, quieter, and plenty of German music. The afternoon session starts at 11:30 a.m. and last until 4:45 p.m. During the afternoon session, it is easier to find a table, especially if you have a large group and no reservation (I will talk about table reservations later). You will see people of all ages in the tent from school children to senior citizens. If you worried that the afternoon session will be like watching paint dry, don’t worry. By 2 PM or so, most people are feeling no pain and singing to the songs regardless whether they know the words or not. We saw one guy toss his lunch at 2 p.m. inside the Lowenbrau tent … sweet!
The evening session is a complete flip from the afternoon. The session starts at 5:00 and last until 10:30 p.m. The tents close at 10:30 p.m. You will hear very few traditional German songs sang during the evening session. You will hear “Ein Prosit” once in a while, but no need to play it, everyone is drinking!!!
Evening sessions can be very difficult to even get into the tent and these tents seat 6,000 – 10,000 people in EACH tent. There are 14 tents in total. They will “close” a tent when it hits capacity. As people leave, others can enter. Trying to find seating for a large group (i.e. >5) is tough. Did I tell that you need a seat to drink a beer? Yep, no seat, no beer. No self-service either.
Tip: Get to the evening session early (e.g. 5) or late (9:00). If the main floor is packed, go upstairs and look for a table. If the weather is good, head outside to the tent’s beer garden. They seat another 3,000 – 5,000 people outside at each tent.  Note: the evening sessions are VERY loud!

A tent in the afternoon

A tent in the afternoon – not crowded yet

Lowenbrau tent panorama

A panorama of the Pshorr-Braurosl tent on Thursday afternoon

Saturday night crowd

The opening night crowd in a tent – more noise and people than one can imagine!

Do I need to pay to go to Oktoberfest or to get into a tent?
No, admission is free for both.

Are there just beer tents on the Oktoberfest grounds?
No, Oktoberfest grounds look like a State Fair. There are food vendors, games of chances, haunted houses and several rides that we termed “vomit inducing rides”. Think spinning around and upside down at high rates of speed.

Can I only get beer at Oktoberfest?
It depends. In a beer tent, only beer is served. There are 2 wine tents located at Oktoberfest where you can get wine and beer. Besides beer or wine, you can get food. Food varies by the tent.

Full liters of beer (1 mas each)

Full liters of beer (1 mas each)

empty glasses

Where did all the beer go?

Is there only one size of beer? What kind of beer can I get?
The beer is only served in a one liter mug. There’s only one kind of beer per tent, a fest beer. Each tent has their own beer.

Can I eat at the tents?
Yes, there are full menus at each tent. You better bone up on your German or have someone in your group who knows German. We never saw an English menu.

What’s about reservations?
Reservations are very hard to get, afternoon or evening session, especially if you are in a large group like us (30 people). Reservations are handled differently by each tent. Requests are submitted via letter, e-mail, etc. The tent(s) will let you know if you got a reservation sometime around May; again, this varies. Check individual tents for specific information. A reservation gets you an assigned table for a specific time and day. When you walk into the tent, you find the row number on your reservation, walk up the row and look for the name of your group at the end of the table.
Tip: Reservations are made by the table size, most common is a table of 8 or 10. You MUST book an entire table.

Does a reservation cost anything?
No. But, you are required to buy a voucher for each person that includes 2 – 1-liters of beer and a chicken.
Tip: If you speak enough German, we understand you can change out the chicken. We don’t, so chicken it was!

Keep reading!

A Thursday of Oktoberfest Fun – and beer!

Oktoberfest seemed to be a success for our gaggle of 21 people – 6 Germans and 15 Americans.  If you don’t know, Oktoberfest is celebrated in Munich every year for 17-20 days and is a large party/fair for everyone who attends.  We had reservations in the Pschorr Braurosl Tent, thanks to hard work by a German friend.  Reservations are free but you must buy food and drink vouchers for 2 beers (Each beer is a liter.) and a half chicken for each person.  You can order other food and “pay as you go”.  Our reservation started at 11:30 AM on Thursday morning and we had the 3 tables until 4:30 PM.  Let’s just say everyone enjoyed the food, drink, company, and German music. I lost count of the number of liters of beer that were consumed by our group.  A few hats were purchased from the vendors, too.

pschorr brauosl tent

This is the tent we had reservations for all afternoon.

Half a chicken and part of a beer – The rest had been consumed!

Coat rack and reserved sign

Everyone hangs coats on the table legs. Reserved signs are on the table after you find the row of your table from your reservation letter.

Keep looking for more pictures.

Oktoberfest fun!

Official logo for 2017

The official logo for Oktoberfest 2017 – steins, tshirts, post cards, magnets.

Oktoberfest sign

If you have any doubt about where to go, these signs are posted in the U-bahn and S-bahn and along the streets. Follow the signs to Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest is not just a time to have a few beers and some food.  Oktoberfest is also a big fair – sort of like the Iowa State Fair without the cows, pigs, and chickens.  The rides included ones that go upside down, up high and around in circles.  No one in our group tried any of them but the lines were long, including people who I’m sure were not really in any condition to spin or turn upside down.

Upside down rocking ride

This ride went upside down and rocked back and forth

Spinning and upside down ride

This ride spun in circles and each car went in circles, too.

Oktoberfest Midway

Midway at night at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest has a post office set up for the event with its own cancellation stamp along with ATM machines since all purchases in the tents are cash only.

Keep on reading for more pictures

A day hike to Andechs Monastery

One day 14 of us took the S-bahn to Herrshing and then walked about 4 miles up to Andechs Monastery for lunch and an Andechs beer.  The monks make the beer – pils or dunkel – and they’ve added a schnapps-making business.

Andechs monastery church

We’ve been there a few times so we know there are 2 different paths to take up (about 1 hour walk) or you can take the city bus #951 that leaves from the train station in Herrsching 2 times an hour and take 10 minutes.  Eleven in the group walked while the other three with colds took the bus.  Naturally, Mark and I picked the hardest route up (We can never remember from year to year whether to go left or right at the sign!) but we had a nice walk up and then we came down the other path.  The walk up does involve 2 very long flights of steps – about 60 in each flight.  We missed the rain and had beer and good food as a reward for our hard work.

Steps to Andechs

The steps we walked up during our hike to Andechs. (Thanks to Stephanie for the picture.)

Monastery Group

Enjoying beer and apfel strudel after we went inside to warm up after lunch on the terrace.

Walking thru the meadow

Two routes to choose from Herrsching and one of them takes you through this meadow

Pork Knuckle and Pretzel

Pork Knuckle and Pretzel for lunch

Andechs beer

Dunkel beer from Andechs

9/14 An “Amazing Race” sort of day

Getting to Frankfurt was no problem from Dulles but when we tried to go to Heidelberg on the Lufthansa Express Bus Shuttle, it was a whole other story – best described as an “Amazing Race” kind of day.  As a preface to the story, we each had 2 suitcases with us – one hard-sided and one rolling duffel bag that we need for the safari and we wanted to go to Heidelberg to leave the duffel bags with friends until it’s time to fly to Tanzania.  Oh, it was POURING down rain in Frankfurt when we landed.

We booked the Lufthansa Heidelberg shuttle in August sometime so we wouldn’t have to manhandle 2 suitcases on the train with a change needed in Mannheim.  We knew exactly where the stop was the last time we did this about 6 weeks ago and we lugged our suitcases up 2 escalators or elevators and across from Arrivals to the train station to the stop.  Alas … a sign was posted that the shuttle pickup location (Wrong location #1) was changed as of September 1 to “P29 by the vending machine” but with no hint as to where P29 could possibly be located in the Frankfurt airport.

We knew the “P” probably indicated a PARKING location so the hunt began!  We asked a Lufthansa employee by the Lufthansa Shuttle desk and she sent us to the bus lot, involving another trek and an elevator ride.  Not there! (Wrong location #2)  We asked a Lufthansa bus driver there for help and his answer was “I get asked all the time and I have no idea.” Back up the elevator and, now, we see a Frankfurt Airport Information phone that Mark picks up and promptly hands to Susan.  After 5 minutes with the Information lady (She tried to send me to wrong locations 1 and 2 and I had to convince her I just needed to know where P29 is.), I finally got a good answer – Go to Arrivals Hall, exit the building, turn left and walk to the end of the building.

Before we manhandled the suitcases on two more escalators, Susan went exploring and found the location, we hoped, went back to Mark and we took our bags to P29. Now there are 2 vending machines to choose from, no signage for Lufthansa Shuttle although there is signage for other shuttles and we had 45 minutes to wait to see if we really found the correct location.  I called the Lufthansa Shuttle number and the guy who answered sounded like he knew what he was talking about and convinced me we are in the right location.  Grabbed sandwiches while we waited and, sure enough, the Heidelberg Lufthansa Shuttle showed up at the closest vending machine that had no cover from the rain. Yes, it’s still pouring down rain.

The driver was from York, England, and explained the whole mess with shuttle locations.  We were the only passengers and he was kind enough to drop us at our Ibis hotel when we got to Heidelberg.  Success at last but I now know how the Amazing Race players feel because we had NO idea – and neither did anyone else – where P29 is.

Frankfurt airport map P29

Where is P29 when you have no map?

After we made it to Heidelberg, we were in need of a shower, nap, food, and a beer in that order. The room wasn’t ready so we settled for food and beer and THEN a nap and a shower, a few hours later.

Kulturei Braueri beer

KulturBrauerei glass of Fest beer

Fountain at Castle in Heidelberg

Fountain in the gardens at Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg and river

View from the castle looking on the Neckar River after a walk in Heidelberg

August 13 – Panic time!

Only 18 days until we leave FC and the to-do list IS getting shorter!  We’ve met with all our important people like the doctor, dentist, and insurance agent; have ordered nice neat crisp U.S. bills to use in a variety of countries; stocked up on Pepto-Bismol and Kirkland brand of Immodium equivalent (MUCH cheaper at Costco) and put together contact information for our families and friends, including where we will NOT have wi-fi connections.  The piles of clothes are all over two bedrooms, the Tanzanian visa is attached to the passports, the Australian ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) has been approved, and the last party scheduled to drink the beer inventory in the house.

On top of all this, we’ve decided to drive up to Alliance, Nebraska to see the Total Solar Eclipse.  We’re soooo close that we couldn’t pass up the chance to sleep in a tent and huddle with the masses to see this event.  What’s one more to-do list?

Mark and I had some fun this summer in Germany and here are some pictures to enjoy.

Bad Wimpfen window box

Not bad for 3 Euros

Monastery outside of Heidelberg

We had a nice walk up the hill to the Stift Neuberg and ate delicious potato soup lunch with a beer. We bought this one at their organic grocery store.

Mark with Kulturerai beer

Matterhorn in a clear sky