After having completed what has been dubbed the Japanische Tour, I can now say that I ‘did’ München. Englischen Garten, small shopping jaunt in Odeonsplatz, Deutsches Museum, Oktoberfest, and of course, a pair of the most famous bavarian castles, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Traveling by car rather than the train was a very different experience. For the first time, I was able to see the city in its fully impressive size, something which was lost to me as a tourist by foot. The last time I was there, I made it to the clock tower place of course, but my view being limited in scope, I found some of the surrounding areas somewhat dull. I was therefore astounded by all the incredible buildings, statues and monuments Ã la française, and the expanse and breadth of parklands which can only be noticed when you go straight instead of turning left, and have to prove your mettle as a map reader in a foreign country.
Oktoberfest was exciting. I couldn’t remember which tent was the ‘fun’ one, but I think we finally stumbled in on it in the end. After a stint in Paulaner with three older, rather grim and wrinkly-faced people, we realized that there was not enough action there. So at the risk of losing a table and not finding one again in another tent, we decided to get a bit of fresh air and see the sights (which for me are the kiosks with tourist junk). A t-shirt and some candied peanuts later, we found ourselves in Schaffenhoff.. Schattenhattel.. Schoffenhamer.. uh, the ‘sh’ tent, and what a marvelous sight met our eyes: the tent was packed with people and the whole gaggle of them were standing on the benches, shouting, singing, dancing, with ruddy cheeks and bright eyes. It is rather intimidating having to walk into a place like that when everyone but you has a beer and a place to drink it. Walking through the ranks of drunken revelers, trying to find a small opening and some friendlyish faces, is a daunting task at first. But once you find a spot, you can pretty much take over the table bit by bit, and stay all night. The best part about dancing while drinking is that the unpleasant alcohol buzz wears off, leaving me giddy and able to drink more. And finally, Markus was right: the chicken was absolutely delicious.