#11 Bavaria, Germany: From Salvation to Libation
It had been a smooth and crowded flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam. There were two good movies that distracted me from getting some sleep during the flight. From looking at the 10-day forecast on-line, I anticipated that we would be under dripping gray skies during this whole trip. It was raining when our plane touched down in Amsterdam. We waited for 1 1/2 hours for our continuing flight to Munich. I noticed many flights arriving in Munich airport at the same time, so that the lines at the immigration/customs and baggage claim areas were long. I thought Oktoberfest must be the reason for the crowded airport, but a fellow passenger told me that they’re here for the dog sporting event (apparently a big event in Munich). The ride from the airport to the hotel was short. We were greeted by our tour director and met fellow tourists (2 couples) who were talking about going into the town center for Oktoberfest. With the time change, exhausted from the flight and the long wait at the baggage claim, and having been hit in the head with a luggage from the overhead compartment, I collapsed as soon as I hit the hotel bed. My last conscious thought was about catching the train to Oberammergau. This conscious thought was continued in a dream about the day’s event. I dreamt that my family gathered into small gothic church in Bavaria for my baby’s baptism. When the priest asked, “What name do you give this child?” my husband replied, “ München, in honor of the city that hosts Oktoberfest.” Noooooooo! Thank God, I was awakened by the phone ring. Needless to say, we missed the 6:00pm orientation and pretty much wasted the whole day. So I guess we would have to wait another 10 years to see “The Passion Play at Oberammergau.”
Coaching in Bavaria
By 8:00am the following morning we were on the coach to Prague. Okay, we did not exactly ride the horse-drawn coach along the King’s Road to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle (the castle that inspired Disneyland) as suggested in the book, “1,000 Places…” We were on a very comfortable coach (tour bus) driving through the autobahn. Amid breathtaking scenery, I saw a few high clouds tumbled across the great blue stretch of the morning sky. There are few better settings for a morning drive than the view of the Alps alternating with emerald green valleys and forests.
Our tour director mentioning the fact that she hated Oktoberfest piqued my curiosity. So upon our return to Munich from Austria, we went to Marienplatz, took the underground to Goetheplatz station and walked about 3 blocks and followed the women in Bavarian costumes (Oktoberfest waitresses) to the Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are so huge and filled with shooting galleries, rides and merry-go-rounds, refreshment stands and beer houses - the size of a football stadium. Since I'm not a beer drinker nor into shooting galleries and I hated the crowd, this would probably be my last and only visit to this event. But I'm pretty sure the beer-chugging crowd would enjoy the experience! Prost!