After walking around a bit, we got into the Paulaner beer tent for the main attraction of Oktoberfest – eating, drinking, and carrying on with a thousand of your closest German friends. The atmosphere inside the tent was very much like a wedding reception. Lots of food and drink, a band playing on a platform in the middle of the room, and people standing up on the long benches and tables to sing and dance. Well, maybe it was a little more energetic than most wedding receptions….
The drinking vessel of choice for Oktoberfest beer is the Masskrug – a one-liter monster of a glass mug. Dear readers, I drank a liter of beer from my Masskrug, strictly for reasons of scientific experience.
We also ordered up one of the classic Oktoberfest dishes – Schweinshaxe, which I regret to say translates to grilled ham hock. Yes, the leg of a pig. It was served with knoeldeln, which was a quivering tennis-ball sized serving of potato, somehow pressed into a perfect sphere. It was buttery and delicious.
I bought a couple of the Masskrug to bring home with me, a decision I would regret once or twice because those glasses are heavy. You can see them in my hand in this picture with my SAP friend Sebastian. Note that Sebastian is wearing the lederhosen, and also that the left side of my body might be sagging under the weight of the glasses.
There was one more stop on the Oktoberfest tour for the night – the Weissbier-Carousel, a simply brilliant idea. On the carnival midway, there is a traditional carousel, only with all of the horses removed. In their place is a bar. The carousel now spins very slowly – maybe one circuit every 5-10 minutes – and is full of happy people drinking beer.
Here are my hosts for the evening, Sebastian and Giovanna. We used to work all together in the same department at SAP; we all still work there, now in different areas. Giovanna lives in Munich, and Sebastian lives near Heidelberg, but comes from Bavaria, so this was a homecoming for him.
We also met new friends on the Carousel – a bunch of seriously drunk Austrian guys, who were wearing matching green polo shirts with their first names printed on the back. (You can see a couple of them in the first picture in the sequence below.) One of the guys, Manfred, took a liking to me and my kindergarten-level German. Before I knew it, I ended up getting a hug.
The Oktoberfest starts to shut down for the night around 11:00 p.m., so the Carousel was pretty much the end of the night for us. I headed back to the hotel with plans to meet up with a group of folks for Bavarian breakfast the next morning. More on that next time.
Happy weekend to all!