Frühlingsfest in Munich: Sweet Caroline Edition

As previously mentioned, I recently took a trip to Europe with my husband and two of our friends.  We flew from Atlanta to Munich on a Thursday night, and then the madness began.

After our red eye flight landed early Friday morning, we dropped off our luggage and set off to kill about 5 hours until check-in.  This was mostly spent drinking (coffee, beer, what have you), eating (pretzels with butter in them, called “Butterring”), and checking our email using the free wifi at the Apple store.  Fun fact: German keyboards do not have the “@” symbol on them.  Try emailing your parents without it.

We made a stop at the famous Hofbrauhaus for a few beers.  Contrary to what I’d read about it, we found a table fairly easily and got what we needed, thanks to a friend that joined us from northern Germany.  I’d like to take this moment to call out the fact that our friend Greg, who is supposedly a small-town midwestern boy, has friends in both Germany AND Paris.  I am suspicious that he may not be who he says he is.

We finally checked into our hotel, which was cozy, to say the least.  This is literally the entire hotel room.  I’ve cropped out nothing.  On the plus side, it was super cheap.

After napping to soften the blow of getting no sleep on an overnight flight, we rallied and headed to Theresenweisen, the Oktoberfest grounds.  It was a rain-soaked ghosttown.

I almost regretted making the trip to Munich for Fruhlingsfest, until we found the beer tent.  People!  Music!  Beer and meat and potato salad!  We were home.

We walked in an were seated at a picnic table that we shared with various people throughout the evening.  Some spoke English, some didn’t, but everybody was friendly and we did lots of “Prost!”ing.

We observed the thousands of people wearing lederhosen and singing traditional German songs while standing on tables and clinking their glasses.  After hearing one song that mostly consisted of people shouting “Joanna!”, we tried to think of what American song inspired people to sing along in a similar fashion, and came up with “Sweet Caroline”.

And then the band played “Sweet Caroline”, and everyone in the tent knew all of the words.  It was super surreal.

We ordered a bottle of prosecco…I hereby declare this a “mistake”.

After hours (I’m not sure how many) of drinking and celebrating, the tent shut down and we headed out to ride the bumper cars and take a ride in the ferris wheel sans hubs (heights are no friend of his).  Drunk bumper cars might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

The next morning, we got up and headed back to “The ‘Weisen” for the big flea market that occurs on the first Saturday of every Fruhlingsfest.  Maybe I should’ve thought a little bit harder about what a flea market usually entails, but it was basically just hundreds of German people selling their junk.  It was crowded and stressful, so we didn’t stick around.

The grounds were swarming with people on Saturday morning, and due to the ruckus the night before, none of us had the stomach for any more rides or roller coasters, so we headed out, unsure if we’d return to the festival again before departing for Paris.

Spoiler alert: we didn’t.  Did we miss out?  Maybe.  But we had so much fun on Friday night that we felt like we’d experienced the festival in all its glory, and we didn’t want to taint those memories with a second, less epic experience.

We spent the rest of Saturday exploring Munich, perusing the Viktualienmarkt for fresh gouda, bread, and fruit,

strolling through the Englischer Gardens, Munich’s version of Central Park,

watching surfers tackle the artificial waves in the river,

and having a beer at the Chinese beer garden.

Followed by a traditional German dinner at Ratskeller, aka “Rat Killer”, which is weirdly in the basement of the giant, gorgeous old churchy building in the center of the Marienplatz.

We got up Sunday morning and headed to Salzburg, home of Mozart and the Sound of Music, but mostly just Mozart.  I’d say 99.9% Mozart and 0.1% Sound of Music.  They really love their Mozart there.

Stay tuned.

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