After Paris we were getting thirsty. It was a mighty thirst, the kind that could only be slaked by the largest of beers. So we headed to Munich to visit Oktoberfest and have a beer or two. Or three. Or four.

One of the most challenging parts of being in Germany is deciding where to have a beer. Here is my Dad stroking his chin and thinking about it.

We sat out on the patio in the city center. In the background you can see the Town Hall. It's on Marienplatz (Which means "Mary's square." - Like a piazza in Italy, only German.)

The town hall has these famous dancing puppets. They are simulating the "cooper's dance" which was done back in the 1500's to celebrate the end of the plague. Aren't you glad that you have never had to do a dance to celebrate the end of an epidemic that wiped out millions of people? Me too.

Here is a close up.

Soon it was dark and I was anxious to get to the Paulaner tent. One, I wanted to see if the people I sat with in 2007 would be there (long story) and two, I really wanted one of the roast chickens and some beer. Here is my dad hoisting his beer.

Here he is nearly eclipsed!

Here is the chicken. It's amazingly good. Some people think it's crazy to go to Germany just for chicken, but they also have fresh beer, so it makes sense.

Another shot from the Paulaner tent.

Now that we had had some beer and food, we went and walked around to see some of the other tents. They are all like this - jam packed with people singing and dancing and drinking. Without exception, every time we were in a tent we would hear John Denver's "Country Road." And it always brought the house down - everyone loved that song and sang the words at the top of their lungs. I guess now I know what it would have been like to be at a John Denver concert in the 70s.

This is a horrible photos, but I'll show it anyway. Inside the Hacker-Pschorr tent they have these fake clouds. It's really bright and creates a good atmosphere.

It really gets the Bavarian women dancing.

It's impossible to get a seat inside without a reservation, so we sat outside. We were next to these three guys, and one of them was fidgeting with something. (What it was becomes clear later.)

We had a few more beers.

These liter beers go down real easy, and before you know it, you're pretty drunk.

You see all kinds of things at Oktoberfest, and this has to be one of the better ones I've seen. I love how the little kids looks sort of morose. I also love that the giant beer is in front of the child, and the dad (wearing the goofy hat" has an overturned coke bottle in front of him. I just love this photo.

Somehow we got to talking with the guys at our table. Two were French and one was German. This is one of the French guys telling us to stay away from his beers. It turns out that these French guys were from Paris and just woke up that morning and decided to go to Oktoberfest. So they jumped in their car and drive to Munich. They were camping someplace nearby.

From here things get a little bit crazy.


The German guy was eating chicken. The French word for chicken is "poulet" (pronounced poo-LAY.) We all started goofing and laughing and I kept saying, "Poulet!" and pointing at the German guy. The French guys found this absolutely hilarious and began shouting, "POULET POULET!" very loudly. Then one of us began singing, "Poulet poulet" to the tune of that oldies song, "Wooly Bully" By Sam Sham and The Pharaohs.

It was time to leave, and this guy could not stop laughing. He found everything that happened really funny.

He was gripping the pole so we offered him money to do some pole dancing. Of course he loved this idea too.

It is simply not possible to explain to you how hard we were all laughing at this point. My ribs still hurt.


Another short clip of these guys hamming it up for the camera.

This is definitely against the rules. But of course, it was hilarious.

Here is what that guy was fiddling with inside his jacket. He had stolen one of the steins. This is also something you are not supposed to do, but as you can see, the french guy in the middle thought it was really funny.

Before leaving these guys just walked up to the dude in the orange and asked him for some of his food. No problem! We're all friends here! So he handed it over and they cheered and chowed.

We all got separated and I couldn't find my Dad. These guys had each other's mobile numbers, so we had to find a place to meet up. Along the way these girls showed up and were intrigued with my hammered friend.

The German guy said he new an after hours bar, so we we jumped into the subway to head over to that part of Munich.

Of course we talked to everyone on the train.

The next, perhaps due to a subconscious drive from the previous night's events, we visited the Theatine church in Munich. It was finished around 1690.

Like all these old churches, it was stunningly beautiful.

We walked around Munich some more, with no real purpose, and ended up sitting outside and having a hot chocolate. It was chilly.

At least *I* thought it was. Then a SURFER glided by on a skateboard. I guess it's all about where you are from and what you think is *normal*. (As I type this I'm in Austin and it's 93F at 9:30 in the morning.) This is pretty much the lesson of traveling around the world - normal is relative, and other people's normal is not necessarily bad. I urge you to hit the road and visit other countries.

The weather was pretty cold and rainy, and so we couldn't sit outside the tents. We ended up in this beer hall on the edge of the festival. My dad got this awesome meal of beans, potatoes, and sausage.

I went with the old standby of sausage and sauerkraut.

I took a picture of the menu because I wanted to try to recreate his meal here at home. It was delish.

Dessert was deep fried toroids covered with sugar and topped with ice cream.

The party raged on, and everyone sang and danced together. It was a hoot.

My dad had a blast chatting up the waitresses. They had great a great sense of humor. The one on the right was our waitress, and she had a day job as a physical chemist or something like that, and this was her uncle's hall, so during the fair she works at night and makes a ton of money in tips. She told us she can make a month's pay at her other job on a week during the fair.

Ok, that's it, thanks for looking!

We got up the next day and headed down to Florence.