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OKTOBERFEST 2009!! Let the drinking begin....

Oktoberfest 2009

A very different entrance to Oktoberfest this year

Armbrustschutzen- Our tent the second night

They serve more than just beer at Oktoberfest!Our group on the devil's wheel...
...and then there was one!

Well, we are glad to be back home but do miss the fun that is Oktoberfest! As always it never disappoints! Oktoberfest is one of those things that everyone must do once before they die so then and only then is your life complete (can you tell we thoroughly enjoy it?). It is really indescribable, but I will try.
We flew into Amsterdam and took the train to Munich. It takes about 5 hours and is a nice trip through the countryside. It is also a nice way to rest before a long night of debauchery. This year, Oktoberfest was as fun as always but walking up to it you could tell something was a little different. al-Qaeda released videos warning of reprisals against Germany and threatened to attack Germany while showing pictures of German landmarks including Oktoberfest. Security was definitely beefed up as we saw polizei everywhere and the street in front of the area was blocked and bags were searched. They did a great job and nobody let those @^%$# keep us from having a good time. We got to Munich about an hour before we were to meet up with our group and go to the first tent. Now let me explain the "tents". These so called tents take a few months to build and can hold anywhere from 4 to 10 thousand people depending on the tent. I might actually camp more often if my tent looked remotely similar to these. There are 14 different tents and each one serves beer from a local brewery. The tents also serve delicious food like chicken, ox, brats with sauerkraut, and pretzels the size of your head. We usually get to the tents between 4 and 5 p.m and order our first (of many) round of beer, pretzels, and dinner. As it gets later the band starts to play the hits everyone likes to sing and everyone's happiness level starts to go up due to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4rth rounds of beer taking effect. By now most everyone is standing on the benches hoisting their steins back and forth singing along with everybody. Oktoberfest can be a dangerous place if you are not careful. Everyone is standing on the same bench which is now covered in beer and very slick. Also if one person loses their balance, which is not hard after the 4th and sequential rounds, they are taking someone or several someones down with them. The benches also work like seesaws which can get you if you are not paying attention. If you are standing on a bench with people and those people get off leaving you alone on the bench, you will go flying off beer and all. One of the best parts of Oktoberfest is dressing up in the traditional Bavarian outfits. Everyone always looks so much better in their lederhosen and the ladies in their dirndl (and all the beer doesn't hurt either).
Oktoberfest is all about the beer but that is not all that is there. Of course there are all kinds of great food. From the best brats you have ever had to chocolate covered fruits, sugar coated roasted nuts, very smelly fish stands, and so much more. And what better to add to lots of beer and food but roller coasters and other fast spinning rides?! It is a recipe for disaster but there are tons of great rides, roller coasters, fun houses, and haunted houses. It doesn't seem that Germany has the same problem we Americans have with lawsuit happy people because Oktoberfest is an ambulance chasers dream. As if the slick beer drenched benches, the drunks bringing them down, and the completely smashed people on roller coasters weren't bad enough; they had to have the devils wheel! The devils wheel is a large, round wooden wheel that spins around while people box, hoola hoop, and generally just try to stay on it. It is hilarious to watch and can be dangerous to do. Last year someone in our group shattered their ankle and this year I am pretty sure someone got a concussion. They have an announcer that will call for kids (yes, kids actually do this), people over 40, all men, all women, all Americans, etc. Once everyone is sitting in the middle of the wheel the announcer will speed it up causing people to fly off until only one person is left. To get the last person off they will drop a large ball and swing it towards them until they get knocked off. If that doesn't work, the tried and true method which never fails is the rope. They will start with one guy next to the wheel throwing a rope around the person until they get caught up and slung off the wheel. If the person is real good they bring in a second guy with a rope so you are now dodging a large ball coming at you from above, a guy on either side of you throwing a rope around you while you are being spun in circles. I did mention this takes place at a beer festival didn't I? If you are a complete professional they will start to throw the rope around you like a lasso. Why would someone do something so crazy? I don't know and as soon as I figure out what possessed me to do it I will let you know. That is right I attempted the devil's wheel and by sheer luck was the last one remaining when the rest of our group got slung off. If you usually skip the album, let me just say there is a lovely picture of me getting hit in the head by a large ball. So to recap: lots of beer, delicious food, great friends, and fast rides = good times!
So we are finally home and getting to enjoy our new house, well at least for 2 weeks then we are off again. In 2 weeks we will be heading to Memphis for move #2 and then Nashville for Blake's Dad's wedding. I do believe after that we may actually stay put for a while! We already have several people coming to visit us when we get back and we can't wait to show everyone a good time in our new hood! As always, thanks for taking the time to check out our fun times. Our adventures may be slowing down but come back and check every once in a while because we still have lots of adventures to be had here at home!