Taking care of business
After disembarking from our train and descending into the furious pre-Oktoberfest bustle of Munich's Hauptbahnhof, I celebrated our arrival in Germany with the biggest pretzel I'd ever seen!
In case you didn't know, Germany in its modern form is only a relatively young (nineteenth-century) nation, federated from several distinct states. Despite the dominance of Prussia (the state containing the capital of Berlin) at the time of unification, it seems that all those internationally familiar 'quaint' tropes of German identity – lederhosen, beer consumption, little wooden 'chocolate box' houses and whatnot – are mostly derived or distorted from the cultural markers of fiercely independent Bavaria, to this day home to a strong nationalist–separatist sentiment.
Latenight macca's and meetings
Or so we planned. Til and I, at least, got hungry, so we headed back out to the dangerously proximal McDonald's for a feed, an activity I realised during the composition of this post that we engaged in with alarming and shameful frequency ...
Tapping of the keg
Other than that, though, I loved the Tracht! The lederhosen were really comfy, and the girls reported the same for the dirndls, saying the practical cut below the knee was actually liberating, because you didn't have to worry about flashing people every time you bent over or sat down. Personally I thought the women looked great in dirndls, with the fitted waists and feminine style. I actually wish we could all dress like that all the time! Except, of course, I prefer my fake leather lederhosen to the genuine kind. Supposedly the Bavarians of old only ever had two pairs – a working, everyday pair and a dress pair. They still wear them on special occasions, and I kept being told the ultimate goal was to get them so stiff with spilled beer and grease wiped off your hands that they are able to stand up unsupported.
Next Sam and Fa kindly set to work preparing the group a traditional Bavarian breakfast of weisswurst, sauerkraut and pretzels (although Til and I obviously eschewed the sausages – nobody even knew what animals' bodies they was made out of; yuck! Further investigation reveals it to be pig and calf flesh, incidentally two of the most morally reprehensible meats, as far as such things can be ranked ...)
We met a few other friends of the flat, like the Italians Rochelle and Chris' girlfriend Alissandra, whose two-hundred-and-something euro dirndl had the girls cooing in admiration. Getting into the spirit of things, Til had Kate do her hair in an attempted 'Tymoshenko' braid, but Kate failed to account for the surprising mass of Til's hair and it turned into more of a coil. Still looked very effective, though, and sparked one or two conversations about Tymoshenko's politics.
Luggage luck, wifi woes and taking our time
L'atelier des allemands
Septemberfest 2: return to theresienwiese
The final days