Today sees the start of 2 weeks party in Munich, Germany. It's called "Oktoberfest" has been going for centuries, and is intended to celebrate the arrival of the month of October.
Don't ask me why one wanted, and still wants to, celebrate that, but they do....and they do!
Just a couple of photos, well known things, to get into the mood.
"HB" stands for "Hofbrau" - one of the most well known Munich breweries.Above you can see one of the lovely ladies who SERVE the beer, although most of them are perfectly capable of drinking it as well..! There's also a picture of "Keefer" in his traditional costume, worn on Sundays, festivals and at the local market in the Bretagne in France.....! The young gentleman below him is fairly typical of the "Mannsbild" ( true man) to be found in Bavaria. I can tell from his comportment that this is only his first of many, many, "Mass" (a measure of beer - around one liter)
over the next 2 weeks.
Traditionally, the thing starts with a large procession through the city, with floats drawn mainly by magnificent "Brewery Horses" (any Bavarian Brewery worth its salt has its own stables, and Breweries - there are - in Munich - many, many, many Breweries!) This tradition was kept up, initially for Tourist and "local colour" reasons, became an Institution, and nowadays is proving its value, petrol is expensive, streets are jammed, and apart from a few "stains" on the road, the horses don't pollute anything!
Of course, the parades are to be seen daily, usually different each day, but the main object of these 14 days is to participate in a "Fress und Sauf Orgie" (an eating and drinking orgy).
Over the 14 days, more than 8 million people will visit, they will consume millions of liters of beer (that delicious stuff well known to Bavaria and Germany as a whole), they will eat hundreds of thousands of "Handle's" (grilled, roasted chicken) or "Hax'n" (boiled, then finally grilled, knuckle of pork) as well as millions of "knödeln" (dumplings made from flour or potato or both), "Schweinebauch gegrillt" (grilled belly of pork) and countless more local and National delicacies!
Washed down, naturally, with beer, although wine, Schnaps (high percent alcohols), Sekt (German sparkling wine) and other things are also available.
This is in reality the "Münchener Bier fest", and it's all very official!
The thing starts on the "Wiesen-Wies'n" (German word for meadow) which is transformed into one enormous area of fairground, Beer tents with Restaurants built in, parade grounds, musical stages and anything else remotely concerned with becoming very ill from eating and drinking too much! Emergency hospital tents, police station tents, Red Cross tents (for those who are still searching for someone from the year before....!)
The Lord Mayor of the City is given the task of opening the event, and he has to do it well, or he is rarely re-elected, and is the central point of "finger pointing and ridicule" should he not do his job well.
The most important job is to hammer a wooden tap into a wooden barrel, with a wooden hammer in as few "hits" as possible. 3 is an average, and accepted by the local population, more than 3 is criminal neglicence and will be appropriately rewarded, later - at the Voting booths!
Once "tapped" (during which nearly everyone gets a free "beer shower") the Mayor must pour off the first tankards, whilst shouting out "O'Zapft ischt's" (local dialect for "it's tapped" - meaning "we can start"!) The proud man in green is the Lord Mayor...shouting just that! Then the fete begins, for 14 days and nights, up to (officially) 2am or so. The public transport systems and refuse (garbage) collectors work overtime, and somehow it's all not too revolting! "Oooompah-oooompah" music hangs in the air 24 hours a day, the odours are present, because all those chickens and things have to be cooked in the break, from roughly 2am until 2am, non-stop, permanently! Have you ever seen millions of roasted chickens at one time, never mind all the other things....!
It is a "Meisterwerk" in Organisation, unfortunately it all works out very expensive nowadays, a "mass Bier" coming in at around 6 euros, and - watch out, if the thing it's served in is not glass, but porcelain, it's probably only filled to a half or even only a quarter!
These are "tricks to treat Tourists" and there are hundreds of "Kontrolleurs" wandering around, anonymously, checking the food, the drink and the traders (sometimes the visitors as well!)
Pop in at this adress for more photos:http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1024&bih=653&q=oktoberfest+munich+2010&gbv=2&aq=2&aqi=g3&aql=&oq=Oktoberfest+Munich&gs_rfai=
On the whole - when I lived there, I preferred my local "Biergarten" which was open all year round anyway, and when the Nuns weren't there, it was much more peaceful than the "Wies'n", AND - they gave me credit too....!
My Bedienung was perfection, and, in Munchen, a little Scottish laddie was transported to "7th Heaven" - giving everybody a good, full view of the essentials....!
Well - today, I will be there, if only by live satellite on "Bayern3" where it all starts around 11am...... and I'll have a liter of "special" beer in front of me!
Could be a good day, today.......
On top of which, normally the local soccer team hammers hell out of their opponents on this particular day, and then set off for the "OKTOBERFEST"
iwmpop(mrlemarquis) - Vauvert, France - 18 Septembre 2010