Day 242 to Day 254
19.09.2013 - 01.10.2013 20 °C
Our first stop in Germany was Düsseldorf where we caught up with an old school friend of Rein’s and spent some time watching the AFL Preliminary Finals on the internet and eating German food. After these relaxing few days it was onto Munich for Oktoberfest!
On our first day in Munich we walked around and saw the sights, and appreciated how the Bavarian’s like to build big buildings! We also enjoyed a picnic in the park with friends and watching people river surfing (weird we know but it’s quite famous in Munich!).
Oktoberfest takes place at the end of September and start of October and originally started out as a pre-wedding party 200 years ago. It now attracts around 6.4 million visitors from all over the world, and estimated 6.9 million litres of beer would be drunk over the 3 week period. There are 14 beer tents that are set up at the very large grounds, all beers from the Bayern-Munich region. There are also many rides and snack stalls for the non-beer drinkers. It felt a lot like the Melbourne Show but with beer drinking as the main attraction!
On our first day we had a beautiful sunny afternoon and we made use of it and caught up with some long-time friends from back in Australia. As it was mid-week there were plenty of tables for our group. We journeyed to 3 tents sampling the local larger from steins and some of the traditional food.
We met up for round two the next day; however, the weather wasn’t so pleasant (think torrential rain non-stop for a few hours) and we all got soaked! Unfortunately for some people that had already drunk too much (it was only 1pm) the slippery ground meant for lots of people falling over. We luckily managed to find a table in a beer tent to get out of the rain for a couple of hours.
After our 2 busy days we took a train south to Salzburg in Austria, where the 6 of us had decided to rent an apartment for 4 nights. The first day and a half were recovery, but on the Sunday, being a member of our party’s birthday, we had a busy day of sightseeing planned.
Our first stop was the cable car up the Untersberg Summit. Part of the Berchtesgaden Alps, it is 1973m (6,473ft) above sea level and about a 30 min bus ride from town. We took the 10min cable car up through the clouds and to the summit. It was very beautiful up the top with the only thing seen being a cloud blanket with the other Alps peaks popping through. Then we had to go back down the cable car, which was even scarier as I knew how high up we were.
After the adrenaline of the cable car ride we were all hungry so stopped at Wasserspiele Hellbrunn and ate our packed lunch. We had a quick look around the gardens, including the Sound of Music gazebo. Then we jumped back on the bus to head back into the heart of Salzburg.
Once back in Salzburg we took a tour of the Salzburg Fortress, the largest and best preserved in Europe. After a guided audio tour we took in the beautiful views over Salzburg and headed back down the hill to visit Mozart’s birthplace.
Our final destination for the day was at the Stiegl-Brauwelt Beer Experience, which is the largest in Europe. We had a pretty long and action packed day so most of us were unable to fully appreciate the museum (which was large and very informative) but we thoroughly enjoyed tasting our three free beer samples of our choice at the end (One of which was coffee beer to keep us perked up).
After a quick rest period back at the apartment we headed to Augustiner Braustubl (another brewery) for a birthday dinner. It was a great time spent with old friends, memories that we can go home and reminisce about. Our next stop is Prague and a tour of the Eastern Block.