It was a similar start to the day – we woke up at 4 am groggy souls blundering through our first steps. It was freezing cold, and only the prospect of a dark and dreary morning lay ahead. It was very strong motivation for someone of my ilk (read lazy) to stay tucked in.
But for Oktoberfest.
Ah yes, the promised land. A dream for everyone with penchant for good entertainment. An arena the size of a few football fields, tents dishing out the best in food and beer, the carnival atmosphere, and to top it all, drunk Germans.
What’s not to like?
And hence against my better judgement, I crawled out from under the blankets and proceeded to rouse the rest of the house. 20 minutes later the bunch of us stepped out into the cold and began the 20 minute walk to Brussels Nord station. A couple of minutes into the walk, DK realized he might have left the iron switched on. He was quickly dispatched to check, with AA for company. They would have to take the later train, which would mean they would be a couple of hours less drunk at the end of the day.
We arrived at Munich Hauptbahnhof (thats German for main train station – they know how to make their words sound grand) and waited around for AR, who was going to join us from France. (That would be a recurring theme for the trip – AR joining us late on trips or leaving early, in order to make his way back to the south of France in time for classes he never attended.) AR arrived customarily late, and after a quick check in at our hostel, we found our way to Bavariaring, the venue for Oktoberfest.
If you ask me to piece together the rest of the day’s events, it would be pretty tough. The 10 of us only realized the full chronology of what transpired that night a couple of weeks later in Vienna, where, on a hill overlooking the city, stories were exchanged, and a complete picture of 2nd October 2013 emerged.
We met G, a friend of ours who we’d met while he was on exchange in B, and proceeded to a beer tent, where we convinced the beer girls that we’d drink a lot and tip generously (only one of which we planned to do) and got ourselves a table. The next few hours flowed by with the recurring thuds of empty one liter beer mugs on the table interspersed with the lot of us getting smashed and trying to outsing/outshout each other.
Now about here is where I lose track again. I remember that I was figuring out how to get up and command my two legs to move so that I could take a leak. A few vague memories later, I found myself outside the washroom with SR, AK, and AR.
About 50 meters away, RR groggily raised himself from the table where he had passed out, and realized that he was the only one left. (Me, AK, and SR were figuring out the next course of action somewhere). I imagine he hurled a few choice words at us (pity we weren’t around to listen), and lumbered off into the arena where he bumped into a visibly inebriated DK (this despite him having taken the later train and having arrived a couple of hours after us). Their route back to our hostel was eventful, involving a paranoid DK who wanted immediate medical attention for a non existent cut on his finger, while RR steadfastly refused to listen to his pleas for help. (Well, the refusing to listen bit is probably an exaggeration – in all fairness he did wait outside a pub for well over 45 minutes while DK attempted to use the washroom)
Meanwhile, in a parallel timeline, we had realized that AK was in no position to go back to his hostel alone. Me and SR, the gentlemen that we are, volunteered to accompany/carry him to the other end of town, tuck him in, and then make our way back to the hostel. A total journey time of 1 hour, in the freezing cold. I can almost see the halo above our heads. (Did I mention AK couldn’t walk very well? Something to do with the huge quantities of alcohol in his belly)
I guess the best off among the lot of us was RR’s friend GR. He had started off the evening dissing German beer, but three liters and a couple of hours later he had found himself walking in the arena, without any of us around, and with no clue how to get back to the hotel. Upon weighing his options, of which there were few, he decided to hire a cab back to the hostel. He ended up paying 20 Eur for the 500m taxi ride, and the driver was only able to understand where to take him because the hostel reception (bless their gentle hearts) had insisted that we wear yellow wristbands. Apparently backpackers frequently got lost during the Oktoberfest. Who would have thought?
By the time all of us were back in the dorm room, the cold had taken the edge off, and SR was all ready to partay again. I cried off, citing the fact that I was still drunk, and lazy. He convinced an always-ready-AR and RR to accompany him. From what I heard the next morning, their expedition to the city’s pubs was less than fruitful, and they ended up spending the night at the hostel bar, talking to an Englishman who regaled them with his exploits with the fairer sex during Oktoberfest. Needless to say, this tryst didn’t do much for their confidence.
We didn’t get a lot of sightseeing done. It’s hard enough to see where you’re going when you’re down a liter of German beer, and we collectively decided that Munich could wait.
On a side note, it’s amazing how vividly I remember _most_ of that day. There definitely was something about about those three months in Europe.