Oktoberfest 2016

Only my fourth time to Oktoberfest, and Andrew’s third after our trip last year (see post). We almost didn’t go, but we already had a hotel booked back in January (which we thought we could cancel but ended up being non-refundable – whoops!) so off we went. Turned out we knew a bunch of people headed to Munich at the same time, so it was the best time to go. We stayed at an awesome hotel right across from the train station, the Eden Hotel Wolff, which was convenient for getting to/from the festival grounds on foot and also great for getting around the city.

Andrew arrived on Thursday and I came in on Friday by train. I got there at 1:30 and immediately hit the shopping district as I wanted to buy a couple things aaaand I decided it was time to buy a newer and nicer dirndl. I had researched ahead of time where to go and visited a few “trachten” shops (stores selling traditional Bavarian dirndls and lederhosen). I ended up liking Angermaier Trachten the most for it’s wide selection, prices and they were more organized than a couple others I found. There were SO many beautiful dresses, it was hard to choose!

Inside of the Angermaier Trachten shop


On Friday At 4 I met up with my friend Jim and his girlfriend Alex at my hotel to head for the festival. I met Jim during grad school at JMU and we both worked for KPMG in the DC area. We both moved away from DC in 2012 as he moved to Boston and I moved to SF – it had been a while so there was tons to catch up on!

We met up with Andrew and our friend Lauren (Lauren is our friend from SF that works for KPMG and is on a rotation in London. We visited her last November). We also met up through the night with a handful of other friends of the group as there were a bunch of people coming through from all over the U.S. We had a great group and got a spot at a table in Löwenbräu with a group of Australians. Löwenbräu’s band plays a lot of covers of popular American music along with the traditional Bavarian music. It’s a really fun tent where tons of foreigners like to go. We hung out until about 8:30, rode some roller coasters then called it a night since Saturday would be a marathon.

Alex, me and Andrew
Me and Andrew
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Our table on Friday night at the Löwenbräu tent with our fellow Australian and British Oktoberfest partiers 

On Saturday, the drill was as in other years. We didn’t have a reservation so we had to get in line at 7:00am to secure a full table when the tents open. We managed to get an awesome table right in the center of the Paulener Winzerer Fähndl Festzelt. We hadn’t been to it before, but it’s one of the biggest tents (fits nearly 6800 people!) and is known for a good band and having tons of locals. We stayed all day, drinking liters of the Oktoberfest beer, singing and dancing.

A view into the room where they clean all the steins
We all wish we could know how many chickens Oktoberfest goes through during the two week period. Getting a half rotisserie chicken is one of the most common dishes to eat at Oktoberfest, and you see countless chickens going out every hour.
Andrew and the pretzel that was bigger than his head.
For breakfast Saturday: you eat Weisswurst and a side of beer!
Inside the Paulaner tent on Saturday morning at the beginning of the day. You can tell it’s early because no one is standing up yet and most people look pretty well put together 🙂 This does not last long!

Me and Olivia on Saturday
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Our table of friends coming from all over – SF, Boston, NYC, London & Lausanne!

On Sunday morning we got up somewhat early (might have had an early bedtime thanks to a day of drinking …) and had coffee and a croissant down in the old city on the Marienplatz by the Rathaus.

The Famous Glockenspiel


Our train back to Switzerland wasn’t until 12:30, so we went back to the festival to have an early lunch. We sat at a table in the biergarten at the Pschorr-Bräursol tent. It was a warm day so very nice to hang out.

 

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Our last half chicken of the weekend, a plate of sausages with sauerkraut, and a cold potato salad. Not many people are aware because they think Oktoberfest is only about the beer, but the food at is absolutely fantastic!

After lunch we rode a roller coaster then headed back to catch our train. Another year at Oktoberfest to go down in the books!

Walking through the carnival side of Oktoberfest

Sara & Vince visit

This past weekend we were lucky to have our friends from San Francisco, Sara and Vince, visit. They were on a vacation in Italy and came up to Lausanne to spend Saturday night through Tuesday morning with us before flying back to the States.

On Saturday, their train from Italy arrived at 8:45pm. That evening, we made steak fajitas and hung out at our apartment, catching up on life and everyone’s recent travels. Sunday, we got up early and drove an hour to our first destination, which was to take a 1.5 hour hike up to the  Cabane de la Tourche.

View from the parking lot of our destination. Tough to see if you don’t know what you’re looking for, but the Cabane is a little bump on the slopes up on the left.
Sara & Vince in front of the Cabane
We made it!

We settled in at a table outside and had fondue while looking out over the mountains. It was Vince & Sara’s first Swiss fondue (yay!!!) and our first of the season. The view was breathtaking and the local Swiss wine washed it all down nicely.

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Eating fondue on the Cabane terrace. The mountains behind us on the right are the Dents du Midi which we hiked up a few weeks ago. It’s hard to tell with the clouds surrounding the peak, but Mont Blanc (the highest peak in Western Europe) is behind us on the left. The views were beautiful as the clouds moved over the peaks.

Hiking down with a view of the Rhone valley below

The hike we found conveniently had Les Bains de Lavey right at the foot of the mountain. So, after our hike we hit the thermal baths and spa which are heated by hot springs running out from the mountains above. We sampled all the pools, jacuzzis, hammams and saunas. This was the first time we went into the Chromotherapy room. Really interesting … there are set times when you can enter the room. For fifteen minute intervals, you stay in the room, laying back on a rocking chair, and the room is lit in a themed color (ours was red), the room is scented and they play some reaaaaally strange music. Relaxing, if you like lions roaring and elephants trumpeting at times 🙂 Either way, an experience!

On Sunday night we had dinner at the house again just for ease. I made a chicken dish with a mustard sauce using the gourmet Dijon mustard we bought in Burgundy on our recent trip. And of course we had to bring out one of our bottles of Burgundy wine to pair with the meal!

On Monday, Andrew and I went to work while Vince & Sara toured Lausanne and took the ferry across the lake to Evian, France. We greatly benefited from their successful day of discovering the area as we arrived home to a delicious variety of dried meats, cheeses, and sweets that they found while wandering the city. That night, unfortunately Sara felt sick and had to stay home, but Vince, Andrew and I went to dinner at Café de Grancy which was excellent as always. In the end, it was another visitor’s trip that was over too fast, but it was fun to have them here to show them around Switzerland and catch up.