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Starkbierfest Part 1

Thinking about what I want to write about this past weekend, I am both overwhelmed and conflicted. Overwhelmed because there was just so much going on, and so many thoughts I had on it all. Conflicted because it’s so hard to pick which stories and anecdotes to share. Still, all I can do is be accurate and use my best judgment. This will take two posts as I don’t want to write one super long piece. Alos I will now add pictures, so enjoy that. First up: Friday.

On Friday after work, Roberto and I showed off our new place to Ross, who said it reminded him of Colleen’s apartment, albeit not as nice. Roberto went to the gym and Ross and I went to a nearby Italian place for pizza before heading into the city for Starkbierfest. The original plan was to meet Jamie and Fraser near Hofbrauhaus, but after waiting there a bit, the only ones we met with were Barbara and her friend Colin (her former boyfriend). Upon learning who he was, it took all my self-control not to laugh out loud, but somehow I managed. The four of us decided to meet all the others at Nockherberger, the traditional beer hall most associated with Starkbierfest, near Kolumbusplatz on top of a big hill.

The place was full, with many people in lederhosen and dirndl’s (the Bavarian dress women wear) including Barbara, which explained why her legs had turned red from the cold. As we walked into the enormous hall that smelled strongly of beer and sweat, the live band had started playing Country Roads, surreal if amusing. There were dozens of tables and hundreds of people standing on benches singing and waving around thick crockery mugs of beer. We found a table and joined in, ordering Salvator, the dark, strong beer that everyone was drinking.

Along with Country Roads, we heard New York, New York, Sweet Caroline, and other American songs interspersed with Bavarian songs and chants (and 99 Luftballoons). Standing on the tables was fun although I will never wear lederhosen. The beer, despite being so strong and dark, went down dangerously smoothly, and started to have its impact felt on all of us.

Not long after we arrived, Jamie and Fraser showed up, followed soon after by Kerre, bringing her two friends Elodie and Sarah (from France and Sweden respectively). We all danced and sang and drank and talked, having a very nice time. I cut myself off after one beer because of how strongly it was affecting me, but others, like Ross were more hardcore. It was a very nice, very Bavarian evening. We saw people fall through benches, fall over, get in fights, kiss in corners (and in centers) and every other kind of human experience.

Eventually we grew a bit weary of it, and Barbara, Ross, Jamie, Fraser, and I all went to Killian’s together for another round, although the starkbier had filled me up so much it was hard to drink any liquid at all. I was a little nervous about catching the last train, so Ross and I just had the one beer before leaving and taking the train back to our respective locations, having a good talk along the way. I’m very pleased I ended up working with Ross, he’s quite a character and it’s too bad he’s leaving soon as he is one of the more entertaining people, drunk or sober, I have ever met.

I made it home, happy but exhausted and fell asleep, anticipating a great day ahead.

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Categories: Germany, Personal

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