|The first mass of the morning is always the best.|
So as fall approached and the warm sun began to succumb to the inevitable nip in the air, we knew it was time to break out the dirndl and lederhosen, and practice heaving those maß beers high in the air.
Three years ago when we were just learning the Oktoberfest ropes, it wasn’t pretty: Out of the four in our group, three threw up and one was forcibly divested of his underwear – all before noon.
Not about to repeat our inaugural performance, this year we set about to plan a dignified, respectable day at Oktoberfest, where 6 million people consume nearly 7.5 million liters of bier, 500,000 chickens, 58,000 pork knuckles and countless pretzels over the course of 16 days.*
The dignified plan included several “nice to haves” we never considered in years past.
For instance, rather than crashing in the Turkish hotel (an unusually tall 1980s-era VW bus), we booked a hotel. We left all keys and unnecessary but easily misplaceable objects in the room.
|A stellar example of dignified prosting.|
We established a game plan at the outset for where to meet if we lost each other.
And since we arrived just after 9:30 a.m. and didn’t leave till about midnight, a comfortable “maß consumption” pace interspersed with water served us well.
Thanks in part to our mental preparation, Molly also conquered an arch-nemesis – the cantankerous, 80-year-old Toboggan Rutschbahn – which left her limping two years ago, and I even left with every article of clothing I brought (although the next day I was still removing glass shards from my lederhosen, a byproduct of some overzealous prosting).
All in all, we opened and closed Oktoberfest on the opening weekend with a sophisticated level of intoxication, and that’s more than we can say for the rest of the fest’s 6 million people.
* From the Munich Tourist Office website. Additional interesting fun facts included the number of vendors (Germans actually refer one group as “carneys”) and the following lost items of 2012, which were listed under “curiosities”: leg warmers (a pair of dress pants and two pairs of “unusual” traditional pants), two wedding rings, five notebook computers, two license plates, sheet music, two French horns, a hearing aid, a handicraft box, eyeglasses with Swarovski crystals, a pair of leg cuffs, a baby phone, a ping-pong racket, a Playboy magazine (with a personal autograph from the current Wies’n playmate) and a dog. The delivery rate was 19 per cent.