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Beer always tastes better in lederhosen

MONDAY: Security bag madness after we deplane LH979 in Frankfurt to connect with LH114 to Munich.

The connection time to pass through that amazing changing colour tunnel in Frankfurt is tight but one of the group gets hauled aside and brought into a separate room to prove that her laptop is not explosive.

Tuesday: Contiki Tours are a specialist holiday group for under-35s. That means party time on tour and they are bringing a small group to the Oktoberfest in Munich to prove their point. Anywhere that serves up 14 million pints of beer in 16 days cannot be bad.

The Hippodrome (the name remains despite the fact they stopped racing horses here in 1960) is a panic. Four people are carted off, comatose, before the serious drinking begins but there is no sense of menace or disintegrating social order which mark so many festivals at home. There is another difference, virtually EVERYONE is in lederhosen and dirndls, including the tourists, which ALWAYS makes the beer taste better.

The Hofbrau-haus is filled with carefree Bavarians (three-quarters are local), tourists from all over the world, refugees from the nearby American army base, the Contiki guests, bedraggled travel writers, bloggers and You-Tubers all in costume. The soundtrack echoes to random cheers, chants of "oans, zwoa, g'suffa," (one, two drink), and people who clearly cannot speak any German singing German drinking songs. Badly.

Not that anyone is sober enough to notice. It probably helps the atmosphere that Oktoberfest brew is not your normal 4pc weakling, the beer has to be 6pc alcohol and must be made by six sanctioned breweries within the city limits of Munich.

Wednesday: Giuliano Giacovazzi of Hostival, better known as the Hangover Hospital, is a classic hardcore traveller. He did not even have a bank account until last year, which makes it all the more remarkable that he has set up a successful business model nobody had ever thought of before -- the nomadic hostel.

His marquee hostel can be packed into a couple of containers and hauled to the next big event. He sets up tents wherever the young gather and he is here at Oktoberfest, greeting something like 3,000 returnees from the beerkellar each night. "We are the last-minute option of bookings. A lot of guests think they could not get accommodation at these popular events. Then they find us."

Thursday: There are seriously good rides at Oktoberfest. Some people don't make it because of the beer, but locals say the rides are as dizzying as the beer.

Friday: The festival began to celebrate Ludwig I's marriage to Princess Therese in 1810, a marriage that survived his 1846-8 affair with Lola the Spanish dancer, who turned out to be not a Spanish dancer at all but Eliza Gilbert from the Sligo-Donegal border. Must have been the dirndl that confused him.

Saturday: Flight LH2514 home from Munich leads to another argument at security over make-up as one of the party has to prove her eyelash curler is not an offensive weapon.

Sunday: Trade is brisk at Tour America's sale day in the Moran's Red Cow Hotel. Orlando is the flavour of the day.


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