After our stay in Lindau, we we’re inline for more tent usage in Feldkirch, a small Austrian town nestled between some alps. From here we’d be checking out Vaduz in Liechtenstein and surrounding areas before heading to Munich (or Munchen) and Prague (or Praha).
For the record, it’s now nearing the end of September and if it’s not day time and you’re not in the direct sun, it’s cold out. It’s not freezing cold, but cold enough where you don’t want to leave your sleeping bag at night time unless you reallllly need to.
I narrowed it down to three different hikes, then basically went with a random one because they all seemed so good. The one selected turned out to be Rappenstein, unfortunately I couldn't discover the significance of the name Rappenstein, so tell me if you know!
The drive to Rappenstein the next day would be a challenge in itself, driving manual around hairpin turns steeply up into the alps. I found it a little nerve wracking, but the locals lining up eager to pass me didn’t seem to think so.
The hike itself was straight forward, roughly a steady 1km ascent and then descent of the same, stretched out over 14K. It was a great hike for three reasons:
Unfortunately for us, it was a cloudy day which meant that our view was basically 100% obscured at the summit. Oh well, we had a beautiful sunny day at Trolltunga, so you can’t win ‘em all.
Our last night in Feldkirch meant the next day would be our first in Munich, our stay would mark days 11, 12, and 13 of the 16 day festival.
Der Gemütlichkeit (to cheer and good times)
We drove into Munich (Munchen), which translates to “home of the monks”, and is the second most expensive city in Gemany. We checked into our camp hostel and said good bye to our Diesel VW. We certainly had some good/bad times with this vehicle... but now I can drive standard so that's pretty neat.
The festival began in 1810 as a wedding celebration for some royals named Ludwig and Therese, but it was such a great time they had another festival for the first anniversary the following year. And it’s literally just been growing from that since then.
It has only been cancelled for 24 of the last 215 years, due to war or economic inflation.
We went to two nights of Oktoberfest, one drinking, one sober. I enjoyed the drinking night great deal more, but it is cool to walk around and take in the different spectacles, be it colourful rides or intoxicated people.
We had beers in two different main tents, Augustiner and Schottenhamel. Each tent serves a different one of the six Munich brewery’s beer, and no other. No Coors Light to be found here. To be honest, I found all the beers at Oktoberfest a little bit sweet for my tastes, but it’s really more about the setting than drinking your favourite beer.
Augustiner is apparently the collectively agreed (amongst Muncheners) “best” beer, so we went to that tent first. Entering an Oktoberfest beer tent is quite the experience. Once you step thrugh the doors, a wall of air and sound hit you in the face. There’s thousands of people laughing, singing, and talking along with a full traditional German band playing. There is a lot of energy which can take you off guard if you’re not prepared.
Schottenhamel, with a younger crowd and a stronger beer, was more of a party vibe. We sat with four girls from Munich University. For the next few hours we’d have a pretzel, learn some German drinking songs, explain how bears aren’t that common in Canada, and just have a general great time. Lindy and I
Overall, Oktoberfest is definitely worth visiting, but on one of three conditions:
Here’s your Michael Sime corny recommendation: Get a group of friends together and go to your city’s local Oktoberfest, they’re springing up everywhere. But hey, if it’s just something you need to do, you certainly won’t regret it!
We caught the morning bus to Prague, arriving at about 2PM. Remember how I said it was cold before? Well now it’s warm again, like t-shirt weather. I guess once you leave the windy alp region things warm a bit in Europe.
There was a beer tasting Lindy had read about that takes place in one of Prague’s oldest buildings, almost 1,000 years old. The speaker/educator/beer leader was a passionate and very knowledgeable fellow when it came to beer and history. We’d come to learn that Eastern Europeans really take their history seriously, much of their history is as interesting as it is tragic.
Prague? So far so good. It’s by far the cheapest place we’ve been so far, a pint of beer at the bar would run about $2 Canadian, beer being the standard metric of currency equivalency measurement.
Next time, Lindy and I class it up by going to the Prague Symphony Orchestra, witness my first art “critique” in Budapest, and we say Hello! To the UK!