I left Landstuhl after work Friday with 4 of my new Army buddies. We drove the autobahn for about 4 hours to get to Munich. There was some construction and traffic in parts, but we still managed to get up to 200 km/hr. We had thought ahead to use Google map to get us to our hotel, but it was pretty useless, since we can't read the traffic signs. We miraculously found the hotel without too much trouble. Our good karma continued by having one of the best bars/beerhalls I've ever been to be located just a block away. The Lowenbräuhaus was rocking when we got there about 11:30. It was so much fun that we went there again after we left Oktoberfest the next night. It's a different (younger) crowd than O'fest, and the band plays much better music.
On the way to O-fest Sat morning, we bought our obligitory leder hosen (goat leather, very nice). Not cheap, but probably 75% of people (guys) had them on. The locals (all ages) wear their LH and dirndls (the low cut dresses that add at least 1-2 points to any 1 - 10 score) without any sense of irony - they are totally in to it.
We got to O'fest before noon on Sat, but the place was already packed. I briefly saw Tanner, but there wasn't room for all of us at his table - we had to move on. You must be seated at a table to be served in the beer halls. We had to go to a couple more places before we found seating for 5. After all that effort, we felt compelled to stay for awhile. Beer is served by the liter. After the first one goes down, the next doesn't look as intimidating. The food is also served in large portions and is really good.
The Germans have interesting customs. They LOVE to sing - either unintelligible Bavarian folksongs, or American rock songs from the 70s and 80s. Traditional um-pah bands are in all the halls, and the crowd seriously digs it. The other thing Germans love to do is drink beer, and the bands play songs specifically made for toasting and drinking. During band breaks, the crowd spontaneously starts singing things like "hey........ay baby, I want to know.....ow if you'll be my girl". I've probably heard that 100 times in the past 48 hours. As funny as the singing is, it is kind of cool to see people of all ages singing these traditional German songs and drinking together.
My newest best friends left this afternoon to return to Landstuhl. I'm solo till I fly Tues am. I'll try to post again tomorrow. Since I don't have an electrical converter plug for the laptop, I won't post pictures till I'm back in the States.