beermaids waiting to pick up their liters

Just realized I never posted anything about Oktoberfest. Probably because of lack of sleep—coupled with my dead laptop (which is now completely resurrected, btw). Or because on the first day of Oktoberfest, I almost couldn’t get a beer.

It was wet. In the morning, anyway. My German coworker Peter, bless him, hopped straight off his red-eye back from Boston and came with his wife to our hotel to take us over. And it was pouring. Have I mentioned that?

Anyway. Oktoberfest, which originated as a wedding feast, has grown into something halfway between a themepark and a kegger. On steroids. Walking into the southeast entrance, the biggest thing you notice are the rides—roller coaster, Ferris wheel, haunted tunnel. Which, I think, would be a big mistake after a bellyful of Bavarian cuisine and a couple Mas (the menu word for one-liter mugs of Märzen). I’m imagining staying away from the base of the Ferris wheel is a really good idea.

And the funniest part was, I didn’t even think I was going to be able to get a beer. Even with twelve beer halls there. Each of them had outdoor seating for extra capacity—none of which could be opened with the pouring rain. So all the halls were full to the brim. We finally got into one, the Paulaner hall, where I snapped a few shots, including the one here of the beerfrauën waiting to pick up their mugs. (My coworker’s wife, Beata, says that the number of beers that they can hold at one time ranges from eight to 12—depending on cup size. The size of the beers is always one liter; it’s apparently the size of the server’s anatomy that is the deciding factor.)

We went away and took in the sights of Munich, returning later after the rain had stopped. By this time my coworker Peter was jetlagged hard, so we sent him and Beata home and explored on our own—and found a free table outside the Paulaner tent.

You know what? Those big 1 liter beers, for about €4.50 each, were worth every cent.

—A note on the photos: this set was taken with my new phone. 1.3 megapixels—respectable but not ideal, so forgive the fuzziness.