All Across the Land

SWITZERLAND

Laax

Lac Neuchâtel

Sierre

Photo courtesy of Adam

Zermatt

Etzel

Rhine Falls

Zürich

My Village

Not Pictured: Basel, Einsiedeln, Luzern, Rapperswil

ITALY

Pidemont

Milan

Como

Cinque Terre

SPAIN

Granada

Not Pictured: Cadíz, Madrid, Seville

ENGLAND

Manchester

Cambridge

 

IRELAND

Dublin

Belfast

Not Pictured: Galway

 

SCOTLAND

Edinburgh

 

PORTUGAL

Lisbon

 

Photo Courtesy of Adam

Porches

 

Photo courtesy of Adam

 

GERMANY

Munich

 

TURKEY

Istanbul

 

FRANCE

Paris

 

Photo courtesy of Adam

 

AUSTRIA

Vienna

 

Photo courtesy of Adam

There it is. Ten countries in eleven months. At least thirty cities within those countries. I may have had some really tough days in there, when I seriously questioned the sanity in choosing this job, but in the end, it was worth it. Absolutely, one hundred percent. Look at all I’ve done.

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Beer Guzzling

Let the festivities begin!

Perhaps you can guess by the title and the picture above ( if not, then we should really talk about your observational skills), but this weekend I ventured to Munich for Oktoberfest– the worlds biggest party. The only other “Oktoberfest” I’ve attended was one in Manhattan two years ago. I would show you a picture of what I looked like, but it’s honestly too frightening. Let’s just say it involves me wearing a bleach-blond, ratty wig and a plastic, bloody hand (?!) stuffed inside my sleeve. Not pretty in any way. You would immediately question my qualification for taking care of children.

This year was much more sane and overall a greater experience. Adam, Nick and I hopped on a train at 7:16 in the morning on Saturday and arrived as everyone was well into the festivities. When we got to the grounds it was a bit of a sensory overload. I didn’t expect it to be so massive. Tents, vendors, rides, games, food stalls, and people surrounded us on all sides. It truly was a sight like I’d never seen, and I’ve even been to the Missouri State Fair. We walked down the main drag and made our first mission getting food. After a bratwurst and roll accompanied by some of the greatest fries of all time, we carried on to obtain our first beer.

At first it didn’t look promising The lines outside the tents were rather long and the weather was adverse, at best. We settled on waiting outside one joint, assuming we had to do our time before we were going to get in anywhere. A waitress came by and took our order and within minutes we were in possession of the elixir of life. Our first beers of the day, and man, they were delicious. Oh, and they only come in one liter steins. God speed.

Guzzling in action. The mugs are literally bigger than my head.

At about this time Adam received a text from an acquaintance that loosely translated to: Come to the tent across the way and say you are with the McKinsley party. Sounded easy enough. We slammed our beers and walked over to the next tent. When we told the kind gentlesir at the front that we had a reservation we were directed to a side door. At this side door Adam said, “We have a reservation under the name McKinsley.” “Oh, of course, come right inside.” Boom! Just like that we were in. No one ever bothered to consult a list or check any kind of ticket. Maybe “McKinsley” is some sort of special code. Or more likely, getting in is just easier than we thought.

We finally arrived inside! Could there be any more joy on his face?

Super party machen

Again, we were hit by waves of sound, smells, and body heat. Inside the tent I found myself overwhelmed. It was just so much bigger than I thought. We wandered around for quite a while, taking in the sights and eventually happened upon the friend that initially invited us. In order to get any beer you must be sitting down at a table. Seeing as we were quite clearly sans table we made friends quickly with a table of young German gentlemen, a few of whom were taking a wee nap at the table (they started drinking at 7 a.m., you see, and by this time it was 2 p.m.). Our first round of beers led to several more and the afternoon passed tremendously. Apparently this is one of the most popular tents, with the greatest atmosphere and overall ambiance. I couldn’t tell you any different as we stayed in this one location for the next 7 hours.

This is the band in the middle of the tent that led us in rousing renditions of traditional German tunes.

Beer, Beer, Beer. One for each of us.

There’s not much more to say about the event. We sat, we drank; we stood, we drank; we danced; we drank. It sounds like an enormous amount of beer drinking, which in some (re:many) ways it was. But, just to ease your angsty about the day, I managed to keep myself respectably composed. I contented myself with about 3.5 liters of beer in the course of the day. When I shared this total with Jill she informed me that “German babies drink more than that for breakfast!” But, for me, it was just the right amount. And the beer was delicious. The Germans certainly know how to make a tasty brew. Overall, the day was s super success. Although it was a short trip, it was definitely worth it. I mean, who doesn’t want to attend the Biggest Party in the World?

I love everything about this picture. It captures the spirit of how fun and festive the day was.