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Arriving at Munich's Oktoberfest 2010
I came to Munich primarily to experience Oktoberfest in this, its 200th anniversary. The historic festival originally began as a celebration of the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig and Therese, Princess of Saxony back in 1810. Parades, games, music and (of course!) beer flowed at the huge wedding party. In 1818, Oktoberfest became an official beer festival and has been going strong ever since. Today approximately 1.5 million people show up to Oktoberfest each year in the capital of Bavaria.
I started out from the hotel, took the U Bahn' (the efficient subway system) to the Theresienwiese -- named after Princess Therese -- the Oktoberfest area. Walking two blocks, I encountered a rocking' carnival. Brilliant lights, screaming rides for kids and adults, food stalls, games of skill (in one you had to kick a soccer ball past a live goalie and hit a bull's-eye), and everything else you'd expect at first rate amusement park. Thousands enjoyed the fun.
Then I saw the beer gardens...
A band at the front played all kinds of music inducing the crowd, many standing on benches, to sing along in unison. The tunes included "Sweet Caroline," Take Me Home," and a "traditional" old German disco classic, "I Will Survive." Some thought this was an old German song but, ha, I recognized it immediately.
And the beer kept flowing...
Bob Ecker is a Napa, California based travel writer/photographer providing worldwide magazines and newspapers with compelling travel, hospitality, wine, culinary, skiing, film and innovative feature content. He is constantly on the go, traveling the world, unearthing new stories and uncorking emerging regions. He is current Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) member and former President of the Bay Area Travel Writers (BATW).