Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Travel Bit: Munich (Part I)

On Wednesday September 27th I had sent an e-mail to my sister, Wendy:
"Now in Stuttgart. Going to Munich tomorrow. Now have hotel reservations; will not have to sleep in a van; feeling reassured."

Yeah, that's right. My friend JK and I had committed to a travel schedule that put us in Munich in the midst of Oktoberfest without benefit of a guaranteed hotel reservation. I was only half-kidding about the van.

JK and I caught a late morning train from Stuttgart to Munich on Thursday September 28th. Once there, we checked in at the Mandarin Oriental, again under the auspices of American Express' fine hotel and resort program. Service standards were very high; we were treated as highly valued guests and from what I could see so were all others. They have a five-star rating, and are often cited as the top hotel in Munich; from what I saw, they keep earning that each day. There's a Mandarin Oriental project forthcoming for Grand Cayman - maybe I had a bit of a preview!

Our room came with a view. Some might not think of it that way - we looked across the street to a multi-level parking garage. For us, it was great - BMWs, Mercedes, Porsches, et al, all in a changing display!

In keeping with the theme of our two days in Munich, I note that the Mandarin Oriental structure is actually attached by an above-ground walkway to the Hofbrauhaus.

For lunch on Thursday we went to the Weisses Brauhaus (Tal), about two blocks from our hotel. We sat outdoors, drank beer, ate Bavarian cuisine, and people-watched.

Late that afternoon (or early that evening, depending upon how you draw the lines), we headed out to Oktoberfest to meet up with one of JK's neighbours. The neighbour just happened to be in Munich for work-related reasons (he's a researcher in robotics). The neighbour was with a colleague, a local professor in robotics.

The four of us went to two of the beer tents, rejecting notions of going on any of the many amusement-park rides (there's a fair-sized carnival at Oktoberfest). The first was the Hacker-Pschorr tent; we ended up sitting at an outdoor picnic-type bench, drinking beer, and snacking. The second was the Paulaner tent, where we stayed inside. The Paulaner tent came complete with a band in the centre, playing various music (including oom-pah!).

Eventually in the Paulaner tent we squeezed around one of the tables, for the most part standing up with the other (college-aged) fellows who were already there. Any concerns about our snagging of space seemed to evaporate when they found the upside of having us there: our tendency to buy rounds. Here I discovered just why men stand up on the benches.

I also discovered that with training-related decrease in alcohol consumption and body composition changes I was not calibrated for how much (read: how little) to consume. No real trouble, but something of which I should have been more mindful.

I had great fun at Oktoberfest, and quite recommend it.


Blogger Wendy said...

Oh ... so men rise for cleavage!!! Your man card may be in good standing.

(And personally, I think being drunk at Oktoberfest once in your life should be de riguer!)

10/17/2006 11:39:00 am  
Blogger Brent Buckner said...

"in good standing" - hah!

Amuses me much as my own "fair-sized carnival" did.

It's like open-mike night with no minimum!

10/17/2006 11:45:00 am  
Blogger Wendy said...

We slay us!

10/17/2006 01:32:00 pm  

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