TOUR TALES # 6 – HOW TO KILL 4 HOURS IN MUNICH
I love Germany. It’s honestly one of my favourite places on Earth.
If you are a Canadian and you travel to Germany, you will have the BEST time. I am not kidding. If food, beer, music and shenanigans are up there on your list of enjoyable activities, then Germany will have something for you. On top of being a Canadian – which on the grand stage of the world is like having 24/7 reserved seating at a high-end restaurant – there are so many familiarities of home across that beautiful country that warms your stomach and roses your cheeks. The beer is plentiful and (by Canadian standards) inexpensive. The first time I visited Germany, it tripped me out when I saw a guy with a full pint of weiss checking out fruit in a grocery market. Then I saw another guy just walking down the street pouring a big stein of red ale down his hatch. I mean… it’s not that uncommon in Canada… just not in the middle of the day… in a crowd of people. Imagine how Canadians would react if all of a sudden we were allowed to drink whatever the hell we wanted to in public, with only the slightest expectation that we could keep control of ourselves? People here already don’t do that. It would be fucking pandemonium.
So to say I took full advantage of Germany’s comically loose public alcohol consumption laws is an understatement. Within hours of my first visit, my drummer and I emptied out one of our suitcases and rolled it down to the nearest supermarket armed with all the euros we had on us. It wasn’t even that expensive… like 50 euros to fill that fucker up with tall cans. It was like you gave my 9-year-old self the keys to the video game aisle at Walmart (yeah, I know they don’t lock them up anymore. Fuck off) and then told me I could take for free whatever I could carry.
Do yourself a favour and book yourself a one-way ticket to Dusseldorf or Munich. Let the rest iron itself out after you get your first stein and schnitzel. Skyscanner, Airtransat or Luththansa have been excellent places where I’ve gotten inexpensive airfare in the past. I feel like when I travel to Germany, my cares seem to wash away (and I’m sure I’ll be telling more Germany-based stories on here in the future).
In this particular installment of Tour Tales, we find ourselves in München (Munich for us North Americans) – the capital and most populated city in Bavaria. Now, considering I can’t mention “Germany” without also mentioning “drinking”, I will also let it be known that it was the beginning of October. Now, enlighten me: what happens in Germany – specifically Munich – in October? The annual beer and schnitzel convention? Lederhosen awareness week? Some sort of Fest? I dunno… Regardless, we were but a short 5 minute train ride from the venue we were playing to this fest.
For the uninitiated, I will warn you that Oktoberfest is a lesson in controlled chaos. I hesitated for a while on that last sentence, because it is hard to imagine any form of control being exercised here.
Imagine you have 3 fully occupied soccer stadiums lined up end to end, and you want to cross to the furthest side. The thousand and thousands of people occupying this space are not only hammered, incoherent and stumbling, but they are all moving in different directions at once. Sort of like a gigantic colony of apocalyptically drunk 110-300 lb lederhosen and dirndl-clad bees. Awe-inspiring and terrifying, I know! This is the worst place to go to with more than 3 other people. We had 10+.
As you sidestep around passerby, you will have to step over the bodies of people who have passed out drunk in a puddle of their own vomit. All of a sudden you have to stop because an untethered horse clops across your path inches from your face. You catch a glimpse of 2 people banging behind a hedge. You hop over mounds of horse shit from an entirely different horse. Garbage and broken glass crunch and crack beneath each step.
Upon my questioning, I was told that you register for an Oktoberfest bracelet well ahead of time that lists your name, phone number, hotel you are staying at and your room number. So when you pass out drunk on the ground, then some collection service a-la Monty Python style can roll by, heap you onto their body cart and deliver your miserable heap of a body directly to your hotel room. What the fuck!
It is fucking madness. I feel like Dan Harmon should write an Oktoberfest universe into an episode of Rick and Morty. He could totally have his way with it to any extreme and it wouldn’t even be slightly out of the ordinary.
Despite all this, we had soundcheck in just a little over 3 hours, so we needed to hustle. Unfortunately for us, none of us had registered with any of the beer vendor buildings, so we had to be creative and crafty in our quest for ale consumption. Our leader – Chris Bowes (of course Alestorm have a hand in this, as no drunk Euro-adventure would be complete otherwise) – spotted a small and somehow under-occupied weiss beer tent in the distance. Within 10 minutes we all had gigantic, frothy pints of weiss beer in hand and our sights set on what to accomplish next. And to our delight, all our sights landed at once onto the massive, green, dragon-themed roller coaster right in front of our tent. Hell. Yes.
Fully giddy and full of alcohol, we returned to the venue the same way we came. The show was awesome and the night spiralled off into the unfamiliar bliss of a drunken German night.
The moral here: GO TO GERMANY.
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