Oktoberfest advice: avoid these common injuries!

As fun as Oktoberfest is, there are still some dangers lurking, particularly where beer steins are involved. This friend (who will remain somewhat anonymous) demonstrates a couple common Oktoberfest injuries for us. See this vertical welt on her forehead?

Here she reenacts how she got it:

My advice: don’t do this.

Injury number two: blisters from repeatedly lifting a Maβ beer stein.

My advice: um, bring weightlifting gloves?

Anyone else sustaining any Oktoberfest injuries?

UPDATE: I’ve since written a post with more comprehensive Oktoberfest advice for first-timers, in case that is what you’re looking for.

Breathalyzer, Oktoberfest style

This Fräulein was administering breathalyzer tests to the guys at the table behind us in the Hippodrom, but not for the usual reasons. They weren’t interested in finding out whether they were fit to drive (the Premier of Bavaria has already educated them about that). Instead, they were receiving certificates proudly boasting the blood alcohol level they had achieved.

In other Oktoberfest news, there’s a dirndl-gate! And it has nothing to do with a boob popping out. As if that weren’t enough, lederhosen have their own scandal going on. Who knew old-timey clothing could be so controversial?

Two days down, 14 more to go

Greetings from Oktoberfest 2008! We are still alive and well. The city is awash with drunken tourists and locals alike, most of them wearing some kind of tracht, or at least funny hats (note to self: take more photos of funny hats). Many precious memories are in the making here, I tell you, and we are only one weekend in to this 16-day festival. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind Headbang8 about our mutual agreement to not post embarrassing photos of each other.

The Hippodrom – supposedly the young, hip, flirty tent with a high number of celebrity sightings. We did see some guys being followed around by video cameras and a boom mic, but alas none of us were able to recognize them.

The Weinzelt (wine tent – no maβes here!)

The Ochsenbraterei (ox roaster). This was our third tent of the day yesterday. I hardly have any pictures from inside. Probably better that way.

If you want an animal roasted on a spit, Oktoberfest is the place for you!

The pregnant chick stole our beers!

One popular festival song here in Germany is about playing cowboys and Indians (which I for one take offense to – how dare the Germans appropriate our cultural heritage! WE come from the land of cowboys and Indians, that’s OUR childhood game, dammit!). Anyway, the song comes with a choreography kind of like the Macarena, except with lassos. Really, I am not making this up.

Our neighbors from the next table over get a little fresh with our kilt-wearing Scot.

I was all set to declare the Weinzelt the most sophisticated tent, and then the band came out wearing giant condom suits. Why yes, those are enormous hairy balls that jiggle when they move their legs. Thanks for asking.

More to come!

Does Oktoberfest have its own language?

All over the place I’ve been hearing references to Bayerisch (the Bavarian language) in connection to Oktoberfest. The official website has an English-Bayerisch dictionary. A friend gave me an Oktoberfest song book* which also includes a Bayerisch phrase guide (and an interview with Roberto Blanco, of all people. WTF? All I know is that if he’s performing at Oktoberfest, I am so there.) Advertisements seem to be tossing in a Bayerisch phrase or two all over the city.

This confuses me a bit (“this” meaning the whole Bayerisch thing, although the Roberto Blanco thing also has me a little baffled). First of all, despite warnings to the contrary from non-Bavarian Germans, Bayerisch is not the default language in Munich. German is. People don’t speak Bayerisch at me,** and they don’t speak it around me. In my eight months here, I have heard very little Bayerisch, and trust me, I do a lot of eavesdropping. You want to see a city where people speak dialect instead of a real language? Go try Zurich, because Munich is pretty solidly a convert to the Hochdeutsch camp. I hear more English and Italian here than I do Bayerisch. Secondly, rumor has it that Oktoberfest is sooooo commercial and so very overrun with tourists that the locals, for the most part, are oh-so-fed-up, and don’t even hardly go to the Wies’n anymore.

So whom, exactly, is going to be speaking all this Bayerisch at me? Is it one of those scenes like Colonial Williamsburg or a Renaissance fair where the employees get all crazy into character and refuse to speak like a normal person? Somehow I’m skeptical. But just in case, I’m arming myself with a few key vocabulary words and phrases. Feel free to print this out and carry it around as a cheat-sheet. Oktoberfest starts tomorrow!

Z ‘ dringga mächd i biddschee a Mass! - I’d like to have a beer.
biddscheen – please / you’re welcome.
Deaf i mi zu dia hisizn? - May I sit down here?
Naa – no
Zoin - The bill, please.
aufmandeln – to aggrandize oneself, especially when you do not find any free seats in the beer tents.
aufstöin – to donate a beer.
Bierdimpfe – notorious beer drinker, “tavern potato”.
Fetznrausch – totally drunk.
Gaudinockerln – luxuriant breasts
Weißbia – wheat beer (only in the smaller beer tents at Oktoberfest)
Deaf i Dia a Busserl gem. - I’d like to give you a kiss.
* The Oktoberfest Song Book comes on a long blue ribbon, so that you can hang it around your neck. Very handy!
** As if trying to prove me wrong, a little old lady actually came up to me and spoke Bayerisch in the grocery store today.

Am I the only one who is confused by this sign?

Not the part in Norwegian – I understood that perfectly, it says “age limit 24″. But the English part had me puzzled. Do I have to take my bra off to go in? I wondered. Do they have something against jock straps?

Is it common for bars to have such signs up, and I’ve just never noticed before?

Norway: the Lofoten Islands

The part of our trip I was looking forward to the most was the part north of the Arctic Circle, four days in the Lofoten Islands. The Lofotens form a big, mountainous wall in the middle of the ocean, and are speckled with lakes and fishing villages. These islands receive six weeks of constant sun in the summer and a month of absolute darkness (“Arctic winter”) in the winter. Around this time of year, though, the days were a pleasantly normal length, and although the temperatures were lower than in Oslo, the Gulf Stream keeps it from getting unmanageably cold.

We split our sleeping between Svolvær and Å, and traveled back and forth by bus. The bus ride was sweepingly scenic, but the cost and infrequency of the buses makes me think we’d have been better off renting a car (even though that was also not a cheap option). Our ride back involved a 3-hour layover in Leknes, perhaps the only village on the island that was not at all scenic or interesting. We decided their tourism slogan should be “Leknes: for when you’re tired of the view.” At least they had a liquor store (“vinmonopolet”).

Svolvær (Å will get a post of its own) is known as the capital of the Lofoten Islands, and contains such big-city features as a grocery store and more than one restaurant. It is easy to get to and from since it has an airport and also the Hurtigruten comes daily. There are also many accommodation options here. Although not quite as beautiful as the the smaller villages on the islands, Svolvær was plenty picturesque. Our favorite restaurant in town was Bacalao, a relatively affordable cafe with a variety of food on offer, plus a variety of cocktails, and coffee with free refills (this was something I started to love about Norwegian restaurants, along with the free tap water with lime).

The Lofoten Islands are known for their dried fish production, still done the old-fashioned way: fish are caught and then hung out on these large wooden structures to dry. The fish-drying racks are all over the place. While I’m sure it is quite a site to see, I think I’m happy our trip didn’t coincide with fish season – I don’t know that my sensitive nose could have handled that.

We arrived in the Lofoten Islands via Hurtigruten, and departed via prop plane. Both of these transportation choices offered some fabulous scenery, so I’m glad we did it this way.

What would you do with €5,800 cash?

Yeah, we thought the answer was pretty obvious, too:

It’s true, stuff + cats does = awesome! Thanks to Oscar for being such a good sport.

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