Archive for the ‘beer’ Tag

Oktoberfest 2009

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Couldn’t resist!

Now it’s less fun going on your own, and I arrived a bit too late both Friday and Saturday, so I did not manage to get a seat indoors, but satisfied myself with beers outside, on two very nice fall days in Munich. Friday was a bit of a hazy memory, pretty much I stepped off the train, checked into the hotel, and started drinking, had too much, sobered up a bit at dinner, and finished the evening with a tequila sunrise. The train ride, incidentally, started at 9 AM and people were already sloshed on the train. I still can’t quite get over the thought of drinking alcohol before noon. But then again, midnight is before noon, right?

Serious exercise, she was probably hauling 20 kilos of beer.

Serious exercise, she was probably hauling 20 kilos of beer.

Saturday was incredibly crowded, being a public holiday (Tag der deutschen Einheit), so the tents were filled to capacity and I couldn’t get in. Add to that a football match between F.C. Koeln and Bayern Munich, so you had football fans from both sides at a beer festival. And where else could you be getting drunk sitting next to a Bavarian, an American, a Finn, and an Italian all at the same table?

Despite the warm weather and being packed to the brim on Saturday, attendance this year was down from last year. Undoubtedly the economic crisis, and the threats made against Oktoberfest had something to do with it.

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The Augustiner 'tent', capacity 9000+

The Augustiner 'tent', capacity 9000+

Lederhosen, nice.

Lederhosen, nice.

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Pavement pizzas in the making

Pavement pizzas in the making

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California 2009, Part 0, Portland

Pardon the very generic title. I went for my annual trip to California, which is inevitably post-Labor Day, and I circle the lower half of the state, and am decidedly not so adventurous. Normally I try to see new stuff in my travels, but once a year, I visit the same places, visit friends and family, and do the same things. But it’s a healthy, happy routine, and I manage to feel a bit more vigorous, and feel like my old self again.

This is Part 0, because the trip started with a very brief prelude in Portland, Oregon. That’s right, I made a quickie stop in Portland for beer and lunch, it was raining (OMG), and the 10.5 hour flight ran just a bit too long in Lufthansa’s very cramped economy cabin. LH468 was packed to the brim, so why has Lufthansa canceled this flight?

This flight's taking too long.

This flight's taking too long.

As usual, gray Northwest skies and rain.

As usual, gray Northwest skies and rain.

PDX feels downright like a ghost town compared to the mega-airports that I normally fly out of, making for a rather unusual way of entering the United States. I took the MAX into town, which was remarkably convenient, I wish that other cities in the U.S. would make it this easy to get downtown.

So this is one of the trendiest cities in the U.S., it’s been lauded for its restaurant scene, being bike-friendly, year-round skiing and snowboarding, the Blazers, great beer, etc. etc. etc. I headed straight for the Bridgeport Brewery in the Pearl District. The district is unrecognizable from the industrial wasteland it used to be, now it’s all expensive condos and trendy shops and restaurants. I kind of preferred the run-down state of NW Portland, complete with the quintessential Pacific Northwest Skid Row (downtown Eastside Vancouver, Pioneer Square Seattle, and NW Portland, add some rain).

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Steel Bridge, Big Pink, go Blazers!

Steel Bridge, Big Pink, go Blazers!

The city’s grown up a bit, but it still has that feel of a small town. Despite all this recent development, it’s not Seattle or Vancouver, which have international reputations, but it’s stubbornly provincial, and unhappy with being in the public glare. I had my beer and lunch, chatted for a couple hours with my former English teacher I had not seen in many years, and headed back to the airport for the flight down to California.

So there you go, five hours in Portland.

Oktoberfest, September 2008

A weekend of Absinthe and beer

There’s really little more to say- this is the beerfest to end all beerfests. For two weeks in Munich in late September, the city swells with visitors from everywhere who quaff expensive, stronger than normal 1 L denominations of beer. I’m one of them.

I arrived on Friday night, the day before the keg was tapped, to catch the premiere of the new Absinthe snowboarding flick, Ready, but aside from seeing plenty of kids there primarily to get trashed, it was a mellow, though late evening for me. I did get to meet a number of the cast and crew, which included some of my favorite pro riders. It’s also clearly not as much fun going on your own.

some of the cast and crew

some of the cast and crew

But now a bit about the main event, I went twice, actually, the day of the opening, and then for much of Sunday afternoon. Didn’t get a seat inside, so I stood outside on a chilly, overcast September day and had my high quality Augustiner brew.

YES!

YES!

boyzone. . .

boyzone. . .

crazy aussies

crazy aussies

the 8000 person tent. . .

the 8000 person tent. . .

And then Sunday I went with some friends and six hours later, I didn’t even recall shooting off 270 photos, was too drunk to catch my train back, and ended up staying the night before taking the 6 AM train back to the office.

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