Just as the true San Franciscan will tell you to forget the Golden Gate Bridge and go see the Wave Organ, the true Münchner will tell you that Oktoberfest is pretty wrecked with English and you should really see Starkbierfest.
It is like a small Oktoberfest, but attended by few tourists from beyond Bavaria. The beer is not bad. This is ironic, because the story of Starkbierfest, as told by Dennis (our host), is this: the local monks petitioned the Pope, some centuries ago, for permission to serve a particular beer during Lent. The sample which they brought to Rome was improperly made and improperly stored, and transported a long way, and when it was finally presented at the Vatican, it was so wretched that its consumption was regarded as compatible with the spirit of abnegation which characterizes the Lenten fast. Therefore, it is allowed to have this “Strong Beer” between Ash Wednesday and Easter, and “Starkbierfest” celebrates this.
Other than the history, there is not much self-denial in evidence. There is much noise in evidence. Many knees dancing, between Lederhosen and Dirndl and tall socks. Many knees eaten, which they call Schweinshaxen. If anyone out there has a kneecap fetish, it will be well served by sitting on the benches and watching the people jumping around on the tables, to some combination of cover band and DJ.
The conquest of a people is complete when their kids don’t distinguish the culture of the conqueror from their own: All the songs but one are 80’s-90’s rock radio USA. The one surviving German riff is that which cues drinking.
The Münchners clink glasses on the bottom — how does that square with the theory that the gesture derives from tipping wine into the other’s glass to prove that it is not poisoned?
Thursday, a friend came from Konstanz to visit us. We met Duje in Lisbon not so long ago. He approached us in a cafe because he hadn’t seen people writing post cards before. We have kept in touch. On this occasion, we walked around in the drizzle after tea and went to the art gallery “Pinakothek” which had a bunch of modern stuff and no stage lit black bits unless you count some of Mark Rothko’s more Black Flag Logo-inspired works. It’s always nice to tour a gallery with someone who has training in art.
On Friday, we took the Flixbus to Ljubljana. If you order on line from Flixbus, use a throwaway email; they will write to you every day, as if riding buses was what you lived for.