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Section OH Conquers Oktoberfest

Upon boarding our Lufthansa plane to Munich, Germany, a familiar voice shouted my name. After looking around to see who was calling me, my eyes fell on the beaming face of Martin Hutter. He reached down and picked up a glossy magazine about Munich and handed this to me with a big smile. I had never seen Martin appear this gleefully excited before. Looking at his face, it was hard to not notice how happy he was that Section H was making this trip to his home country. Clearly, this was more than a mere trip back home for him. It was something extra special.

We arrived in Munich after an 8-hour flight, then immediately took a train to Salzberg where we did a walking tour despite the uncooperative weather. With skies the color of unpolished silver, we marveled at the glorious Mirabelle Palace and took pictures where decades earlier, the Sound of Music was being filmed. When some folks in the section were told of this tidbit, they spontaneously burst into a semi-harmonious Do Re Mi, while our Austrian guide tried his best to look amused. Our lone day in Mozart’s hometown ended with a classical concert amidst the splendor of Mirabelle Palace.

The next day, we took a painfully early train back to Munich, stopped to shop for lederhosen, deposited our luggage at the Holiday Inn, then proceeded to the main event: Oktoberfest. It had a carnival-like atmosphere filled with traditional Bavarian songs, one-liter beer mugs and colorful costumes. Tents operated by breweries located in Munich were scattered across the grounds along with rides and souvenir booths. In the two days we spent in Munich, the Lowenbrau and the Hippodrom tents were where all the action happened. The latter, in fact, according to our other “German Shepherd” Sebastian Roemer, was the supposed “celebrity tent.” Unfortunately, they were mostly local stars who none of us recognized.

One of the personal highlights of the trip for me was the walking tour we did in the morning of our second day in Munich. Photography is one of my passions so having the opportunity to snap shots around such a beautiful but cosmopolitan city was an utter joy. While going around Munich, Sebastian mentioned that he’d actually spent a lot of time in the city and had returned there on multiple occasions this year. One of my section mates reacted, “Oh, so that means this must be really boring for you?” Sebastian turned around and with his usual warm smile replied, “Of course not! I’m with you guys.” Truer words have never been spoken. Jagadeesh!

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeitÿ
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeitÿ
Eins, zwei, drei g’suffa!

October 6, 2008
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