Three years ago our friends Mary Beth and Sven took some other mutual friends to Oktoberfest in Munich. Everyone had a blast, and the pictures and stories made us want to go someday ourselves. It helps a lot that Sven is a native Bavarian, and his brother Ralph lives in Munich, so they know how to make arrangements and do it all right.
Oktoberfest was canceled the past two years because of COVID. So earlier this year, when it looked like the festivities were back on, we decided to make the pilgrimage, along with Mary Beth and Sven and a couple other mutual friends. Jim and I decided to turn the adventure into a 2-1/2 week tour of Bavaria.
We caught a flight from New York to Frankfurt, and then a connection to Salzburg, Austria, a good starting point for our journey across Bavaria, since the town where Sven grew up is pretty much a suburb of Salzburg, just over the German border.
Jim had never been to Salzburg, and it had been 38 years for me. I have the fondest memories of hiking here with friends back then and obsessively singing songs from the “Sound of Music,” which was set and filmed in and around this beautiful town.
The town is just as lovely as ever. As an added bonus we got a little sneak preview of Oktoberfest because Salzburg’s own Oktoberfest started the day after we arrived. Based on everything we know, this was a very tame version of the big event in Munich. But it was fun to watch the crowds gather in their lederhosen (the guys) and dirndls (the girls), fill up the tents, and get down to the serious business of drinking beer and celebrating German culture.