Maria & I just got back from a couple of weeks in Europe - culminating in a couple of days at Oktoberfest in Munich.
Here are the pictures:
Part 1: London
This year's European adventure took us to London where we met up with my parents who were wrapping up THEIR first trip to Europe (2 weeks in Italy + stops in Paris & London). We stayed near Marble Arch and highlights of our time in London with my parents included the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, a double-decker bus tour (touristy yes - but we love doing these. It's the best way to see the sights), a cruise down the Thames, a spin on the London Eye and high tea at Harrods. Maria & I also spent a little time in a great pub near our place, and we took in a show in the West End (Avenue Q -you know I'm not a theater guy but it was pretty great!)
Part 2: Ireland
After London - we went over to Dublin where we met up with our friends Jamie & Weylan (Kansas natives living in PDX) who also came from PDX to visit Weylan's brother Austin, who's taking a term abroad from KSU at a school in Dublin. We spent a couple of days in & around Dublin learning the subtleties of Guinness before taking the train to the other side of the country for a night in Galway. We also took a bus tour out to the Cliffs of Moehr - which is/are extremely impressive.
Part 3: Munich/Oktoberfest
After Ireland - Jamie & Weylan and Maria & I made our way to Munich to go to Oktoberfest. In Munich - we met up with our friend Josh who was making his 5th consecutive pilgrimage to Oktoberfest (Josh is also a native Kansas guy living in PDX). Josh introduced us to several friends he's met over the years - many of whom have also been to Oktoberfest a number of times. You'll see these guys in our pictures - they're wearing flight suits. :)
In addition to Oktoberfest - we did a little walking around Munich and even took a half day or so to go visit a monastery outside of town. Did I mention that the monks at this monastery specialize in brewing beer? BIG SURPRISE! The pork knuckle was also pretty sweet - if you go through the pictures, you'll see a picture or two of Maria working over a pork knuckle.
People ask what Oktoberfest is like. It's actually easy to describe but the description does it no justice... the pictures don't really cut it either. Oktoberfest is set on a large fairground in Munich - it's a lot like going to the state fair, but instead of livestock & barns - there are beer tents. There are amusement park rides, food vendors, games and all the stuff you'd see at the fair. It's HUGE - and so are the beer tents. We mostly stuck to the Hofbrau tent - which holds something like 9,200 people (including the outdoor beer garden - the inside holds something on the order of 7,500 people). Inside the tents - there is lots of music and singing, beer wenches carrying an amazing number of liter-size beer steins, lots of beer drinking and generally - just lots of happy people. Despite the alcohol - it's not particularly rowdy. Well - maybe the last hour or so gets a little rowdy. :) Anyway - it's a great time and the trip was a TON of fun... but I'm still a little wiped out. It was one of those trips where you definitely need a vacation after the fact.
Enjoy the pictures!