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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oktoberfest in Munich, 2011

After leaving Füssen, we checked into the Four Points Hotel by Oktoberfest, then went out to some clubs as it was pretty late by that point.

The next morning, I got up and got into my lederhosen to catch a bit of the opening parade--starting my 7th Oktoberfest in Munich. Then we checked into the hotel we would stay in for the next three nights, the Le Meridien. 

Parade on opening weekend of Oktoberfest
Then, it was time for lunch at one of my favorite outdoor biergartens, Augustiner Keller. 

After lunch, Jonathan and I walked to Marienplatz, the central square in Munich, to do some shopping. I bought some shoes to go with my lederhosen.
In front of the Rathaus
A pic of the new shoes, standing on a bench later at the Braürosl Tent:

Afterwards, we made our way to the Wies'n (the Oktoberfest fairgournds) to ride some crazy rides.

One of my yearly traditions, the Toboggan, is in the background

The best part of the Toboggan is the ride up, and watching people fall down trying

Sunset on the Wies'n 
After rides, Jonathan and I went to my favorite Munich pizza place, Sinan's. We go every year after the tents for more beer, great pizza, music and dancing. This was the first year we had gotten the "Wies'n Pizza" with leberkasse, mustard, and pickles.

The next morning, we got up early to start our day in the Bräurosl tent with some coworkers, drinking liters of beer and listening to the band and just having a really jolly time. 

First beers of the day

With new friends
I stayed in the Bräurosl tent until it was time for our reservations at the Hacker-Pschorr tent, the place where we've had reservations for seven years running. 

Hacker-Pschorr tent 

Inside the Hacker-Pschorr tent, from our table on the balcony
The next morning, Jonathan and I went back to Bräurosl and had lunch. Afterwards, we met our Sunday night Hacker tent crew (Ed, Liz, Loren, Mark, and Lisa) back at Hacker to sit outside.

At Hacker on Monday afternoon
We left Hacker to go to the Augustiner tent before heading out for more rides.

Inside the Augustiner tent
Night Rides

This one I didn't ride, but wish I had:

I left Munich this year convinced that this was the best Oktoberfest ever. I swear, I gets better every year.  Which is why I have already booked my hotel for next year!  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Füssen and Hohenschwangau, Germany

Me overlooking Neuschwanstein Castle

This year's annual trip to Oktoberfest started with a flight to Zurich, Switzerland on September 15. Jonathan and I flew with our friends Rachel and Keith to Zurich, where they rented a car and drove through Austria to Germany--a gorgeous ride through the beautiful countryside.

On the ride from Zurich to Füssen
We arrived in Füssen, Germany, checked Rachel and Keith into their hotel, and I did a bit of walking around to see the town.

We hit the ground running and drove to Hohenschwangau, near Füssen, to see the Castles of the Bavarian King Ludwig II.  Hohenschwangau had been the "summer castle" in which King Ludwig had grown up in, and from where he watched the construction of his famous castle, Neuschwanstein for 17 years.

We toured the interior of Hohenschwangau Castle. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed. It was interesting, however, that the Queen had her own floor, the King his own floor, and there was a hidden stairwell connecting their two bedrooms, his directly on top of hers.

From the castle, there were wonderful views of the lake, Schwansee, which borders Hohenschwangau. The lake is so blue!

Jonathan and his signature pose over Schwansee

After touring the castle, we stopped in the village for some lunch and some beers at Bräustüberl. I had a nice bratwurst and a helles beer.

Village below the castle. Yellow building is where the lunch and beers were purchased.

A dunkel, a helles, and a weissbier under Schloss Hohenschwangau
After lunch, we hiked up to Castle Neuschwanstein. King Ludwig lived in this castle for only 172 days before being deposed and his mysterious death. The interior was not fully completed.

We walked first to the Castle (about a 20 minute walk -- all uphill, then around the castle on a hike which led us to a bridge called Marienbrücke, which spans the Pöllat gorge, overlooking a waterfall that is almost 100 yards tall.

Neuswanstein Castle from Bridge Marienbrücke
Waterfall far below the bridge

After a gorgeous day visiting the castles, we hiked back down, drove back into Füssen, then Jonathan and I took the 7:05 train to Munich to begin the Oktoberfest adventure.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Toronto Film Festival -- amfAR fundraiser

On the Red Carpet at the Toronto Film Festival. Sept. 11, 2011

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