Monday, October 5, 2009

What October Fest is REALLY like

Hi Everyone! This past weekend I had to make another excursion, this time to Munich in order to some research for an Art History paper. My assignment is to write an essay on one of the pieces in the Alte Pinakothek (one of Munich's many great museums) so I chose "The Four Apostles" by Albrecht Dürer to write about.

Fortunately, a bunch of other kids from the program also wanted to head to Munich for the last weekend of October Fest, so we all pooled together to get the cheap group train tickets. Julie & Julia and myself all got a ticket together so that we could head back a bit earlier than the others. On the train there, I actually ran into my friend George, who was also going to the Festival! It was a funny coincidence, and made me look like a cool kid, since I actually knew someone not in the program.

After a pretty two-hour train ride through Bavaria, we arrived at the Hauptbahnhof of Munich, and I have never seen so much lederhosen in all my life. The train station was packed with people in dirndls and national garb, all heading to October Fest. So, determined to avoid October Fest at all costs, I said goodbye to my friends, who went to follow the swarm of excited Germans, and I went off on my to find the Alte Pinakothek.

It's a beautiful building, north of the train station, and architecturally designed to look like a Venetian palace. Inside I ascended the massive left staircase, and explored the world of Gothic, Renaissance, and Post-Renaissance art. They had lots of great pieces, including Albrecht Dürer's self-portrait, works by Tiepolo, Raphael, lots of Rubens, Tiepolo, and more. After trying to decide which of the other three incredible art museums to visit that day, I decided on the Pinakothek der Moderne, which is right across the street.

This building was full of interesting pieces, and loaded with aspects of design from the past century. The basement harbored many examples of furniture, technology and jewelry, and fun pod-like rocking chairs that you got to sit in. The ground floor had an interesting photography exhibit, portraying the architecture of Berlin and New York City in contrast. Then I made my way to the East Wing on the first floor, where most of their painting collection is. Amazing works by Picasso, Lucio Fontana, Max Beckmann, and many of my favorite surrealists could be found there. The east wing hosted Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol, Don Flavin, and several video pieces that were also pretty neat. Lots of sketching was accomplished...

By then I was starving, and after searching for a decent looking place to eat, I just got a little pizza from a restaurant near the train station, not really feeling like wandering around a thoroughly inebriated Munich alone by night, and then found a BAGEL shop, which was also very exciting. At 7:30 Julie and Julia met up with me, and we boarded the train to head back to Salzburg.

Here's where I share with you the aftermath of a day spent at October Fest. Before leaving the train station, a belligerent drunk started a fight in our car, resulting in spilled beer and a bratwurst roll falling on poor Julie, and some unassuming man being tossed out of the train, who then sat next to me on the train with a cut bleeding on his forehead. Pleasant. Then, a bunch of completely wasted people a few seats back from us proceeded to sing "Low Rider" and "The Chicken Dance" (if indeed, it can be sung), and smoke (against the rules) until they mercifully departed about half way to Salzburg. So, tip: if you REALLY want to go to October Fest, go as early as you can and leave as early as you can. That way you'll get a good seat in the tents, and have at least a few sober people with you on the train. I'm glad we didn't catch a later train, because it would have been a lot worse...So, this is what they don't show you on TV, as the press is required to only show the nice aspects of the festival, they don't tell you about the hill where people pass out, and cops have to periodically check their pulse, or any gross stuff like that.

But, we made it back to Salzburg safe and sound, after this only mildly revolting and somewhat entertaining train ride. So that was an interesting day.

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