MUNICH, GERMANY — 14 Americans. 10 pairs of lederhosen. 4 dirndls. One month of debauchery and untold liters of bier. You do the math.
Time just seems to slip by here. It’s hard to imagine it had been over a year since I’ve seen some of the most important people in my life — including my brothers and best buds. So it seemed that collision or my 30th birthday and the 202nd version of the legendary Oktoberfest was the perfect opportunity to remedy the situation — if not the hangovers.
Elliott was the first to arrive — dropping in in early September to spend a month in Munich as a kind of transition before his big move out west. We toured some of the city’s best breweries and biergartens — a tour that only ramped up when cousins Jennifer and Cristina arrived a week later. Andechs, Weihenstephaner, Weltenburg; one by one we knocked off some of the most famous bier institutions in Bavaria, steadying our livers for when the big day arrived.
And then it came. A first Sunday at the Wies’n to get our bearings with the whole German Heigert clan and we were ready to Prost. Later that week, the dudes started hitting one by one. First Marty and crew, Richard, Jared, Chris. S-Bahn trips to the airport mixed with hazy biers; disappearing Augustiner crates and $48 haircut songs.
Elliott took off for Prague to meet up with Nate and Kelly and the three of them came in on a foggy Bavarian day. Then Nick came, making his European debut as the rest of the crew held down the last table in the Hacker tent. With the addition of Rachel, the official Heigtoberfest Wies’n was complete.
Tents were ravaged — Spaten, Hacker, Loewenbraeu, Hippodrom — and day trips to Andechs, Schloss Neuschwanstein and around Munich marked the time between table dancing and hearty renditions of “Country Roads”.
As the Wies’n season began to wind down, the dudes left one by one, just as they came in. Elliott, true to form, was the last man standing — taking off for a stopover in Helsinki before flying back to Chicago last Wednesday.
14 friends. One amazing month. A million hazy, crazy memories. In the end, it came too quickly and was over just the same. But it was the best goddamn birthday present I’ve ever received.
So one last Prost to Oktoberfest 2012!