Natalia and I decided to check out Bavaria and the Black Forest for Oktoberfest this year.
Yes, I know that she teaches and isn't supposed to take time off during the school year, but we're
young and supposed to do stuff like this.


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So, because Natalia's flight to Munich had major maintenance problems, she wound up being about 7 hours late.
Rather than hang around the airport, I decided to get checked in and check out another area of Germany I
hadn't been to. Before leaving town though, I had to have my first bratwurst. Yummy!


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I took the S-bahn out to Starnberg since the weather was amazing and I needed some exercise. Here is a
really nice house right in Starnberg.


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This house is even cooler than the last one.


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My goal was to rent a bike and circumnavigate the lake (about 50 km). This is the view from the
ferry at Starnberg looking to the south at the Bavarian Alps in the distance.


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I biked around the lake in a clockwise direction to maximise the amount of time I got to spend in the sun.
This is near the town of Berg.


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The houses around the east side of the lake were just sick. Some of them could have housed a family of 40.
This was one of the smaller houses and it also had a big boat house at the water level.


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Map of the northern section of the Starnberger See.


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Map of the southern section of the Starnberger See.


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This is a great example of Bavarian architecture and I love it! I love the dark wood and the flowers hanging from
each veranda. Very very cute.


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This sign made me laugh. As you would expect, it is a sign for an outhouse.


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This is the back of the chapel dedicated to King Ludwig II, who was found drowning in this lake shortly after the state goverment forced
him to abdicate the thrown for reasons of insanity.


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The cross in the water marks the point where he was found face down with his doctor. A tragic end to a really
odd guy. More on him in a bit.


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More info about Ludwig's chapel.


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Another beautiful Bavarian home along the Starnberger See.


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I stopped in the town of Ambach for a beer and a break. About every few kms there seemed to be a
hotel or a restaurant and each of them had a biergarten. I love this country!


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This is a photo of a sign I took for my dad, since it shows all of the fish in Germany.


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Another nice view of the lake from the east side of the lake. The mountains just kept getting bigger!


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On the west side of the lake, there were many old castles, which are now either owned by the state,
or being used for museums or both. This palace is a leftover from Empress Elisabeth of the Hapsburgs I think.


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This is an octopus swallowing a BMW at the Museum of the Imagination (or something like that).


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On the west side of the lake, I struggled to stay on the lake path, and here I wound up in some farmer's
courtyard. I thought his squash looked cool, so I took a photo of it.


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This sign is super awesome. Stay away from this area if you're a cyclist I guess.


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I stopped for another beer in the town of Tutzing and got to try a monastic brew from Andechs Brewery.


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A few sailboats in the lake on the way back to Starnberg.


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There is a small island on the lake that now hosts classical music concerts. The dock to go across to the
island was totally submerged though.


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Another palace enroute to Starberg.


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I took this photo of a billboard for my dad's co-workers at the Royal Bank. They have a side business
where they dance, called the 'Ray-Rays'.


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Starnberger See, from Starnberg with the sun down.


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Yeah, I even tried to pretend I was a real photographer and took a swan photo.


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Beer 3 of the bike ride. I could get used to this type of fitness activity.


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Since Natalia hadn't landed yet and I know she likes food, I took a photo of my dinner. I think it's
sole but since my German is garbage, I'm only guessing here.


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So, after a 7 hour delay (thanks Air Canada), Natalia did finally arrive in Munich and we made it back to
our hotel. The next morning we headed to Marienplatz to see one of my favourite things in the world -
the Glockenspiel in the new town hall. Here, you see the last action of the moving clock works, one of the
knights (from Munich of course) defeats the other knight in battle.


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One of Natalia's favourite things is bakeries. Our first stop after the glockenspiel was to check out a local
bakery. I'm quite sure she found some type of pastry from here she liked.


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As we were walking, the Hofbrauhaus horses and float from the parade rode by so we took a photo.


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Here's Natalia tucking into her first German pastry.


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And here's me having another one. Natalia ordered this one, but I think I liked it more, mostly since it
was a little too hard for her to eat.


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This is the Oktoberfest sign that is up at the Viktualienmarkt during Oktoberfest.


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Natalia and I had lunch at a biergarten at the market and she got to try real German brezls. They rock.
Natalia asked if they were going to be soft like the ones we had at New York, New York in Vegas with the McNabbs. I said
similar, but no cheese sauce, only mustard.


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Other than the blazing thumb in the corner, these are actually hops wreaths. The world is a good place
when market vendors actually have a market for hops wreaths.


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Here is Natalia in front of the old town hall again. I think her dress looks smashing.


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So, we went down to go check out Oktoberfest after spending some time wandering through downtown and
checking out the food market (Natalia loved the garlic shrimp and the olives). One of the rides that
Natalia was excited about was the swings and this little guy in his liederhosen shows you why.


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Now, it's Natalia's turn.


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Here we are, up in the air. After the ride, we both said that it was a little rougher than the one
at Calaway Park. I think it was because of the up and down movement.


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Here I am in front of the Lowenbrau beer tent. There's a pretzel in my bag for later.


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The Hofbrau tent we saw earlier in the day paid us a visit at the beer tent as well.


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Natalia and I made a visit to one of the more local beer tents that Augistiner brewery runs. Here
she is with one of our new friends - Emmy, or Emmanuel. He and his friend Jan just finished their law
exams and will be lawyers soon.


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This is the trashy girl who goes around the beer hall selling shots. She put a thong on her head since she
thought she'd sell more shots.


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Earlier in the day, Nati convinced me to buy liederhosen, along with a pink shirt to go with it. Ridiculous, indeed,
but Emmy and Jan convinced me to change in the tiny beer hall bathroom so that I could actually wear it at Oktoberfest.
I had initially wanted to wait until Natalia got her outfit on, but she was positive no one actually wore dirndls anywhere
other than at Oktoberfest. So, once she saw everybody and their dog wearing their Bavarian garb, she decided that she'd
wear her dress the next night out.

Video of the Spaten beer tent. We stopped so Natalia could use the bathroom, and I took the opportunity
to record a little bit of the action.



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After about 3L of beer (which is a lot for Nati), we made our way home, but not before Natalia could have
a big bratwurst covered in mustard.


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I should have gone with the bratwurst as well, but I elected for the schnitzel and it was cold and terrible. The
disdain is visible on my face.


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Here we are though, happy as clams. Neither one of us know who took this picture though.


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Day 3 in Munich awoke to a pretty decent hangover for my lovely wife, although she still dressed up for the
occasion. Here she is in her very pretty dirndl at our hotel having a bite of 'brunch' before we headed out
for some light touring.


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Natalia was convinced that matching outfits was the way to go, so there we are, looking the part of proper
Bavarians. So much so, that people would ask us to take photos with us, and locals actually thought we were
German and would speak German to us and then be shocked that we had barely a passing idea what they were saying.


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One without my thumb up.


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Here is Natalia looking again for pastries.


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Another in my series of 'Natalia eating sausages in funny German spots' - this time with Alter Peter church
behind her.


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This time at the beer gardens.


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Natalia at the Oktoberfest pole.


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Me in my liederhosen at the Oktoberfest pole.


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So, we've since learned that this means 'I love you', but I really thought this was funny, especially
with a hard 'ch' sound and the icing shapes.


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Here is Natalia, shortly before having the German 4th meal of 'Koffee und Kuchen' or coffee and cake.

Video of Natalia having her Koffee and Kuchen



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Natalia found some pretty cute German Birkenstocks, called 'Birkies'. My favourite decoration on here
is the heart that says 'spatzl'. That's like having a heart with 'perogie' on it.


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Here is Natalia in front of the Opera House, next to the Residenz.


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We decided to check out the Treasury since Natalia likes sparkling things. Here is one of the
king's crowns. This was shortly after an American lady asked to take a photo with us.


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This table is absolutely immaculate and is made with many types of inlaid stones, marbles, and gems.


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These are 16th century beer steins. What I love about this, is that you can go back 400 years and
the Germans were still drinking big steins full of beer. I wonder if they were singing the White Stripes
back then as well.


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These pieces of jewelry were probably Natalia's favourites. They are rubies and diamonds and belonged to
one of the king's wives.


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A close-up of the rubies and diamonds.


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We wandered the streets a little before going back to Oktoberfest. I was stunned to find a Tesla Roadster
just parked on the side of the road.


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This Japanese lady asked us if she could take her photo with us. I said only if we could take a photo
with her. She's doing the Asian equivalent of the 'thumb's up'.


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I took a photo of Natalia and I in the Hofgarden behind the Residenz, inside the Diana temple.


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I also had someone else take our photo while we were taking a breather.


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Natalia was not terribly pleased by the nudity at the Englischer Gardens. Most specifically, she wasn't
pleased by the naked guy who was "loving himself loving it" as he strutted around the park. Yeah, that's him
doing the gazing off into the distance while shielding your eyes from the sun pose.


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I had to take Natalia to see the surfing standing wave in the Gardens too.


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Here's another one for our 2011 calendar of Bavarian photos.

Video of surfers in the Englischer Garden



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We had dinner in one of my favourite Munich spots (yes, I know it's touristy) just under the new town hall
called the Ratzkeller. It's huge and occupies almost the entire basement level of the town hall.
I have a plate of spatzle in front of me.


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Natalia and I normally split our entrees so that we try more variety. We did that here and she has my
pork chops and dumplings in front of her.


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For a hangover day, Natalia did amazing. She actually tried really hard to catch a nap at the restaurant but I
was positive they'd kick us out.


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The real kicker is that Natalia actually WANTED to come back to Oktoberfest although it took her a while to
warm up to the idea of having another beer. Here she is at one of the rides that has a moving carpet
(that's moving REALLY fast) and people actually congregate to watch drunks ride the carpet and then fall over.
The funny thing here is that the ride is actually the slide that comes down, but most people enjoy the super
fast angled moving carpet so much more.


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Yes, I actually got Natalia zuckerwatte or cotton candy.


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Look at the smile on her face!


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This photo is so funny I just had to take it. "Um, Natalia, can you go stand over there for a second?"


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The animatronics characters are one of my favourites. Here's Natalia with a talking, moving alligator.


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First of all, I think it's great that the German translation of person is 'fahrt'. I mean, I know that
people fart, but really? Is that all we do? Second, these are the tickets for the highest swings I've
ever been on, coming in at 55m off the ground.


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Here is Natalia with the swings up in the air.


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Here she is getting ready for her super-fun happy ride.

A video of Natalia and I going up on the swings



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Natalia with her feet out at ~55m off the ground. That's a full rope length and it was pretty awesome.


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Here is Natalia at the Hacker-Pschorr beer tent.


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We actually managed to sneak upstairs of the beer tent to take some photos and drink some beer.


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Here is my amazing wife getting back on the horse after drinking more beer than she had ever done before.
After thinking about this, I think her mistake the night before was trying to power-drink faster than I could.
This old horse knows how to pace himself for the long haul.

Video of Natalia and I at the Hacker-Pschorr tent



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Natalia thought these paper doll cutouts to celebrate the 200th anniversary were the best. This is at the
subway stop on the way home.

A last video of the Glockenspiel before we left Munich

Here is a history of the Glockenspiel


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