I headed down to Oktoberfest this year with Neil Gordon, Kevin Baxter and John Curtis. We all arrived into Salzburg on the Wednesday night and headed straight to the Augustinerbrau at the far end of the old town. The Augustinerbrau is the brewery part of the monastery and its one thing these monks do very well brew beer. You go down into the large beer halls (2 in total) but there is also a beer garden out the back which is open in the good weather (Spring to Autumn). They serve a good frothy, honey beer here in 1 litre and 1/2 litre pottery jugs which you wash out first before handing to the guy serving the beer straight from the barrel. The food is good here and as well as the pork, the tapas style selection of feta cheese, pickled onions, garlic cloves, olives and sun dried tomatoes is a must just not if you're out in town later!
Thursday we took the train from Salzburg into Germany to Berchtesgaden to visit the monks of St. Barts on Konigsee, they have a great beer garden. Its a great train journey and we passed an old steam train en route in Freilassing. Its the same trip we did back in May but its a good walk and a great beer and view waiting for you at the end. You've got a good train journey ,a hike, a boat trip and the reward of probably one of the best views from a bar ever. Really must do that ice chapel one of these days though.
Caught the last boat back from the monastery/bar and by the time we came into Salzburg it was becoming dusk. A couple of great shots of the sun going down over the Salzburg hills and some fairly steady nights shots of Salzburg. The first of the Schloss and the second of the Augustinerbrau, again our first port of call for the evening. Honestly its such a great place to relax, have a drink and meet some people.
After a few jars of the frothy honey stuff we headed back into town and decided to do a few of the bars tucked into the Salzburg Kai. I can't remember the names of all the bars but Roses and Vis a Vis were in there and as you can see we met a few people along the way who helped us celebrate the evening in true Salzburg fashion. John was getting well into it but got knocked back a few times with his forward ways. All in all a good night on the weissebier and a few Dutch lagers thrown in for good measure.
On the way back to the hotel we lost Kev somewhere but met this Australian lass who liked playing the street fountain and seem to like John's take-away bottle from the last bar. Bottle opener anyone? Thankfully when we got back to the hotel Kev was there and fast asleep which isn't a good thing when John still hasn't got the top off his bottle!
Friday we headed out early and caught the train to Munich. After almost 2 days in Salzburg it was time to get to Munich and sample some Oktoberfest. Plan was to get into the city, check into the hotels and then get out for a couple of Weiss biers. Me and Neil had a great deal at the Arabella Bogenhausen and with the room on the 18th floor we got some great views over the city at dusk. Plenty time for that later so we headed down into the Tal near Isartor and grabbed a couple of Weiss biers at the Paulaner in Tal. I'd planned to meet Roger Murphy, Martin Smith and a few others from Munich at the Schneiderweisse brauhaus for a schweinshaxe at 8pm so...
I'd planned to meet Roger Murphy, Martin Smith and a few others from Munich at the Schneiderweisse brauhaus for a schweinshaxe at 8pm which fortunately is opposite the Paulaner. At the table were Roger, his dad, Kathrin, Schmitts, Holger and Paul Barson. It was time to tuck into some haxe washed down with some Schneiderweisse bier. Its a great place with a restaurant upstairs and in the back while the front is more like a bar lounge but still serves food etc. Empty plates seemed to suggest everyone was full but maybe Roger just wanted a little more of Schmitts!
End of the night it was back to the hotel ready for the Fest the next day. Not sure if its the camera shaking or the lads moving but then again I lost the building in the next picture.
Saturday we'd planned to head to the Hofbrauhaus and onto the Weis'n however we got wet walking through the Englisher garden and the Hofbrauhaus was packed but as this is Munich there's always a similar hostelry just round the corner. In this case a little Augustiner literally round the corner which was full but we managed to get on a table with a load of Cologne fans here for a game with Bayern Munich. We stayed a little longer than we planned but managed to get some food including something for Kev even though the menu wasn't stacked in a veggies favour.
Even though it was getting on towards 10 o'clock we managed to get into one of the tents but couldn't get a table to get a beer. Thankfully a bunch of lads on a table ordered beers for us which we paid for and drank next to their table. Even though we were standing we got no hassle from the guards or the waitresses which was good. It was hectic at that time and as you can see there were a lot of drunk people around us but they probably thought the same of us!
We lost Kev at some point in the next hour and the rest of us went on the rides and did some shooting. We eventually found Kev back at the hotel and thought it only proper to introduce him to our newly acquired friends. BTW the Ferrari was parked outside mine and Neil's hotel, i'm just glad the owner didn't see me sitting on his bonnet!
Sunday we woke and the weather was not good at all but thankfully we weren't staying in Munich today. All four of us were heading back to Salzburg as Kev and John had to catch a flight in the evening and myself and Neil wanted to head to Werfen on the Monday. We decided to have a few in the Augustiner on Kaufingerstrasse first and this turned into a little session. Finally we left and headed to the railway station where we got a few beers for the journey back to Salzburg.
Arriving in Salzburg we headed straight back to where it all started - the Augustinerbrau - and tucked into some pork and a few honey beers. Sharing our table was a man from Carinthia who just came here for a beer, what a great local. A good night we had but eventually had to say goodbye to Kev and John, the Carinthian and the Augustiner.
Myself and Neil weren't leaving until Monday evening so decided to go on an organised trip from Salzburg to the Werfen ice caves. We'd tried to do this a number of years before but due to high winds couldn't get up there. It was quite a large group of Americans, Australians etc. who took the hour or so journey to Werfen. The ice caves are opposite the fortress which gives some great photo opportunities however at this stage I only had a disposable as my digital had frozen. The bus can only go so far and we walked the rest of the way up through the first snow fall of the year. It had snowed about 1 1/2 feet the night before and it looked great. Once we reached the entrance the guide was a given magnesium light to help light the way as this there are no lights inside. Its really beautiful in the caves but a lot of walking up and down steps. You're not supposed to take photos but our guide was not having that and gave us a few photo opportunities along the way. A fitting way to end a good few days in Austria and Germany.