Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fest Season!!

July 25 - August 17, 2009 Leading up to Oktoberfest in September almost all Bavarian towns have their own beer fest. In GAP, Garmisch has their fest first then after a short break Partenkirchen's fest begins. Both fests are similar but also different. Garmischer fest feels more like a party and draws a younger crowd while Partenkirchen fest has more traditional nights with an older/more traditional crowd. Each night has a different theme/entertainment. My favorite at Garmischer fest is the Stone lifting! Men try to lift a 500pound stone! They also have a party band night that plays fun, old songs and everyone stands on the tables and dances...I kept waiting for the table to break! At Partenkirchen fest I went to see the "whippers" as I like to call them - men stand on tables with cow whips and snap them in the air above the crowd's head. There are several different groups that rotate through the night leading up to the grand finale with all of them standing on the tables with their whips (as shown in the video below). Each group of "whippers" has their own accordian player that leads the beat of the whips. There's another night with "finger wrestling." Unfortunately, I didn't make it to that night of fest this year...hopefully next year!

Well, here's some pictuers of me, friends and the tent activities at the two fests.

Traditional bavarian garb called a dirndl - Yes, I bought one this year and I love it!! I feel so much more authentic walking into the beer tents wearing this!

Very traditional -- dirndl plus a maB (that's a liter) of beer! This just happens to be a Martzen, locally brewed by Lowenbrau (oh yeah, did I mention that Garmisch and Partenkirchen serve different beers at their tents....Garmisch serves Lowenbrau, Partenkirchen serves Ettaler (brewed by the monks in Ettal, half hour from Garmisch)

Jennifer and I with our pink dirndls

Kari, Bonnie, Shawnelle and I at Garmischer Fest

It's always a smart idea to reserve a table



Now on to Partenkirchen fest...

What's a beer fest without currywurst and pommes?!

Traditional Bavarian dancing

The Band (not pictured but noted...the same cute tuba player from last year was there again this year....people from Garmisch-Partenkirchen are known to live here their whole lives)

The whips!! He stood on our table later - check out the video below to get an idea of what this night at fest is like

And towards the end of the night people have drank enough beer to want to stand on top of their table and chug a maB of beer...exhibit A


video

The "Whippers" at Partenkirchen Fest

video

Traditional Dance at Partenkirchen Fest

Thursday, August 20, 2009

MADONNA!!!!

August 18, 2009 Matt took me to see Madonna in Munich!!!!!!! It was the best concert I've ever been to!!! The concert started at 19.30 with Paul Oakenfold for one hour. After a 40 minute break Madonna finalllly hit the stage with "Candy Shop" off her new CD, Hard Candy :) What made the concert so spectacular was that Paul Oakenfold DJ'd throughout the concert so there wasn't a single quiet moment! He transitioned the beats from song to song and played 2 or 3 of Madonna's songs while she took a break....yeah, no 1/2 hour break or anything! and even when she took a short break you didn't really notice because the dancers were still out there entertaining! We felt like we were in one of Madonna's music videos the entire night! The choregraphics and lights were perfectly synched and continuous! Best concert ever!!!! Thank you Matt :)

Since the olympic stadium was so dark all night it was hard to get many good pictures/videos but here's a few.

Matt and I waiting for the concert to start at the Olypmic Stadium in Munich

Madonna!!

Madonna!!! She was hopping, skipping and dancing around alllll night!!! amazing!

video

Maddona performing "Give it 2 Me" -- it's two segments of a video pieced together

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hiking the Kramer

August 15, 2009 The Kramer is a a mountain in my backyard here in Garmisch. It's 1985m tall, which is about 6,512 feet! Yesterday Matt and I ventured towards the top of the mountain to touch the cross....all mountains in Germany have a cross on the peaks! Some mountains have a cable car that will take you to the top but the Kramer does not, so the only way to the peak is to hike up there. It was an awesome hike!! Once you are almost to the top you have to do some climbing, which was a little scary but Matt and some other Americans we ran into helped me through it. We started our hike to the summit via the Stepergalm (alm = hut) and then decended via the halfway house/St. Martin's hut. The views on the decend were amazing - we could see several valleys and mountains that we don't see everyday because they're behind the Kramer. I wish my photos showed how rugged the terrain was towards the top but oh well...I was too focused on not falling down the mountain and dying!! More pictures to follow later! :)

Matt and I at the top!!

That's the "trail" we followed down from the summit

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I <3 the Alps!!

On Saturday Matt and I went hiking through the Hollentalklamm....roughly translated it means Hell's Gorge. Although it wasn't a bad hike at all!!! Once we made it to the "eingang" (start) hut it was easy trekking! It took about an hour to get to the start of the gorge then it was about a 3 hour hike through the gorge to the hut at the end. The views were well worth it!! Here's part of the hike through the gorge. There were many staircases along the edge of the gorge, bridges that crossed over the gorge, as well as tunnels through the mountain. :) More pictures to follow

Hollentalklamm

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blogging addict...Berlin Sneak Peak!!

Apparently I'm a blogging addict the past few days! I can't help it! :) Well, here are a few, and by a few I mean 11 because that was as far as I could narrow it down, photos from Berlin. Jenn and I were in Belrin July 30 - Aug 2. enjoy :) stories and more photos to follow soon

Memorial to the Murdered Jews

Memorial to the Murdered Jews

Berliner Dome

Reflection of the Pergamon Museum

Alexanderplatz

Alexanderplatz....remembering when the wall came down 20 years ago

Brandenburg Gate

East Side Gallery....artists are painting sections of the wall

Reichstag

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate....Pariser Platz

A few more faves

So, I'm going through my many, many, many pictures taken in Malta and can't seem to focus on narrowing the mass down! So instead I decided I would post a few more favorites from Malta and Copenhagen! enjoy :)

Flower in a park in Copenhagen

Park in Copenhagen

Valletta, Malta

Comino!! Malta

Comino, Malta

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quick Update

Hi everyone!

I thought I'd post a quick update while I'm waiting for some friends to go to a softball game. The weather is finally nice so I want to be outside as much as possible!! but the weather forecast says it's supposed to be rainy this weekend...go figure! It's always nice when I'm at work and rainy as soon as I get off work!

In case you hadn't noticed, I snuck in a link to more pictures in the Copenhagen post. I'm still sorting through my pictures from Malta and Sicily...so far I have narrowed it down to 500....so I'm working on narrowing it down a little bit more!! For everyone's sanity!

After Malta expect posts from Garmischer fest, featuring yours truly in a dirndl!! and then Berlin pictures with my sister.

Ciao :)