Is This the Train to Oktoberfest? – Munich, Germany

It was the weekend of Oktoberfest. A couple of friends and I decided to leave the Black Forest and high-tail it to Muenchen for a few bratwurst and beer. All the trains leaving Wednesday and Thursday were booked, so we accepted the last remaining reservations on Friday morning. We set off for Stuttgart, where we would make a connection to Munich. With only an hour to kill, we settled in quickly.

Wisconsin-native Kevin gazed out at the passing landscape, presumably counting cows, John passed out like a narcoleptic the moment he sat down, and I cracked open a book and dove in. In Stuttgart, we roused ourselves from our daydreams in order to change trains. As soon as we stepped onto the Munich-bound train, we knew we were on our way to Bavaria.

Teenagers who normally would have been wearing leather and studs were dressed in Lederhosen and Dirndles; the accents suddenly slipped into the Daffy Duck realm of unintelligibility. As we opened the door to our car, we were engulfed by bursts of chatter and laughter, as if we were entering a school bus filled with thirty five 10-year-olds from the Bronx bound for a field trip at the Lincoln Science Center.

We stumbled dazedly to our seats, stepping over belongings scattered in the aisle and dodging stray hands and objects flying through the air. When we'd settled in, we realized the 10-year-olds were actually a group of drunken middle-age men. They'd turned the seats to face each other and were playing cards on the table between them, knocking back steins of beer. Half-empty cases of beer were stacked under seats and a couple of small kegs were nestled in the overhead luggage rack next to a boombox blaring "The Macarena". For hours, the men continued their bacchanalian revelry, playing cards, shouting for more Koelsch, flirting with two scantily-clad middle-age German woman who sidled up for the free beer, and at one point, standing up to dance and sing "It's Raining Men."

After a couple hours, the women near the exit began to get annoyed and a grandmother with her young granddaughter went up to the men to tell them they were acting like kindergartners, but we were thoroughly amused. By the time we neared Munich, we were dying for a couple beers ourselves. As the train pulled into the Hauptbahnof, the men let out loud cheers. While we shuffled toward the exit, we heard one of the men say they'd boarded the train in Duesseldorf that morning, and had been drinking since six in the morning. No way were they going to miss even a day of the party.

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