These photos are ones that I rescued from a mountain of slides taken when my husband and I traveled around Europe 36 years ago. The quality isn’t great, but you know, a picture tells a thousand words. (Don’t worry. I won’t make this post 1000 words long.)
We had come to Munich on our way north after spending a summer in Greece camping in a VW van. It was shockingly cold for mid-September. The locals said it wasn’t usually like this. The air felt like snow. I was wearing three layers of clothing and still shivering.
We had gone to a lot of trouble to find a place to park in the museum parking lot only to have the attendant then tell us that the museum was closed.
Seeing our disappointment he added, “But Oktoberfest is open and it’s just over there.” He pointed to a place not too far away.
“But it’s only September.”
“Yes, but Oktoberfest starts in September and goes on through October.”
After driving all day and not having a chance to do anything with my hair, I tied a scarf over it and hoped for the best. In this cold weather no one would notice anyway.
Oktoberfest was like a huge amusement park. “Let’s go for a ride on the Octopus,” I said.
“Naw! You go ahead if you want. I’ll watch and take your picture.”
We were threading our way through the crowds towards the Octopus, when I came face to face with a man wearing sunglasses. I stepped to the right to go around him. He stepped to the right. I stepped to the left. He stepped to the left. I stepped back to the right. He stepped back to the right.
Exasperated, I said to him in German, “Which way would you like to go?”
“If you wouldn’t mind,” he said, “could you take me to the Hackerhaus?”
“What’s the Hackerhaus? Where is it?”
“It’s a beerhall. Just down the way a little bit. There are a lot of them, but I like the Hackerhaus.”
It was then that I realized he wasn’t wearing the sunglassses to try to be cool. He was carrying a white cane.
“Oh course, I’ll take you there.”
I motioned to my husband that I had to take this man down to one of the beerhalls and he nodded and kept out of our way. However, he didn’t make this job easy for me. He kept stepping in front to take our picture and wave at me. I was trying to be serious and not let the blind man “see” what a couple of giddy fools we were. I was happy enough to do the man a favour, but I felt a bit giggly every time I thought about our miscommunication. When I asked him which way he wanted to go, I meant “right or left.” Not, “Which beerhall would you like me to escort you to?”
I don’t remember going on the Octopus, but I do remember spending hours in the Hackerhaus, tasting a part of an oxen roasted whole on a spit, sharing a small roasted pork knuckle so crispy there was only the bone left when we were through with it. And of course we had to have a giant pretzel called a Bretzel to go with the best beer in the world. It was a good way to warm up on a cold day. There was no miscommunication when my husband repeatedly tested the new phrase he had learned in talking to the serving women in the beerhall — “Zwei Bier, bitte!”
25% off sale until July 5. The Wind Weeps. Coastal drama. All e-book formats available at ow.ly/mgSWe Use coupon code AE56Z
25% off Baja adventure/drama Orion’s Gift. Coupon code HM35E, good ’til Jul.5 2 All e-book formats. ow.ly/mgSo6
Julia’s Violinist 25% off sale ’til Jul. 5. All e-book formats available at ow.ly/mgTqz Use coupon code BK68A.