I’ve been lucky enough to eat and drink in some fabulous restaurants, in equally stunning locations.
Doing what I do, travelling the globe…. FOR YOU.
But I’ve also enjoyed the comfort food which is often seen as the poor cousin, often disowned altogether by the foodie family, that I’ve encountered along the way.
And the people who serve it and with whom I have got to break bread.
In this weekly series I’ll celebrate both haute cuisine and hot cuisine, Bolly and Buds and everything in between.
First off let’s clink glasses and say Prost… and remember to look into each others’ eyes!
Germany: And the greatest beerfest of them all, the Oktoberfest, where a sallow youth found himself in the company of a busload of Aussies and Kiwis.
Four of us had arranged to go but three dropped out because they couldn’t raise the money leaving this early version of Bandanaman on his own on a coach with said Antipodeans.
Above is breakfast.
Each of us had to make brekkie of a morning on the bus which had a kitchen and seats that turned into beds… and our Kiwi legend Rambo, far right (he usually wore a scarf around his head which immediately endeared himself to me) dispensed with bacon, sausage and eggs and went straight to the schnapps.
Being raised on fizzy Scottish lager (Tennent’s hide your head in shame) I wasn’t ready for the real stuff, the Lowenbrau and the Hofbrau, the quantity of a stein, or their halls or their schnapps chasers. And it went straight to my head.
On your typical Oktoberfest day http://www.oktoberfest.de/en, and this year it runs from September 21-October 6, half a beerhall will chant Aussie and the other half Kiwi.
So being of the Scottish variety I wanted to redress the balance and climbed onto the bandstand past Gretchen and Greta who were carrying half a dozen beers on their breasts. Where I duly interrupted the oompah band to sing My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.
My Bonnie might but my body soon lay over the front entrance of the Lowenbrau.
More time to look around the Beerfest and try their half chickens on a spit and their sauerkraut. Best not after a rollercoaster ride though.
Barred from that hall I tried the Hofbrau the following year after the football at Bayern Munich’s old ground and did what no man should do, sober or drunk, and tried to split up two women fighting.
I’m sticking to my story that it was her boyfriend who thumped me on the nose. I was outta there and half an hour later in the hospital.
You’ll compile a book of tales from your Oktoberfest and I will return to the glass boot game, Hexengeist burning flame schnapps and why you should never drink and sled and much, much more. And the Aussies who set up Earl’s Court in my Aberdeen student pad.
Top Deck went on to reinvent themselves as Flight Centre who have been a couple of years here now on Dawson Street in Dublin. Visit http://www.flightcentreireland.ie or call (01) 695 0365. Aer Lingus http://www.aerlingus.com, Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com and other major airlines fly to Munich.
But for now Prost… oh, bring back my Bonnie to me!
*I’ve only just got started here so watch out for specialist foreign dishes and restaurants and my Jocktails… bet you didn’t know that about me… or The Scary One?