TTT22 #6 Munich & #5 Berlin, Deutschland

Ah yes, the old two for one deal. Who doesn’t love it? I’ve previously spent some time in the nation known as Deutschland, yet never in it’s first or third largest cities. In 2022, I made to both. First, in Berlin for three days and then in Munich for the first few days of Oktoberfest, which is in September. All of this is to say that this entire entry is in reverse chronology, sort of like the Pharcyde video for Drop. Shout out to Spike Jonez and RIP to J Dilla.

Bavaria-mania in full effect y’all. Munich is a whirlwind from jump. Even the goddamn Hapbaunhoff in München is jumping. I think that rhymes. I dial into the whole thing via the local U-Baum, the U2. The Straßen have names, and I’m pretty sure I’ve found what I’m looking for. 20 minutes later and I meet Mona, who has so graciously handed over her gorgeous apartment to me for a few days. Handed over for a modest sum of Deutschmarks, er Euro, er US Dollars. Does that even matter anymore? Maybe — and I hear the Yoo Ess Doll Hair is strong —strong like bull —but this apartment is not cheap. The Munich bike life game is still popping, although not anywhere near on the level of previous destinations on this nation-hopping quest. Those locales were indeed the ABC… Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen… Air, Brakes, Chain… Nonetheless, Munich is into the BIER game though and my friend Kitty is joining me — currently en route from Erie PA — for the first three days of Oktoberfest, which only ends in October. It’s still September, so time travel to a time right now where I’m always learning until I’m dead. We learn a lot, especially on opening day. Without a reservation, we meander into the Augustiner tent and an utterly dizzying frenzy ensues. The crush of humanity is comparable only to a Tokyo Shibuya crossing in which every pedestrian is chewing on Mescaline. Aldous Huxley might dig the Japanese picture I’m painting; here in Bavaria we’re learning it all first hand. Some locals share two spaces on the end of the picnic table. It is rowdy AF. Men and women, young and old, standing in tables, singing songs, yelling Prost and clanking beers. And this beer comes in one liter mugs. I lift mine up with whole-hand-strength. It’s gotta weigh 7 or 8 pounds.

I’m drinking a 7 lb mug of the freshest best beer on Earth. Right now. Learning is taking place. Turns out each “tent” has its own thing or concept or vibe. This one in particular has their beer in wooden barrels and at 12.80€, it is the cheapest in Oktoberfest. We make German friends. We toss down lots of cash and toss back lots of beer. After more than a couple gallons of the most luxuriously smooth and delicious brew I’ve ever enjoyed, I’m on another astral plane. I’ve set a norm for new norming, or something. The bathroom has an entrance and an exit. It’s a long, long two-turn hallway of a stainless steel troughs on both sides, chocked full of lederhosen. Strange days. The plumbing involved is mind blowing. Especially once we time travel back to me using quotations around the word tent. There’s like 12 big tents. Another 10 small ones. Plus carnival rides and games and cafes and food stalls. These tents are wooden and metal massive structures. Heavy timber. Built. Bolted together. Covered. Decorated. Plumbed. Lit. And I mean lit lit. And also lit lit lit. It’s craziness for a few weeks, then the whole thing is disassembled and taken down. The entire Oktoberfest fairground aka Theriesenwiese is nothing but a massive concrete pad. They spend the entire year building and tearing down for just two weeks of the craziest party imaginable. I dig it. Today and the next day and the next day, it’s a marvelous experience eventually culminating in an amazing culinary experience: fish on a stick. The Fishhaus Tent provides me an entire fish seasoned and slow smoked on a wooden steak. A picture says a thousand words and so I’ll let the traditional mackerel speak.

Berlin! Made it here …finally. Before this, you occupied the same space in my heart that Mexico City previously held before I visited that national capital. I can dig me a big old cultural charged capital city. One that speaks to the entire nation in real and tangible ways too. A city that I always knew I’d love but consistently put off visiting for one reason or another. but alas, this space is open once more. I’m inside you Berlin, can you feel me? I buy a 24 hour train pass for like 8 euro. It’s a super deal because I use it three days. Thanks socialism, yay public transportation! I copped the private room at a sweet little hostel in East Berlin. Nice bed with a shared bathroom and all day free coffee. Danke. Berlin is a vibe for sure kids. I walk the streets. I take the train. Remants of the Berlin Wall. Brandenburg Gate. Checkpoint Charlie. I gotta do these things. Apparently I hate war but I love war history.

Berlin gives me the contemplative and relaxation based break I had been looking for. By day three I’m chilling for hours in the textile free spa. Yea this is a thing. It’s not a sexy thing. It’s a relaxation thing. And the various forms of hydro and heat and cool therapies are regarded by clothing. Plus we are all naked under our clothes. This place is massive. Theres a fucking map. For a spa. I enter and they give me a wristwatch style thing that opens my locker and pay for anything I have to pay for. I rent some towels and a robe and hit. Picture me here now on hour three. I’m now in my eighth sauna of the evening. Hot tub number 4. Steam room number 2. Now I’m in the cafe (where you have a wear a robe) having a beer. Back for a third steam room. This one is the best because the steam is so heavy that I can’t see two inches in front of me. Properly steamed, I hit the cold water “foot-pool”. Then it’s the fireside lounge. Real fireplace too. Damn. I am. Relaxed. It’s amazing. I feel like I’m getting younger by the moment. I pop my robe back on and grab another beer. I grab my copy of Door of Perception and take a deep, deep dive into some serious shit. I’m bedazzled with phrases like “the burning intensity of significance”– the highlight of it all might be a wormhole I find myself in dedicated to the idea of focus and avoiding distraction. My highly relaxed brain meanders about, grasping at Aldous Huxley’s mescaline infused concepts, primarily a focus to remain undistracted by: #1) Memory of past sins, #2) Imagined pleasure, #3) Bitter aftertaste of old humiliations and #4) Fears and hates and cravings that ordinarily eclipse the light. It’s deep but necessary shit. After a few sections, I take a break… back for more hot tub, more sauna, more steam room. Four or five hours later and it’s 10pm and so I check out of the spa. The entire damage is $40 and I feel more relaxed than ever in my life. Berlin has treated me quite well for a first time encounter, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be back. Darling, danke schoen.

About tonycaferro

Entrepreneur, Citizen, Marketeer, Fire Fighter / EMT, Bicycle-Tourist, Booking Agent, Youth Mentor, Activist, Agitator, Coffee Addict, Foodie, Social Media Nerd, Amateur Film Critic, Son, Brother, Uncle & Rust Belt Representative. Follow me on Twitter @dtr45
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