Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Villach and the last Oktoberfest

At the beginning of October a group of us headed off to Villach, a neighboring town about 30min away by train, for the last Oktoberfest of the season. Oktoberfests are typically held in September, but beer breweries like to make money and naturally from such fests they earn quite a bit, so holding one out of season, is not a problem.

After a morning spent with Riannon and Urska (the Slovenian native speaker with whom Riannon works) at the farmer's market in Benedictinerplatz, we were gathered at the Klagenfurt train station, awaiting the arrival of Kara and Nicole when our train pulled in and my phone rang with a frantic call from Nicole that they were on their way. With seconds to spare, they caught the train. However, this meant they were without tickets. The conductor arrived and they asked to purchase their tickets on the spot (which is possible in most "milk-run" (make every stop along the way) trains in Germany), but the conductor just shook his head and explained that would cost 70 Euros a person "als Straf" (as a penalty or fine). The conductor continued to click our tickets, pulled Lora's out of her hand and inspected it, then counted loudly, stamped it and walked away. Magically, the two were saved by the conductor's kindness.

Elisabeth and Emil (who is in his second year of the program) met us at the station with Matt and Jade (both of whom live in the same house together in Spittal), and we headed back to Elisabeth's place before heading off to Oktoberfest.
Elisabeth donned her Dirndl (the German/Austrian national costume) for the occasion and we headed off into Villach.
Walking along the river Drau, we reached the giant tent with the Ompah-bands in full gear.
Villach at sunset with the mighty Drau River

We dropped the others in the tent and 4 of us headed off to see a bit of the town before it got too dark to enjoy the town.
in the Stadt with Elisabeth, Uska, Eleanora (from Italy; lives in Villach teaching Italian), Laure (from France; lives in Villach teaching French)

Back at Oktoberfest, we attempted to sing along, but the words were too foreign and the background noise a bit too loud to comprehend the lyrics, but "schunkel" (the rhythmic swaying to the music) we did.

Feeling sleepy, Uska, Jade, Christine and I soon left the now smoke-infested tent and braved the chilly night back to the train station. We bid farewell to Jade, as she headed off to Spittal and Uska, Christine and I returned to Klagenfurt.

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