Fall is in the air. The night’s are crisp, the leaves are changing, birds (and old people) are beginning to head south for the winter, soccer hooligans are running rampant, and somewhere in the middle of a massive fair ground in Munich, an otherwise upstanding citizen is finishing his 11th liter of Paulaner while bear-hugging a complete stranger and unabashedly proclaiming his love for all of humanity at 10:15 am on a Thursday morning.
Oktoberfest! To whom do we owe the honor of your majesty? There should be a statue of your founder in every major square, in every major city. Beer sold by the jug, Jurassic-sized pretzels, carnival rides as far as the eye can see, and a pervasive sense of F-U-N. Pure magic. If you only go one place in your life, it should be here.
I once spent a week at Oktoberfest. It’s a time that I (and my liver) will not soon forget. I learned an important life lesson during the course of those cloudy days in Munich (Well, technically, I learned many lessons…some I really, really wish I hadn’t); When you add unlimited beer and rousing renditions of “New York, New York” to a crowd of one million international travelers, you’re bound to have the time of your life.
Of all the unbelievable things that I experienced during my time in Munich, hands down, the most unbelievable was running into a close friend from high school in line for the Ferris wheel (great minds think alike?). In this sea of humanity, one million strong, it seemed utterly ridiculous to find a friend. Yet there he was not more than two spaces behind me, as real as could be. Remarkable.
After high-fiving and catching-up, he turned to me and said, “I mean, seriously…what are the odds of this happening?” “If I had to guess?…I’d say about one in a million!”