It was time for us to go shopping for lederhosen and a dirndl for Herbstfest! Herbstfest is a smaller beer festival, celebrated in Rosenheim, leading up to the infamous opening date for Octoberfest in Munich. Many cities throughout Germany hold their own beer festivals, celebrating the beers of their local breweries within the city. Shopping for these unique outfits was an interesting experience! The lady who helped us was very helpful as she guided us in the right directions: from not choosing the “old man” clothes for Wade and how to properly tie my dirndl apron so that other men would know that I am married vs. single. The things tourists would easily not know! It amuses me to hear all of the little things locals will instantly judge a non-Bavarian or German person and instantly be able to point out who the tourists are. Some of these things will be ordering Weisswurst (white sausage) following lunch, which seems to be forbidden and simply by the way you cut and eat your sausage (apparently there is a certain way)! I’m sure both Wade and I stood out like a sore thumb because not only have we ordered the Weisswurst around 5pm without knowing, we also ate the sausage without taking the skin off and ate it with our hands!
Wade’s team was planning a team party at Herbstfest for their day off but Wade and I were anxious to see what it was all about. On the Saturday it opened, we were already downtown and instead of going out for dinner, we were thinking we would do some food tasting at some of the vendors. We had no idea how to get to Herbstfest but it was easy to find, seeing all of the people walking in the same direction, all dressed up in their lederhosen and dirndls! As we approached the entrance, we couldn’t look any more like tourists, wearing regular street clothes, taking tons of photos and Wade wearing a backpack with a Canadian flag on in! I was in awe from this beautiful boutique like carnival, filled with adorable wooden vendors selling the most amazing food and treats! But what really took us back was walking into one of the beer tents for the first time!
The second I saw the entrance for the beer tent, I told Wade, “let’s go sit down for a beer”! When we walked into the tent, it almost felt as if everyone in the room was looking at us and some bluntly laughed at us! I guess we didn’t get the memo but on opening day, it seemed to have been mandatory to be dressed in your Bavarian attire! It seemed almost impossible to find one seat in the massive tent filled with hundreds of people! We were about to turn around to leave the tent and wait to experience it with the team, when all of the sudden we were approached by the car dealer, who helped us get set up with our cars when we first arrived. He invited us up to his table where we realized he was actually the father of one of the guys who was practicing with Wade’s team, getting ready for his own season in North America! His name was Phillip and was sitting with his girlfriend, Lisa, who I instantly adored! We ended up staying for quite a while, visiting and getting to know their family. They were more than generous and treated us to a couple of beers (which are insanely massive in the beer tents) and to our first real pretzel (also insanely massive)! As we were talking, Wade’s game for the next day got brought up which was going to be in Italy. It happened to be one of Phillip & Lisa’s favorite city so they seemed excited about it. They briefly spoke to each other in German and then Lisa looked at me and suggested they both could take me for a day trip if I wanted to because they would love to go back before the end of summer! I of course said “Yes!” and was instantly so excited for our spontaneous day trip to Italy for the following day!
We left first thing the next morning and began our 2.5 hour drive into Neumarkt, which is in South Tyrol, Italy, just outside of Bolzano. I have done the ‘Best of Italy Tour’ before but it never took us to this part of Italy. The drive alone was absolutely breathtaking! As we drove out of Germany, we were driving in a valley surrounded with the most beautiful scenery, filled with huge mountains in every direction. The drive literally got better by the minute as we made our way up the mountains and drove through the Alps into Italy! I felt like a little kid as I was constantly having to switch sides in the car, so that I could look out the window at the best views possible. The drive sort of reminded me of driving through the Rockies, only a billion times better! The steep hills were covered in the brightest shades of deep green grass, with houses scattered in random places throughout the mountains. Along the way, we drove across the ‘Bridge of Europe’ known as Europabrücke, which is over 2,500 ft. long and stands 620 ft. off the ground, curving around the mountains. Randomly, we would see so many castles along the way and as we got closer to our destination, there were wine vineyards that slowly started appearing more and more. The vineyards were all on steep hills throughout the mountains and created the most breathtaking scenery.