Grace on Pace

Oktoberfest Rest Stop

Oktoberfest Rest Stop

Oktoberfest Rest Stop – Munich 2016

Somehow with two babies back at home still in diapers, I’m spending an evening in an Oktoberfest beer hall.  Cheers to travel regulations laid out in 14 FAM 584.4, my temporary duty yonder (TDY) has afforded me an evening in Munich on my way to Ankara.

The Oktoberfest has its origins in the year 1810. However, it looked a bit different then, as the first Oktoberfest was a horse-race, held as a part of the wedding festivities of Bavarian King Ludwig I.  This year, much press has been afforded to a ring of steel thrown up around the site at a previously open entrance.  Ultimately I think either way we would be doomed, but sometimes I wonder whether it would be more fun to travel to the past or to the future.  As I dazedly checked into my hotel, I decided to ponder it further with a quick jet lag induced nap.

Recharged, I hit the town in search of oompah, lederhosen, dirndl and lager. Despite this year’s beer being mixed with security concerns, I easily followed the hordes to the world’s largest folk fest.  The beer tents can be summed up as a classic Munich scene.  Despite being a mega party, the pavilions themselves create a special Bavarian coziness and knack for savoring the moment.

After surveying the scene in a few of the tents, I finally found an empty sliver at the end of one of the Paulaner festival hall tables.  Knowing I had to wake up early for my flight to Ankara, I leaned over to my table mate and politely questioned whether they sold half-liters. “This is a Biergarten, not a kindergarten!!” he yelled over the polka music.  Instantly, I was spending an evening in a frothy beer hall, clinking mugs with new friends, immersed in a boisterous and belching Bavarian atmosphere.

As I sat fuzzily in the terminal waiting for my morning flight, I returned to my hypothetical time travel dilemma.  Although seeing Ludwig hitched in the year 1810 would be on any one’s bucket list, I concluded going back to the past was out.  If I went back in time I would probably end up wanting to do something to change my present.  On the flip side, seeing a future Octoberfest might seem equally depressing.  After all, it means your future will always be such that you have to muddle through it and absent of pleasures such as finding yourself unexpectedly in Munich.  Stephen Hawking sums it up in an interesting way:

…the best evidence we have that time travel is not possible, and never will be, is that we have not been invaded by hordes of tourists from the future.

In all honesty, after thousands of miles and weeks without a good night’s rest, I had thought very hard about staying in and making it a real rest stop.  In the end though, life is surely to deal us the hard things, and when it deals unexpected ones, this is just a excellent reminder to seize them.  I guess even it means an Oktoberfest “Rest Stop”…haha.


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Jeff Grace

I’d like to hope that when I leave this earth, my family and friends believe something about me giving as fully as I could. To the people I love and to the areas of culture that excited me to build things. Then a lot of dancing, loud music and talking about what an idiot I made of myself during that process.

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