Camino minus 12 – How to Destroy 12 Weeks of Training in One Easy Day

Beer Hall Doris Day? Who knew?

The German people are known for many things. Focus, intensity, drive. When their focus, intensity and drive become overwhelming, they let off steam in a very focused, intense and driven way.

They have a Beer Fest. Also known as Oktoberfest. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.

Here in Stuttgart, they have Oktoberfest not once, but twice a year. The beerfest held in the Springtime is known as “Freuhlingsfest,” “freuhling” being the German word for “spring.” And they celebrate it with the fervor it deserves.

Last Friday, I found myself strolling among several thousand visitors during the last weekend of the three week long Freuhlingsfest in Stuttgart. And it was great.

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The best, of course, was to be found inside the beer tents, of which there were several laid out among the rides, games, and food stands. We arrived inside at about 4:30 and the band in the front of the hall was already going strong. People were arriving from work, most wearing dirndls or liederhosen, traditional German folk wear worn only at these crazy traditional festivals.

Our tickets at a reserved area for 100 of our closest friends included half of a roasted chicken (very seasoned/salty and drink inducing) and three giant liters of beer. A liter in a big ol’ beer stein is very heavy and easy to accidentally slosh over the sides.

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We sang, we danced. We banged mugs on the tables, we jumped on the benches. Men in blonde braided wigs were popular, as were ridiculous hats.

The beer flowed, there was lots of laughter and silliness. Although there was some “under-the-wrong-circumstances-could-have-been-bad” behavior . . .

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. . . here it was just very funny and inoffensive.

Half of the songs were popular German songs, many usually heard at beerfests. The other half were American pop songs. The idea, of course, is to sing every song – loudly – even if you didn’t really know the words.

Heck, even if you didn’t know the language!

Remarkably, I saw no signs of people having had too much to drink, everyone had a buddy or even a stranger looking out for them. No animosity, a boisterous church sharing the sign of peace.

And Doris Day? Who knew that she would be one of the more popular songs at both spring and October fests? There’s nothing like seeing and hearing a thousand people standing on tables coming together in a rousing chorus of “Que Sera Sera” to remind you that the world can be a strange and wonderful place.

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