Friday, March 16, 2012


Starkbierfest is sometimes referred to by Bavarians as the "Fifth Season".  It's three weeks dedicated to drinking strong dark beer.  Essentially it's a mini Oktoberfest with beer that contains almost twice the alcohol!  It's amazing!  The smooth malty texture, the sweet carmely smell, the delicious taste!  I had 3 Maß (1 liter each) and it just about knocked me on my ass due to the 8.1% alcohol content.  Here's some more info on the history.  Starkbierfest

Gerri and I in traditional attire.  Lederhosen and Dirndl

I bought Gerri a balloon and everyone followed suit

The suspenders make great beer holders!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Skiing Austria

One of the coolest things about living in Europe is that everything is so close.  The public transit system is pretty amazing and there's never a shortage of things to do.  Case in point:

I'm from Minneapolis, MN.  If you drive 150 miles in any direction from my home you could arrive in such amazing and culturally stimulating places in Minnesota as Alexandria, Worthington, Brainerd, or Duluth.  You could get to Wisconsin and places like LaCrosse, Hayward and Eau Claire.  Or you could, if you wanted to torture yourself, make it to places like Emmetsburg, Iowa or Charles City, Iowa.

Now that I live in Munich, if I drive (or take a train as the transit system is AWESOME here!) 150 miles (242km for the rest of the world), I can make it to similarly boring small towns in Germany such as Garmisch, Nuremberg, or Stuttgart.  Except they're not boring small towns; they're freaking AWESOME, culturally rich places with things like super-car test facilities and ski resorts in the alps!  In fact I can get to four different countries in the same radius; Switzerland, Italy, Austria & The Czech Republic!

So of course I'm going to take full advantage of my weekends in close proximity to such amazing sites.  For example we went skiing a couple weekends ago in Austria.  We stayed in a quaint little town in a traditional hotel but then drove 20 minutes to Axamer Lizum where they held the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. It was amazing.  The idea that I can go from home to 2340 meters (7680 feet) in two hours is awesome!  Anyway, here's some pics.  The scenery was fantastic and I'm grateful to be able to experience this.

This is the view from our balcony at the hotel

The line up the hill is the train from the bottom to the top.  It carries over 120 people at a time

The indoor/outdoor eating area with live music

Gerri and I at the top

Here's another pic of the train

After the ski lifts close they have an after ski party complete with DJ, dancers and drinks