Meet Archana Bopaiya, (a.ka Archiebops for family and close friends). This young lady holds an MBA degree from Symbiosis Institute of management Studies, Pune and is an avid marathon runner. Apart from being an HR professional she enjoys playing badminton and practices yoga.
The Lifestyle Portal is proud to showcase her first write up with us on her trip to Oktoberfest. Read on…
It was nearing half past ten at night as my train gently pulled in at Hauptbahnhof station. As soon as I disembarked from the coach, I was greeted by the sight of young men and women dressed in their traditional costumes. The men looking rugged in their Lederhosen while the women sporting a more elaborate outfit called Drindl. Some of them were humming a tune while others were swinging from side to side under the influence of spirits. It was the first day of Oktoberfest! Unlike the popular wine and cheese festivals which happen in most parts of the world, this festival was home to six million beer lovers from around the globe. As the name suggests, it is a sixteen-day folk festival running from late September to the first week in October at Munich or what they call the Bavarian capital of Germany. Apart from the beer tents, one could also enjoy a mixture of attractions, such as amusement rides, games and a wide assortment of traditional foods.
I had the wanderlust in me right from my childhood! Being the daughter of a retired naval officer, I was lucky to have lived in twelve cities and towns in eighteen years! My eyes would gleam with joy every time a transfer order was announced. New school, new uniforms, new friends, a new language and a chance to do up my room all over again were my prime motivations. I would always be the first to pack up the little knick knacks I had carefully collected over the years, in my bright orange trunk which served as my loyal companion on every transfer. While I was posted in Bangalore, my cousin Anita, who was then working in Munich, had visited our residence. She had recently attended the Oktoberfest and was full of news about the event. I was always in awe of my older cousin who had traveled to five continents while she was still under thirty! I also aspired to travel and see the world someday.
While I was posted in Bangalore, my cousin Anita, who was then working in Munich, had visited our residence. She had recently attended the Oktoberfest and was full of news about the event. I was always in awe of my older cousin who had traveled to five continents while she was still under thirty! I also aspired to travel and see the world someday.
Saving up for the trip
From the time I started to work, my primary goal was to set aside a part of my earnings towards my travel kitty. It was finally in May 2014 that I had saved a substantial sum to plan my first vacation abroad. Mission Europe was what I called it. And what added that extra zing to my holiday was something I recently chanced upon-Airbnb! This was a website which offered a bed and breakfast to travelers who wanted to stay in the homes of the native residents.
’No more hassles of checking in and out of hotels who would charge me an exorbitant sum,’ I thought to myself. I instantly availed this one-of-a-kind opportunity because I would get to interact with the locals and also get to taste homemade delicacies. Even as a daring teenager, I was happy to experiment with all kinds of food, as long as they didn’t move on my plate!
The journey & experience
I was tired after the day long train journey from Prague. My body longed for a warm bath and a soft bed. I pulled out the local map with directions to my destination.
I walked to the ticketing counter, tugging along my duffel bag. I was greeted with a pleasant smile by a plump lady with luscious burgundy hair that fell softly over her shoulders. ‘Are you from India?’ asked the lady in a loud inquisitive voice, pointing at my tiny red bindi and black corkscrew curls.
‘Yes, I am,’ I said in a polite voice.
The lady behind the counter replied, ‘Guten Tag! Welcome to Munich. Have a pleasant stay and don’t miss the fun and frolic at the Oktoberfest,’ as she continued to wear that warm smile on her face.
‘Danke,’ I said in a soft friendly tone. ‘One ticket to Rosenheimerplatz,’ I added now pulling out the change in the pocket of my jeans.
‘That would be the last stop on the yellow line,’ cautioned the ticket attendant as she handed me the ticket and waved me goodbye.
As I continued towards my platform, I heard a faint groan from my stomach. Food alarm I thought to myself! Soon enough I spotted a signboard which read, Farmer’s Den. As I drew closer, the man behind the counter asked in a hurried voice ‘Bratwurst or Currywurst’. I had a baffled look on my face as he pointed at what I would ordinarily call sausages. I instantly reached out for my phone and translated the two strange sounding words he just uttered. I was relieved to know that they were both variants of the good old sausage but decided to keep my first meal simple.
‘One Currywurst without the sauces please,’ I replied and later added, ‘Take away!’ suddenly remembering that the last metro for the day was ten minutes away!
The crowd had considerably thinned down by now, as most of the late night revelers had boarded one of the multiple trains that had zoomed in and out of the underground metro station. I picked up my parcel and the one Euro change he had to return to me, which I carefully placed in my money pouch secure close to my chest. On my trail to Rosenheimerplatz, I soaked in the sights of the city by night before I gently slid into deep slumber on my forty-five minute long journey.
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