About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Class Rep Meeting

I had the third school meeting in three days. This meeting was for all the class representatives in Monza. We met for coffee, introduced ourselves and chatted about goals, plans, ideas and improvements for the school.

I am pleased that we have a very positive group of parents this year. I'm looking forward to working with them.

Brandon and I hung out on our own this evening. Katrina went our to dinner with a few other women we know.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grade 5 Parent Coffee

I had another school meeting today. This time, a coffee meeting with parents from grade 5. I am currently the class representative, although that may change.

We had a nice chat about the class, the school and extra parties and activities for the class. We had a great class of children in grade 5.

It's been sunny and beautiful lately. I love these fall days, sunny but not too hot. The mornings have a crisp chill to them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PAB Meeting

I attended my first PAB (Parent Advisory Board) meeting in Milan today.

Wow, it took a long time to get downtown, mostly due to traffic slowing my bus ride from Vedano to Sesto. It took 2 hours to get to the ISM high school.

The meeting was interesting. Most of the issues dealt with the Milan schools. I did learn a lot about the process.

This coming year as the Monza ISM PAB rep will certainly be interesting.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Home Again

We woke up early this morning so that we could hit the road and arrive home by noon or 1pm. Our drive was fairly uneventful. It was nice to see the mountains in the daylight, rather than in the dark on Friday night. Katrina and Brandon took naps early in the drive.

By the time we arrived home, it was about 1pm. We dropped Brandon off at school so that he could take advantage of the last two hours and his afterschool activity. Katrina decided to work from home.

Traveling is fantastic. Coming home again is always nice as well.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly Count

74 Week Gelati Count: 265
74 Week Wine Bottle Count: 92

Oktoberfest 2010 - Day 2

We awoke to a another chilly morning in Munich. No rain though! After breakfast, we headed straight to Oktoberfest.

Our main goal for today was to get into a beer tent. Oktoberfest was already in party mode when we arrived around 10am. Maybe it just never stops during its 16 day run!

We found no lines at the first beer tent, so we popped in and managed to find a table. Well, you don't find a table all for yourself. You find space at a table and you join whoever is already there.

We found a table and ordered a beer for me, a Radler for Katrina, and Coca Cola for Brandon. We also ordered some food for lunch...an early lunch. I think it was about 10:30 or 11 in the morning, but you must order if you are going to sit.

The tent was full of people who looked as though they had already been drinking beers for a couple of hours. I'm not really sure what time the tents open in the morning.

We found a table in the Spaten tent

Katrina and her liter of Radler - beer and lemonade.

My liter. Cheers!

Brandon tries to drink a 1/2 liter of Coca Cola. Normally he does not drink this much. In fact, he couldn't even finish it!

Many waiters and waitresses can carry 10 mugs of beer at once.


The tents are just one big party. People eating, drinking, dancing and lots of singing...old German drinking songs. There is even a band and entertainment throughout the day.

Katrina and I would have stayed in the tent, but Brandon wanted to go on a couple of rides. I took Brandon on a couple of rides while Katrina stuck around to take some pictures.

Random Revelers in the Spaten tent

Brandon wanted me to experience the Fun Haus that he and Katrina tried yesterday. We had a good time and quite a few laughs. Next came the bumper cars. Also a good time!

This 'portable' roller coaster does 5 loops!

Random photos from the midway

On our way back to find Katrina we spotted the beer wagons on display in front of the various brewery tents.

When we finally found Katrina, the beer tents were beginning to be quite full. We were able to wander through a couple of them, but couldn't find a table. We ended up at a quiet beer garden and enjoyed another beer and some pretzels. That's two liters each. I like beer, but the second one took a long time to finish.

Roasted candied nuts....they were everywhere. They get you with the fresh smell and they taste so good. Almonds are our favorite.

It takes a big pretzel to go with a liter of beer

Liter number 2 for each of us. It took us a lot longer to finish these beers.

We wandered around the midway a bit more then decided we were done with Oktoberfest. Brandon wanted to visit a toy museum in downtown Munich, so we caught the U-bahn and headed that way.

I decided that old toys were not that interesting, so I waited in Marienplatz. There was a band playing, and people watching is always a great sport.

We had a fantastic weekend at Octoberfest. If you have never been, I would suggest visiting sometime. Its a fun experience and a great party.

Tomorrow we head home.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oktoberfest 2010 - Day 1

We awoke to cold rain this morning, but that didn't stop us from getting ready for a day of Oktoberfest. After a trip to the breakfast buffet downstairs, we caught the U-Bann.

Before heading to the festival, I wanted to visit Galeria Kaufhof. Its a German department store we found on our last trip to Munich. On the 3rd floor they have one of the best model train shops I've seen in Europe. It's fantastic. And Brandon really likes the toy section. Since the store is closed on Sundays, I wanted to shop a little before I ran out of time.

Brandon and Katrina in Marienplatz

Many people were dressed for Oktoberfest, even in the city.

Even the windows are full of Oktoberfest spirit. Many store employees were dressed up as well.

Brandon and I ended up buying several items. Model train accessories for me, Legos for Brandon. This resulted in us having to ride the U-bann back to our hotel to unload before heading to Oktoberfest.

Brandon watches the control booth of the subway train.

As we neared the exit for Oktoberfest, the last few station stops really packed the train.

The "Weisn", as Oktoberfest is locally known, celebrates its 200th year in 2010. It takes place each fall on a 71 acre site in the center of Munich. Oktoberfest usually funs 16 days, but for its 200th event, it will run 17 days. On average, 1.6 million gallons (6 million liters) of beer are served each year to approximately 6 million visitors. 500,000 chickens, 100 oxen and and unknown number of pretzels are served each year.

The crowds exiting the U-bann to Oktoberfest, and this was early in the day.

All the breweries have their own beer tents...more like buildings. The largest can hold 10,000 drinking, singing people.

Random photos of Oktoberfest attendees

Looking out from the line of the Reisengrad

Riding the Reisengrad, the huge ferris wheel.

Views from the Reisengrad

These cookies are popular, especially with messages for your loved one

Much of Oktoberfest is carnival rides. This rollercoaster does 5 loops, and its a portable ride!

Katrina and Brandon give the Fun House a try

More carnival rides

Katrina bought Brandon a cookie

We spent most of the day at the festival before heading back into the center of Munich for dinner. We would have eaten at Oktoberfest, but we wanted a sit down meal and the only place to do that is in the beer tents. If you don't get a table early in the day, you probably don't get a table. Many of the tents are closed due to full capacity by mid afternoon.

We were going to eat dinner at the Haufbrau Haus, but there were long lines to get in there as well. So, we found a table at a restaurant just across the platz. I had a 1/2 chicken with fries. Brandon had brats with saurkraut and Katrina had a traditional German soup. We chatted with some Norwegians at the table next to us. They had obviously been drinking for much of the day and were a funny bunch. They bought me a shot of Jager and they bought Brandon an ice cream sundae for dessert.

Tired from a long day, we slowly made our way back to the room for the night. We did stop at a bookstore along the way. Katrina found a book she was looking for, I found two Clive Cussler books and Brandon found a DVD he wanted. Maybe I should call this the Oktoberfest shopping spree?!

Tomorrow we will visit Oktoberfest again, hopefully a bit earlier in the day so that we can experience a beer tent.