Showing posts with label Oktoberfest 2010. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oktoberfest 2010. Show all posts

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Newsletter October 2010!

Dear Family and Friends,

Andrey and I hope that you all are well and in good spirits! Our spring has officially started on 21 September and I am really looking forward to those lovely summer days. Imagine a "braai" in the afternoon, a swim in the river and sitting on the patio looking at the stars at night! Andrey does not share my summer joy as he finds the heat unbearable.

The last 2 weeks have been cold again with a lot of rain. We are so blessed to finally have rain after the draught. It is wonderful to see everything turn green. I love it! The river is running strong and some nights we can hear the rush of water from our bedroom window. Let’s pray the rain will continue for the rest of the season.

Oktoberfest preparations kept us busy for most of September and early October. Beds had to be carried down from upstairs to convert the one private room into an 8 bed dorm. Andrey and I must have been quite a sight carrying down all the beds and mattresses! One section of the roof was never completed and Andrey embarked on a new project to finish it. With all the rain we were scared that the wood will rot and then we have to replace everything.

Andrey had no idea how to do it. So he Googled and found a site with instructions. Isn't the Internet great? With Ru as his constant companion, he managed to finish 80% of the roof before the rain stopped him.

With spring well under way, I imagined a garden full of beautiful flowers. It took some convincing but Andrey built me a flower box with rocks. I was so excited, immediately bought some flowers and planted them. They looked so lovely. 3 days later they were dead. ANTS!!!

I have never seen anything like this before. Big black and red ants ate them to the ground! Overnight. I couldn't believe my eyes. Well, the next day I went to buy poison and now I am watching my flower bed like a hawk. Luckily the flowers have started to grow again.

Soon it was time for the Oktoberfest! The German people in Argentina celebrate the Oktoberfest from 1- 11 October. It is 11 days filled with fun, beer, German food and a lot of people. It is our busiest time of the year and we were fully booked for both weekends. Our first group arrived from Buenos Aires. They are all exchange students from different parts in the United States. I love having the young people around. They are so alive, funny and have their lives ahead of them. Some days I wish I was 23 again!


Diego arrived just after the first group left and he stayed for 5 days. He is from Buenos Aires and came here to relax and enjoy the nature. Diego enjoyed some of our home cooked meals and we enjoyed his company and listening to his large music collection. He was also very kind to share some of the latest movies with us. How I miss being close to a cinema! Diego left when the 2nd group arrived and then he was on his way to Rio de Janeiro. Ru missed him a lot when he left!

The 2nd weekend is the most popular. It was estimated that more than 50,000 people attended the beer festival this year. Our second group was also from Buenos Aires but local people. They were groups of friends who booked rooms to be together. We also had our first Italians at the hostel. 3 Guys from Milan!

The guys loved the Oktoberfest. The men complained a little about the ratios - too many men and too little women! I must add I did not hear any girls complaining! On a sad note some of our guest got robbed. Professional thieves are always lurking to find an unsuspecting victim. It is so sad but we always warn people to leave valuables at the hostel. Despite of this they had an awesome time and vowed to come back again.

Our Italian group
The Oktoberfest is officially over and Andrey and I are exhausted. We have decided to take a 5 day hike to Mount Champaquí (2.7km high) it is one of the highest mountain ranges in the Cordoba Province. The view from the top of the mountain is breathtaking. We will be sleeping in base camps at night and hike during the day. We are both looking forward to it. I have not trained but Andrey has promised to take it easy. I have not camped in years so this is really going to be fun. I cannot wait to tell you all about it in our next news letter.

It will be business as usual as I have asked another South African family in Cordoba to stay at the hostel while we are away. They are very happy to get out of the big city for a couple of days.

On that happy note I am going to sign off.

God bless.

Nelieta & Andrey

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oktoberfest Argentinian style!

Monica, John, Robbie, Marc, Craig, Adam, Michael,Adam, Jake.

Our first group from Buenos Aires arrived yesterday in a very cold, windy and wet Calamuchita. I waited for the guys at the bus terminal. The disappointment was written all over their faces when they got off the bus! The first question they asked me: "Is this weather normal?" I laughed and replied: "Not for this time of the year!" I think I would have felt the same. But despite of the blistering rain and cold, nothing could damper their spirits. They are here to experience the Argentinian Oktoberfest and that is exactly what they are going to do! Our second group arrived later in the afternoon from Mendoza. Both groups are from different parts in the United States.

When we arrived at the hostel the guys asked me what the big deal was with the Oktoberfest. Good question! People on Facebook are probably tired of me going on and on about it. But here in Argentina it is a major event with a long history. The Oktoberfest in Villa General Belgrano goes back to 1964. The festival is not just about the beer. The celebrations pay tribute to the German origin. Every year, during the month of October, the mountain range district of Villa General Belgrano dresses up to celebrate the traditional National Beer Festival.

In Argentina the event is celebrated from 1-11 October in the beer garden (a venue especially designed for the occasion). We explained to the guys that they each need to buy a "chopp" (a giant beer mug) which they clip into a belt worn over the shoulder. Then they need to get the feathered hat and they are set to enjoy the festival! At the Oktoberfest in Argentina main beer trademarks are sold including red, clear, honey, green and black beer.

But not everything is beer at the Villa General Belgrano Oktoberfest, in the beer garden there are also several stands with traditional German dishes, such as Frankfurt sausages, the mandatory leber-wurst, smoked pork ribs and the well-known sausages with chucrut. When it is time for dessert, there is hardly any hesitation; the selva negra cake (chocolate sponge cake with cream and morellos fruit) and the Apfelstrudel (apple pie with puff pastry) are applauded by everyone.

At times, the celebration moves onto the centre of the city, where there is a parade of the communities that have contributed to the formation of the present cosmopolitan identity of Villa General Belgrano. Thus, delegations from Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Spain, the Canary Islands, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Armenia and Ukraine proudly show off their typical costumes.
One of the high points of the event is the election of the National Queen of Beer, who is chosen among twenty applicants who have been previously selected in several points all round the country.

With all of that in mind the groups set off for the opening ceremony of the festival. But unfortunately the weather was very bad and people did not attend the first day as expected. Some returned early to the hostel and others stayed on until later. Marc and Craig got ripped off when the taxi apparently could not find the hostel! They took it in good spirit though.

Entrance to the Beer Garden.

The weather forecast promised a beautiful day tomorrow!

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