Viehscheid, the annual gathering of individual well-fed animals being driven down from the summer resort in the mountains into the valley. In the respective localities, the animals are gathered together on the so-called Scheidplatz; the shepherd “part” – that is separating the cattle out of the crowd and where every farmer gets his cattle back.
Oktoberfest. The one word that easily conjures up visions of dirndl and lederhosen-wearing visitors raising up massive steins of frothy beverages and singing to the top of their lungs. This is Oktoberfest, More than six million visitors attend THE world’s largest festival every year loaded with thrilling rides, fantastic fest food and, of course, beer. If you want to experience the festive party feeling along with the German culture then this is indeed the place to visit. Even if you’re not much of a crowd person, you should put this on your bucket list and experience the awesome fest at least once.
The very first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of BavarianCrown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. (October 12th also happens to be my birthday, so Oktoberfest was the perfect place for me to celebrate my birthday!) Every year, the citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over a period of five days on the fields in front of the city gates. Over 40,000 people were in attendance. Today, an average of 6 million of people attend the annual celebration.
Did you know horse races were held at the first Oktoberfest? But by 1819 the horse races had been called off and were replaced by beer carts and the carnival-like atmosphere. Munich leaders decided that Oktoberfest would be held each year, no exceptions! Although Oktoberfest originated as a one-day celebration, it was extended to 16 days (starting in September) of revelry and heavy drinking.
Believe it or not, in the beginning, beer was not available at Oktoberfest and alcohol could only be purchased and enjoyed outside of the actual venue. Traditional beer halls (called wooden halls) only became popular when the authorities realized it would make sense to open the Oktoberfest venue to vendors.
Today, only six breweries – Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Lowenbrau, Paulaner and Spaten — are allowed to serve beer on the festival grounds. The beers are made specifically for Oktoberfest and certain parameters must strictly be followed according to Reinheitsgebot such as it should be brewed within the boundaries of Munich and not contain more than 6% alcohol.
Once you are finished toasting with thousands of your newest friends, head on over to Marienplatz in the Munich Altstadt for traditional Bavarian-style craft beer and try one of the beer-infused dishes for dinner.
Average Festival Statistics:
Area: 103.79 acres
Festival halls: seats 100,000 (14 tents)
Visitors: 6.3 million
Beer: approx. 6.4 mln liters (that’s right, million)
Coffee, tea: 222,000 liters
Water, lemonade: 909,765 ½ liters
Chicken: 521,872 units
Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
The most popular (legal) souvenirs are the collectors’ stone mug, hair bands with flowers, mini beer steins, and pins. The glass mugs themselves are a hot item. Security guards recovered approximately 112,000 from would-be souvenir hunters. Many are not recovered; the Hofbräu tent alone averages 35,000 missing mugs each year and there is a fine for stealing them!
For all the information and full schedule of Oktoberfest events, go online at www.oktoberfest.de. It’s recommended to learn at least one German song so you can sing along with your new best friends. As is every year, there’s a hard competition about which song was the most popular in the beer tents. Apart from the usual hits, it was “Atemlos” by Helene Fischer, “Auf uns” by Andreas Bourani and “Brenna tuats guat” by Hubert von Goisern that made the tents go especially crazy.
Every year, more than 4,000 objects are found. The Lost and Found office houses jackets, sweaters, passports, wallets, keys, ID cards, mobile phones, bags and rucksacks, cameras, eyeglasses, jewelry, and watches; there have also been some unusual items found, such as wedding-rings, petticoats, a dental prosthesis, a set of cymbals and a transport box for cats. Missing kids and teenagers are taken care of by the Red Cross or municipal authorities until they are reunited. During Oktoberfest, the Lost and Found (Wiesn-Fundbüro) service center is set up on the Theresienwiese (entrance line, underground). You can find the service center behind the Schottenhamel-Festzelt.
On Saturday, September 16th, the Schottenhamel tent is the place to be if you want to catch the official opening ceremonies. At noon, the Mayor of Munich will have the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Once the barrel has been tapped, all visitors will then be allowed to quench their thirst. It pays to arrive early in order to experience the festivities up close and personal and it’s quite common for visitors to arrive as early as 09.00 am to secure good seats in their favorite tent. The festival lasts until October 3rd.
Opening hours? Beer Serving Hours
Opening day 12:00 noon – 11:30 pm. Last beer serving at 10:30
Weekdays 10:00 am – 11:30 pm
Saturday, Sunday & holiday 09:00 am – 10:30 pm
Daily closing hour 11.30 pm ‘Käfers Wiesnschänke’ and ‘Weinzelt’ open until 1.00 am
The fairgrounds are open on the opening day from 12:00 to 24:00.
On Sundays and Mondays to Thursdays, the carousels run from 10:00 to 23:30.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the fairgrounds are open from 10:00 to 24:00.
Please note that it is not advisable to bring children on weekends; for example, during the weekend, especially in the huts or even at the entrance to the Festwiese, you may be denied access by a baby carriage.
The official family days are on Tuesdays until 7 pm and offer reduced prices at almost all suppliers.
If you are a newcomer or just visiting Seoul, you will want to put Bongeunsa Temple on your must see places in Seoul list. When I first moved to Seoul in 2014, my neighbors invited me along on a visit to this temple and I fell in love.
My first impression was seeing all of these yellow mums lining the walkway leading up the entrance way. Next, I noticed a number of statues. Then quickly, realization set in that these weren’t just any statues but representations of the year you are born. A tiger, a mouse, a snake, and many more! I’m a tiger. How cool.
On your right before you enter, pick up a brochure/map outside at the information center. The brochure will tell you what each building and temple stands for and will enhance your experience with much more meaning. As you wander the grounds to see the multiple temples and pavilion houses, you may smell the aroma of incense, hear the beat of a drum from a ceremony, see worshipers at prayer, and feel the genuine peaceful, calming atmosphere of nature all around you. It is not uncommon to see monks wandering about the grounds.
Every September 9th of the lunar calendar, the Buddhist ceremony is held, where monks march carrying the scriptures on their heads and recite the Buddhist rites (Beopseongge).
A little history…Bongeunsa Temple (originally known as Gyeonseongsa Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Gangnam, Seoul. Built in 794, during the reign of King Wonseong of Silla, Bongeunsa became the head temple during the Seon sect of the Joseon Dynasty when the government supported Confucianism while oppressing Buddhism.
Around 1550, Bongeunsa was expanded and became the head monastery of national Jogye Seon Order and was the main Buddhist Zen temple from 1551 to 1936.
In 1939, and again during the Korean War (1950-1953), fire heavily damaged or destroyed most of the temple buildings. Between 1941-1982, repairs and renovations were made to restore the buildings. The oldest standing building is the library which was constructed in 1856. The library contains over 3,400 Buddhist scriptures and contains Flower Garland Sutra woodblock carvings.
The temple’s highlight is the 28 meter (91 foot) stone statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, and is one of the tallest stone statues in South Korea.
This temple was the birthplace of the Buddhist youth movement. Today, Bongeunsa has established itself as the center of Buddhist practice, a place of peace and tranquility in the center of one of the wealthiest and busiest places in the heart of Seoul. This makes Bongeunsa Temple an interesting cultural mix of both traditional and modern Seoul.
If you are new to the area or just visiting, put this 1,200+ year old temple in the heart of a modern Seoul on your bucket list of places to visit. If you desire to experience a taste of both the Korean and Buddhist culture, Bongeunsa can provide a two-day and one night Templestay program on the premises. You can experience the unique opportunity of the daily monastic way of life at a traditional temple, enjoy the peaceful sound of wind chimes in the fresh air, taste the fragrance of their tea all while spending time with a local monk. A place to soothe your mind and your body.
For more information about Bongeunsa or their Templestay, please call or email the temple directly. Reservations for a Templestay should be made three weeks in advance. Grounds are open daily to visitors and admission is free. Interpretation services are offered in English and Japanese. Pets are not permitted.
Dapsimni Antiques Market is located just one block away from Dapsimni Station, Seoul.
The antique shops are located in many buildings in the area but nearly all of them are concentrated into three main buildings called 2-Dong Town, 5-Dong Town and 6-Dong Town. Here you can pick up a variety of unique and interesting antique and vintage items with prices ranging on average from 10,000 Won for smaller items to the most expensive in the millions of Won. Like other markets, Dapsimni has a lot to offer. Inside the buildings are dozens of stores and you can easily wander from one shop to another. The hallways are packed with overflowing merchandise. Some of the shops sold true antiques, while others had reproductions or refurbished furniture. Some shops specialized in ceramics, while others mainly had trunks and baskets. We saw old locks, drums, statues, rice stamps, and bound manuscripts, just to name a few. If you’re looking for something specific, it’s probably there. The antiques are mainly from South Korea, North Korea, China or Japan but items from all around the world can be found. There are more than 150 antique and thrift stores in the area located near Dapsimni station with more than 300,000 items for sale.
The shopkeepers were all older and friendly. They were open to talking and explaining what things were for and shared information of when and where everything came from. Most spoke a little English and the language barrier was not much of an issue. It’s helpful if you know your Korean numbers in denominations of 10’s and most shopkeepers were open to some friendly minimal bartering on their prices. Even if you aren’t looking to buy any Korean antiques, the shopkeepers will add to your cultural experience here. Some shopkeepers accept only local currency while others take credit cards. So it’s best to bring both.
If you’re hungry or thirsty, next to the Dapsimni Station are two coffee shops, Ediya and Starbucks, several local Korean restaurants, and my favorite, Pho102, a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant on the 2nd floor just a couple of doors down from Starbucks. Pho102 Vietnamese Thai Cuisine
10:00 am – 19:00 pm. Closed on Sundays and Holidays.
How to get to Dapsimni Antique Shopping Market:
Take line 5 to Dapsimni Station and leave exit 1 or 2. Main stores are located in 3 buildings just one block off the main street.
Every June 6, Korea’s Memorial Day is designated to honor fallen Soldiers and civilians of South Korea who have given their lives for their country. Ceremonies are held throughout the country with the largest ceremony being held at the Seoul National Cemetery, an impressive, immaculately landscaped and maintained cemetery and park.
Seoul National Cemetery, est. 1956, is one of two national cemeteries in South Korea. The other one is located in Daejeon.
The Seoul National Cemetery is near Dongjak Station on Subway Line 4 or Line 9 and is accessible to the public.
It’s the start of a New Year and a great time to reflect on the progress you’ve made over the past year as you make your new resolutions. It’s easy to fall into a creative rut-but there’s no time like the present to challenge yourself to try new techniques in the coming year. Perhaps you got a new camera over the holidays or some new gear you can’t wait to try. Get started here with these 5 resolutions I can recommend all photographers make for 2017:
Travel– You don’t have to spend a ton of money or time in order to explore somewhere completely new to you. What about that interesting local landmark or a nearby nature reserve you’ve been meaning to see. Go ahead and set aside yourself a day in which you’ll actually pack up your gear, hit the road and capture some photos of somewhere you’ve never been before. There’s nothing like a change of scenery to stir the creativity that might’ve been otherwise lying dormant over the past few months.
Go Manual– If you’ve gotten into the habit of allowing your camera to do most of the work for you, challenge yourself to switch into manual mode. Not only does this keep you more in touch with the scenes you’re working on, it allows you more compositional and creative freedom.
Leave Your Comfort Zone– Do you consider yourself strictly a wedding photographer? Or maybe heading outside and shooting landscapes is more of your thing? This year, challenge yourself to shoot in a genre that is not your style. Whether it is a portrait of your family or action shots at a local sporting event, make it a point to include a new niche into your routine.
Take Better Care of Your Gear– Make some time to browse the internet and learn to clean and prepare your gear properly for the weather and work you will be doing. If you live in an environment that’s severely effected by winter weather, it’s even more important to treat and protect your equipment with the appropriate seasonal care it deserves.
Put Yourself Out There– If you haven’t already done so, take the time to create some new social media pages. If you have, then now is a great time to look them over and see if they need updating. Are the links working correctly? Do you need to update your profile photos? Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and 500px are extremely user-friendly and easy to get used to. When it comes to promoting your work professionally, you’ll have already have developed an easily accessible archive of your images to share with anyone who’s looking to check out your style.
I hope you all have enjoyed these tips. Hope you have a great year and I would love to know what your favorite genre of photography is. Hope to hear from you soon!