So I’m still quite unsure as to what Rupertikirtag was all about, but I enjoyed it from three perspectives; having a night out with friends, taking the kids along at the weekend, and on my own, as a passer-by, seeing things through tourists’ eyes. Anyhow, what with the masses of dirndl/lederhosen wearers, daytime drunkards and sugar-hyped kids, it was impossible to avoid, but impossible not to embrace.
I’d heard about this ‘Volksfest’ even before I arrived here, an event I was told to put in my diary a month ago. Posters and general hype for the event were widespread anyway; it seemed to be on everyone’s agenda.
My first taste of what all the fuss was about was on the Friday night, a local had mentioned the beer tent so I got a group of (new!) friends together to check it out. The atmosphere was very Oktoberfest, with a very Austrian flavour; beer by the stein, a traditional band and a real patriotic energy. Everyone was friendly, welcoming and very, very drunk. In line with tradition (ahem), we headed straight to a club to drink vodka and listen to techno. I love culture.
Having eventually recovered, I took the girls to the festival on the Sunday. Needless to say, the hardcore Austrians were already out in force with their beers and traditional dress by 11am. There was a range of rides for all ages, and countless stalls selling a variety of traditional goods, from edibles (Schnitzel, chocolate-covered fruit, a choice of hot dogs) to gifts, to the usual fete crap. An hour or two sure is an easy way to part with a fair few Euros, especially with two eager and excitable kids. Everyone was in great spirits though, and it really did prove to be fun for all.
As a tourist, I found the whole thing really quaint; people really do wear these things, and bang their beer steins together, and drink from noon to night! It made me realise quite how detached from tradition us Brits are – I hate to say it, but I feel that an expensive day on rip-off rides and eating crap followed by a heavy night down the local is the only fair comparison! Oh England.
The whole Ruperti chaos made me realise two things; this city, these people, this culture, this tradition rock!
Secondly, I really, really, really want to go to Oktoberfest.