Oktoberfest in New Mexico

This is part 2 of HB’s long weekend roadtrip to New Mexico. Read her first post where she went hiking around Taos, New Mexico.

We first learned of the weekend’s Oktoberfest celebrations when we parked at a Bavarian restaurant in order to reach the trailhead for our moonlight hike. The owner of the inn invited us to come back in the morning for the festivities while the staff fed us soup and pretzels, despite having closed the kitchen, when they learned that we had just arrived after driving so long only to find that the hike was cancelled.

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The next morning, we returned to the Bavarian restaurant. Not quite ready to partake in the festivities, we took the chair lift located nearby to head to the top of the ski slopes. As we bought our tickets for the lift, we found ourselves in the company of an incredibly boisterous group of tourists. They didn’t seem in a rush to get to the top and allowed us to go on ahead of them. This ended up being a major win since we were able to enjoy the view and sounds of nature before their group summited and proceeded to fill the air with deafening conversation.

 

pic-2Thankfully, the prattlers didn’t stay long, but their noise did compel me to venture off (or rather, escape into) the wilderness where I saw two deer, gravity-defying chipmunks and plenty of songbirds. I took the opportunity to investigate my surroundings. I found the markings of a woodpecker on a dead tree trunk, studied the various kinds of rocks and listened to much birdsong. I even got to track the doe’s path, culminating in me excitedly pointing out her droppings to my husband and then taking a picture for him since he wouldn’t come see them for himself… meh – his loss.

While heading back down on the lift, the temperature began to drop and the sky became overcast. What’s more, the killer tunes of a German polka band drifted up to us from below. Our timing had been spot-on. After dismounting, we walked to the restaurant, grabbed a table in the sun (!!! – find out why that’s a surprise in an earlier post) to warm up from the chilly ride and were greeted by a lederhosen-wearing waiter.

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The Oktoberfest menu offered authentic dishes and even a vegetarian option – Spätzle, homemade Bavarian pasta with seasonal vegetables and Swiss cheese – which was delicious! We also had it on good authority (from the chef the previous night) that the pork roast was a solid choice as it had been cooked overnight with the marinades and sauces simmering just as long. My husband opted for the Schweinebraten -slow roasted pork roast with fingerling potatoes and braised cabbage- since meat is a rarity for him and between bites, confirmed its goodness.

Let’s just pause a moment and appreciate the uber-yumminess of this meal:

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As we continued eating and drinking our gigantic Andecks lager, darker clouds rolled in and it began to sleet! We had wisely chosen a table covered by an awning and watched excitedly as people reacted to the sudden extreme weather. The polka band played on. Then, just as suddenly as it began, the sleet ended and festivities resumed as planned. Festival-goers returned to their seats and continued as though nothing had happened.

After a few more sips into the lager, it began to snow! Granted, it was a very wet snow and melted as it contacted most surfaces, but the environment was jubilant. Everyone laughed, smiled and cheered for the randomness. The group of late 20-something men next to us grunted (as manly men do), and their fearless leader announced, “Don’t worry, I’ve got the fireplace app on my phone. Drink on, men!”

The snow lasted longer than the sleet and after a few more minutes, the family across from us relented to the conditions and decided to head inside. “I’ve got the baby and the beer,” the father announced. The polka band played on.

From my seat, I couldn’t help but look around and marvel at the whole of it. Rather than let it ruin the mood, the crowd pressed on, subconsciously knowing that the experience had somehow brought us all together. Perhaps it was the food, perhaps it was the way of the Taos people, or perhaps it was the relentless polka tunes radiating from the bandstand. We may never know. In the meantime, let’s just try to be as spirited as these skiers who occupied a prominent position in the corridor of the Bavarian restaurant (may their fabulousness live on forever):

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If you’d like to check out Taos Ski Valley on your next trip to New Mexico, visit here to find out the events in the area during your visit and make sure to plan around the full moon hikes.

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