I've been to Oberammergau for the second time this summer, and the best part of going somewhere as a non-tourist is that you get a peak behind the glossy surface that you normally get in touch with. Oberammergau is known for its Passion Play, and when I got home - I recieved a comment that I smelled differently.(An agressive, dirndl-wearing girl-driver from Oberammergau the above here.) I don't know whether the Oberammergauians have a contagious a scent or my scent hormons went crazy during the stay, but one thing is for sure; there are definately more to this town than just the Passion Play.
Together with some Oberammergauians I went to a beer tent festival. My hostess, Verena, insisted on me wearing a dirndl. In the beginning I didn't quite understood the importance of wearing one (except it would be fun), but when we arrived the tent in Garmisch I realized that every girl wore one (and the guys had lederhosens) and I woud looked silly in ordinary clothes. This dress is a regional-national costume (Bavarian) and it is common to own 2-5 examples. They come in different sizes and colours, mine had a long black skirt with at dark red/black brocade and a red/white-striped apron. But you can have shorter skirts and aprons (but above knee is not seen as respectable) with or without patterns, and the blouses can also have different arm lengths and shapes. You can choose any colour and pattern you like. I tried to spot two identical dresses but that was impossible because there simply weren't any. I guess that is the whole point; every dress is supposed to be unique.
(A lederhosen-wearing Tobias Eich and a dirndl-wearing Karianne Lotterud at the tent table trying to do the cheese-trick.)
The beer tent life is a chapter of itself. This Garmisch-festival is much less commercialized than the October-fest, and therefore there are mostly locals that attend. The age limit is 16 years old, and when we were getting passed the guards they were a bit confused; a girl dressed bavarian but with a Norwgian driving licence? Where is the logic in that?? Fortunately they accepted this weird combination, and let me inside together with my Oberammergauian friends. And inside there were bunches of people wearing dirndls and lederhosens, eating local food and drinking from enormously large glasses filled with various kinds of beers. I tested the Bavarian beer called russ; a mixture of white beer and ginger ale. It tasted wonderfully but I had problems lifting the glass because it was so heavy with its content.
When the band hit the stage the tent's visitors went dancingly and singingly mad. Everyone went up on their benches and from that moment on the party was hot and humid (it was like a sauna except that we had clothes on). Here and there someone was lifted up in the air to drink up their beer while standing on the table. But the real trick to blend in was to dance with your hands above your head as much as possible and sing in constant disharmonies. I did both and was totally accepted as a Bavarian girl. Except from the driving licence.