This week marks the first week of Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. If I haven't mentioned it before, I am an Oktoberfest freak. I may not like beer or bratwurst too much, but I am German. However, I've only found two things about German culture that truly excite me--Oktoberfest and Christmas markets. Fortunately I'm able to peek in on both of those things thanks to the wonders of technology. Both events have numerous webcams available to view all the goings-on. I've long been fascinated by webcams, dating all the way back to my sophomore year of college, but obviously I have a bit more on my plate these days and I don't have a lot of free time to browse new cameras. However, when either of these events come up, I can't help but be excited. I can watch the activity from my computer, and for Oktoberfest, I can hear it, too! I love listening to the ooom-pah-pah music of the Oktoberfest bands (and the rock music too!) and the boisterous sounds of thousands of people drinking beer, clinking glasses, and singing along. I'm not a fan of drunk people, in general, but everything just sounds so FUN. Probably because I'm sitting comfortably in a chair far away, not listening to the noise in person or dealing with drunk people falling all over themselves, or getting freaked out by the chaos and lack of English. Same goes for the Christmas markets. The lights, shopping and food look lovely from here, but I might not like it as much if I were in the middle of a sea of people, in the freezing cold, trying to find my way around a massive market. Still, they look like amazing events.
While the peak times of my vacation dreams usually happen in the middle of summer (when I've had enough of staring at the beautiful weather out my window and just want to enjoy it) and the tail end of winter (when my entire being longs to feel warm weather and sun). However, during Oktoberfest and the Christmas markets I can't help but dream about attending those events someday. I wonder what it would be like, after all these years of watching, to actually be there--to hear the sounds, smell the smells (hopefully just the good ones), and see all of the things I've been so enamored with for so long. I can just imagine it being a "pinch me" sort of moment, almost on the same level as going to prom, working in sports, getting married, or having a baby. Each was a long-awaited special event with lots of build-up, and I imagine a trip like this would be as well. Surreal, to say the least. I will say that when we got a AAA brochure with some of their current trip offerings did make me think for a minute or two whether or not we could swing something. Not only was there a plethora of reasonable cruises, but there was also a relatively reasonable (read: expensive but cheaper than I would have imagined) tour of Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. Drool.
Of course, a trip like that (or anything beyond your typical car-based road trip) is pretty much out of the question right now. Financially it would be foolish and the thought of coordinating it all (money, work, Jacob--whether he would go with us or not) is beyond my comprehension. I'm all for having a Jacob-free weekend here and there, but I'm having a hard time picturing being without him for a week. I mean, yes...Craig and I need our time alone to bond and I wouldn't mind eating a full week of uninterrupted meals. The thought of being able to take naps, read, relax by a pool, or sightsee without child-based schedule alterations does sound lovely. But I'm not sure how I'd do for a full week away from him. Considering he's the center of my world right now, and has been for over two years, I'm not sure I'd know how to do it. And if I discovered I didn't mind it, I think my guilt would ruin the whole effect anyway. But on the other hand, taking him on a major vacation not only seems like a major hassle right now, but would cost a lot of extra money for something he probably won't remember. By next year I might consider it, since I think I was three when I first went to Disney World, and I do have memories of it. They may be faint and based in part on photos I've seen in the years since, but I do remember loving it, so I at least know that much. And perhaps because the baby thing is on hold for a bit, it wouldn't be bad to do something like that before our world is thrown back into baby chaos and Jacob isn't the entire center of attention anymore. But then again, should Craig and I have one last getaway with just the two of us instead? It was nice last time when we went to Disney when I was newly pregnant (other than the whole "can't ride rollercoasters" part), but part of me would feel guilty for having a fantastic time away and not sharing it with Jacob. Even if he's not going to appreciate the cruise ship or the sandy beach and fruity drinks, it seems sort of wrong to spend all of that money on ourselves and just leave him at home. Not that he knows the difference yet, but you know...does that mean we have to buy him a really fantastic present once we get back? In any event, once another baby is added into the mix I'd have to think a good vacation would be a long, long way off again, so either way it seems like it would be nice to get away before that happens. I guess you can add that to the list of why waiting an extra year might be a blessing. Hmmm.
In the meantime, I guess we'll just have to keep an eye out for any opportunities that might come up. They'll still have to be within the budget and be worth the stress of the preparations and the travel itself, but it's food for thought. Until something comes up, I'll just have to enjoy my webcams and keep dreaming. And if, by some miracle, someday we have the money to go off to far away places and spoil ourselves with amazing views and exciting activities, that will be even better. But for now, I guess we'll have to settle with going to Rochester's version of Oktoberfest. Stay tuned for that...