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Q&A by Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I would like to surprise my husband for our 15th anniversary with a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest in 2006. Unfortunately, the hotels are already booking fast and the moderate hotels are very expensive with the Euro! I was wondering if you had any recommendations, or know of a website where I could find a reasonably priced hotel. We will be 37, so no hostels or shared bathrooms please!

A: Besides hearing the familiar sounds of that German tune “Roll out the Barrel,” where polka dancing revelers stomp to the um-pa-pa beat, you’ll be bound to see lots of lederhosen and plenty of sausages to go with that pint too.

The annual Oktoberfest which dates back to 1810 is today the world’s largest folk festival that is celebrated at the same location as it did when King Ludwig I and his bride, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen married there.

That’s when this royal pair invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. Today, the meadows are still referred to as Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields") in honor of the Crown Princess although the locals have since shortened the term to "Wies'n".

So "welcome to the Wies'n" means nothing other than "welcome to the Oktoberfest"! Ulla Hennigs-Pfau, Director for the German National Tourist Office in Toronto suggests that for budget seeking visitors to this popular festival, the nearby environs could be the ticket. As all the towns have train stations, you could go by train to Munich.

Try the medieval city of Landshut or also Augsburg which are roughly a 1 hour train ride from Munich. “The train connections are very good and the train service is frequent,” says Ulla.

For details on hotel accommodations, book mark the following web pages, www.regio-augsburg.de which is the Augsburg Tourism Office and www.landshut.de which is the Landshut Tourism Office. Both web sites offer information in English and have sublinks on hotels and accommodations. For instance the Landshut Tourism Office lists the 30-room Hotel Park-Café from 52 Euros for a double room.

Other resources worth considering include the Germany Hotel web site at www.hotellerie.de or visit your preferred travel agent for details.

For travel information on Germany contact the GNTO at (416) 968-1685, visit www.cometogermany.com and for travel info on Munich contact the Munich Tourist Office by visiting them online at www.muenchen.de

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