The “real” Oktoberfest turned out to be quite a goodtime as well (in fact we liked it so much we went several times)! On our first trip there we arrived around lunch time and met up with a friend of Toby´s. We spent the first hour or so wandering around the huge fairgrounds and looking at all the gigantic tents and crazy looking rides. I have to say that the rides at the Oktoberfest definitely seemed a bit more impressive (and a bit more secure) than some of the rides at the NC Fair, but we didn’t take the time to find out. We made our way into the “traditional” Oktoberfest, which is a slightly separate area that is a bit calmer and more family friendly. Here we snagged spots at a table and ordered our first beer and some food. It was fascinating sitting there and people watching.There were lots of adorable children roaming around in their traditional outfits, waiters everywhere scurrying around carrying who knows how many liters of beer and people yelling “Prost!” every few seconds. Next to us was a fish tent, where they literally stick fish on sticks and put them in the dirt to grill, then they just slide them off the stick, wrap them in paper and there´s lunch! I decided to pass on that delicacy as I prefer my fish sans eyeballs… I got some sort of German meat and potatoes dish instead.
We got a chance to talk to ours seatmates who were visiting from Cologne for the day and were very friendly. You make friends pretty quickly when you are all sandwiched tightly together on a bench, and people often hear me speaking English and want to know where I´m from and what I´m doing there (I usually just point to Toby).
Around 4:30 we realized we were running late for our reservation in the largest tent, so we tried to hurry over to our tent, try being the operative word, because it´s so crowded that it´s hard to hurry anywhere. Eventually we made it, however once we entered the massive tent (which seats around 10,000 people) we couldn’t find the table we were supposed to be at, so we just plopped down at the first one we saw with some empty space. Once again we quickly made friends, I had a really nice chat about religion with a girl who was visiting with some friends from Cologne. Eventually we decided religion was probably too heavy a topic for the Oktoberfest, so we jumped up on the benches and starting partying along with everyone else.
The rest of the night was a blast, we hung out with everyone at our table until around 9, but at that point it felt like it was after midnight since we had been there for so long. So we bid farewell to our new friends and slowly made our way out of the Oktoberfest gates. There were loud and let’s say “boisterous” festival-goers everywhere outside the gates (there police everywhere too). I had no idea where I was going, but thankfully it´s pretty easy to follow the crowd, so we ended up back at the metro and safely made our way home. Overall I would have to say it was a success! My wallet is definitely a lot lighter (each beer is 10 Euros, and food isn´t cheap either), but it was worth it! I think we´re going to go back this weekend to ride the Ferris wheel and get some more food, plus of course some souvenir beer mugs!
Oktoberfest Round 2
So we did end up going back to Oktoberfest twice, first for a quick lunch with some friends who were visiting from out of town, and then with the Democratic Party later that night. How did we end up with the American Democratic Party in Munich you may be asking… Long story short, while searching for things to do in Munich I found a Facebook group for Democrats Abroad, and it turns out they have a chapter here. The Chapter was hosting several events over the weekend, including an outing to the Oktoberfest with seat reservations, which aren´t easy to come by . Unfortunately it looked like tickets were sold out for that event by the time I found out about it, but lo and behold we ended up getting two extra tickets last minute when we went to one of their other events Sunday morning. So we ventured back to Oktoberfest Sunday night, first riding the gigantic Ferris wheel, which offered fantastic views of the festival grounds, and then making our way through the crowds to the tent we had reservations for.
The chapter had reserved about 120 seats, so we had a sizeable area to ourselves.
There were people from all over Europe (if not the world) who were visiting. We met a couple in the military who were stationed nearby, a woman from Paris, and two ladies from other chapters in Germany just to name several. We had seats on the balcony which allowed us to be a little removed from the craziness, while still getting a prime view of it all below. There were platters of appetizers on every table and of course plenty of beer steins to go around. I also got to enjoy a delicious roast chicken, one of the staples of the Oktoberfest (over 500,000 chickens are consumed each year). The music at this tent was awesome, they played newer songs as well as a bunch of American and German classics like “Sweet Caroline” and “Joana du geile Sau” (a very raunchy but catchy song).
The night was a blast, though we had to cut out a bit early since Toby had work and I started my German course the next morning. I have to say, I´m really going to miss the excitement of Oktoberfest, and also seeing people everywhere dressed in traditional clothes, it was a lot of fun! Hopefully this year will won´t be the last time I get to experience the biggest beer festival in the world.
If you´re interested in learning more about the Oktoberfest, here is an interesting article/quiz about the festival.