Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So there's this festival in Munich...

Let me tell you about my brief encounter with that thing know as Oktoberfest…

I DID visit friends in Germany
Because I wasn’t planning on spending the night in Munich (see below), I decided to first stop in Muenster and see my friends Julia and Jonas.  It was a nice evening of catching up, as well as making plans for future travel (like New Years!)

I DID NOT meet with people at the fair
I knew of two separate groups of people going to Oktoberfest…neither of which got back to me in time to tell me where to meet them.
There was also a Couch Surfing daily meet-up scheduled.  We were supposed to meet in front of the Bavaria statue…
But instead there was a massive bandstand with music…
I don’t know if this happenes every day (if so it was VERY poor planning on the event coordinator’s part) but it left me wandering the surrounding areas looking for other people who possibly looked like they were there alone…which was no one.  Which left me alone and very frustrated surrounded by drunks.

I DID wear a dirndl…
At first I was a little apprehensive…until I arrived at Munich Central Station.  Wearing a dirndl or lederhosen to Oktoberfest is like wearing red, white, and blue on the Fourth of July…you, and everyone else, just does it.  Especially kids.  And oh man are they adorable. I actually was able to join in in the festivities!  Julia had one and when I visited her before I left for Munich, she let me borrow it.  It made my day a little more authentic.

I DID NOT stay in a hostel…
Yes they’re expensive, and yes you have to book them about six months to a year in advance, but I would highly recommend attempting to enjoy the fair instead of worrying about arriving and catching trains.  What I did instead was take a night train from Muenster.  This involved me and four guys with horrible BO in a compartment.  They had the top two bunks and the bottom two which left me stuck in the middle, which only gave me a surround sound experience to their constant snoring.  To be fair, they were really nice, and the train conductor even took me aside and asked if I was comfortable staying in this cabin by myself.  I thought that was nice of him.

I DID eat a pretzel…
If you’re going to eat a Pretzel, get it from a cart that is getting them fresh from the bakery inside the beer tents, not some random cart that has them stashed away among sandwiches and nuts.  They are so much better, so much bigger, and not much more expensive…and so worth it.

I DID NOT drink beer…
I KNOW!  Ok here’s the thing…Beer halls get filled very quickly.  Tables upon tables of people eating, drinking, and being merry.  But if you’re not a part of any group, it’s not nearly as fun.  First you have to find a table with an open seat.  Then you have to figure out if they speak English AND are willing to do so for the remainder of your company.  Then you have to ask if you can join their table.  And only then can you comfortably order a giant liter of beer from a beer maiden and feel comfortable about it.  Since that was really difficult to do, I bypassed it.  I hear at night, this is much easier.  But when people are first starting out the day, they are on a mission to get drunk now, be merry later.  However, I would never forgive myself if I left Munich during Oktoberfest having practiced a form of unwarranted prohibition, so I did get a bottle of Bavaria “Oktoberfest” beer at the train station and ate it with my sandwich while I waited for my train.

I DID take pictures
Of course, I’m not actually in any of them…which means they all look like every other photo of Oktoberfest out there…but still, they’re mine.

I DID NOT make a train reservation
Ok this is partly my bad.  But I could not get the website to do so before I left.  And when I got to Germany, EVERYTHING was booked.  I could not get a night train out of Munich, which left me with catching a train at 3 in the afternoon instead.  I’m not complaining anymore however, seeing as I had finished my solo tour of the fair grounds and gotten a relaxing lunch and still had an hour to kill.  So here I am on a train to Venice a day early, costing an extra hostel night out of my wallet, but happy to finally be able to relax.

I DID enjoy myself
Ok, I wasn’t participating in Oktoberfest the way most people do…but I still enjoyed walking around for the couple of hours that I was there.  I went into most beer tents and saw how they were decorated…

I saw all the horse drawn beer wagons…

I grabbed a coffee and just watched the fair go by.

So maybe I need to go back to Oktoberfest.  I know I at least have to go back to Munich.  Then I can actually get a beer, tour the city, afford a hostel, etc.  At the beginning of the day, I was grumpy and not looking forward to the fair.  But as I type this, I realize it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And it’s something that I can say I was at…and not many others can do the same.

Word of the Day: Beer - Beer (German)


  1. Hi hippo Libby. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am also a grad student, by the way. In Marketing and Communications. It is so much work...it gets rough but enjoying the experience. Hope to be a regular reader (in between reading text books...lol)

  2. Hello there fellow hippo! Oktoberfest in Munich sounds like lots of fun! I had a great time when I was in Germany a few years ago, but I didn't make it to Munich. I mostly stayed in Berlin. I hope to read more about your overseas experience! :)

  3. Sounds like a great experience! Oktoberfest doesn't have to be about the beer. Did you have an Oktoberfest sausage? .. they're pretty good! I had one while passing through Germany. I look forward to hearing more of your experience living overseas.
    - Lauren

  4. Very cool- can't wait to see pics. I think my favorite part is the outfit & dressing up...something about being in a costume makes events so much more fun!

  5. Sounds like so much fun. Hello from a fellow Hippo.

  6. Sounds lke fun. I've always wondered about drindl thing, if anyone really ever wore them.

  7. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

    I attended a few Oktoberfests when I was a kid in the States. But I'm sure it's nothing like the real thing. :)

    Stopping by from the Hippo Tribe on SITS! :)

  8. how fun! It's DH's dream to go to Oktoberfest. The real one.

  9. You are a brave girl. Body odor with surround sound of men. You are amazing. Please post the pictures as soon as you can. Glad you enjoyed yourself!


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