When people learn that I travel to Germany frequently and that I am a huge fan of all things German, a common question is “Have you been to Oktoberfest in Munich?” Finally, I can answer that question affirmatively! Below is a play-by-play of my epic journey to Munich with Buka friend Emmeline.
Thursday, September 27th, 17:00 – Help Emmeline pick out a Dirndl to wear to Oktoberfest
19:00 – Leave hotel for Berlin main train station
20:00 – Arrive at main train station, waste time at stores and restaurants until Night train departure at 20:56
21:25 – Finally get on the train after a 30-minute delay
21:40 – Meet cute German family with whom we shared our sleeper cabin; relearn how to make a train bed with super tricky sheet on top bunk of the train
22:00 – 7:00, September 28th – Sleep restlessly in train, noticing each time that the train changes directions
7:15 – Arrive in Munich, immediately notice that we are not the only people hoping to go to Oktoberfest (lots of Lederhosen and Dirndl action!)
7:50 – Finally find an open café; sip cappuccino overlooking Munich’s famous Rathaus and Glockenspiel
|Emmeline and her breakfast!|
9:00 – head back towards train station and the Oktoberfest festival grounds; still overwhelmed by all the people who are walking with us. (Tip: If you ever go to Oktoberfest and don’t know where you are going, follow the Lederhosen!)
|World-famous Munich Rathaus!|
9:40 – Arrive at Oktoberfest, realizing that everything is still closed. Pick a beer tent line to stand in to wait until everything opens at…
|Hofbrauhaus Tent - we did not go in!|
|Out and about at Oktoberfest|
10:00 – Enter Löwenbräu beer tent. Scramble about with the rest of the mob entering the tent, trying to figure out how one gets a seat at a table without a reservation!
|More Oktoberfest things!|
10:10 – Find a table with enough room for two. Ask cute German girls if we can sit with them.
|We were right by the bandstand!|
|The tent started filling up quickly.|
10:20 – Watch longingly as everyone else seems to be getting their liters of beer before you! Eventually the waitress comes by and you order your liter of beer! Victory!
|Me 'n our beers!|
|Emmeline n' our beers!|
10:30 – Befriend nice German girls by offering to take a picture of them for them. Eventually learn how Oktoberfest works!
|Group shot! Notice Emmeline's dirndl.|
10:50 – Order a huge pretzel, realizing we will not make it if we don’t eat something while drinking tons of beer!
11:00 – Stand up and cheer randomly when others do the same first
11:01 – Watch the first guy try to down an entire liter of beer in one drink, while standing on a table – Success, followed by lots of cheering!
11:02 – Learn that the second weekend of Oktoberfest is Italian weekend; this means that there are a lot of Italian men who make the pilgrimage to Munich, and they are loud and Italian-like.
12:00 – The band starts! Yay for drinking songs and clapping on counts one through four!
12:20 – Another guy tries to finish his beer in one drink, he fails, and beer shoots out of his mouth and nose. He is apparently unable to finish it because he is British, so say the German girls.
12:30 – Emmeline meets German mechanical engineers, and she is happy!
This video includes some of the crazy Italians (at the beginning), Emmeline's engineers (to her right), and our German friends (to Emmeline's left).
|The beer is nearly gone!|
13:00 – Leave Löwenbräu tent. All the rides, games, and stands seem more interesting after one has finished a liter of beer!
14:00 – Have lunch in the city center at Augustinerbräu, my favorite Munich brewery. Teach Emmeline how to eat Weisswurst.
|Linner at Augustiner!|
15:30 – Go shopping in crowded city center to kill time until evening train departure
17:00 – Arrive back at train station, wait for train
18:00 – Wait in train to leave, nearly 30 minutes late again
19:30 – Enter crazy ukulele-playing German guy who complains about not having any rights after others ask him to stop playing his instrument in the quiet wagon car
20:00 – 23:00 – Restlessly sleep on and off, change train directions twice
0:40, September 29th – Arrive back in Berlin, cranky, tired, and a little sick from various illnesses, take a train and a trolley back to hotel.
1:30 – Finally fall asleep in one’s own hotel room!
My general thoughts about Oktoberfest are: I am soooooo glad I went! It was sooooooo much more fun than I could have imagined! I am extremely happy that we were able to actually get seats and could really experience Oktoberfest. I think traveling with fewer people and being a girl helps you to get access to tables and to meet others. There are a lot more Germans who go to Oktoberfest than I had thought. Don’t go to the Hofbrauhaus tent; it is where all the British and Australian tourists go, and they try to down entire liters every five minutes or so. This mean there is a higher likelihood of getting beer spilled on you!I would recommend Oktoberfest to anyone who wants to see lots of people wearing stereotypical German clothing and who wants to make friends with locals and foreigners alike!