Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Oktoberfest: Munich, Germany

One of my favorite moments happened within 10 minutes of arriving in Munich. Dan went to park the car while I went to check us into the hostel. Right next to the hostel entrance was an outdoor patio where people were smoking and drinking. Before I walked inside the hostel, I heard someone screaming my name from the patio. When I turned to see Kelly running toward me is the same moment she didn’t see a low chain that created a barrier between the entrance and the patio. She flew over it, landing on the other side sprawled on the ground with a look of drunken confusion and embarrassment. 

After I helped her up and attempted to stifle my laughter we did a sort of celebratory jumping hug.

[Normally I would put a picture of Kelly and her atrocious bruise from that fall here, but I know she's a reader and will send me hate mail, so I've omitted it. I will however, send that picture upon request.]

Oktoberfest Day I

[As I briefly mentioned before, Dan and I came to Munich for Oktoberfest to join Kelly and her friends from Croatia. There’s Kelly, Bob, Miki, Sarah, Dan, Christy and her husband Ian. They’re all teachers at The International School of Zagreb.]

Once everyone was Oktoberfest ready, (which took quite a bit of time considering there were 9 people sharing one room, 8 beds and 1 bathroom) we headed to the Theresienwiese, which are the official grounds of the Oktoberfest.

Map of the Grounds

By the time we arrived it was nearly 11am and raining hard. The goal is to get into one of those numbered tents above. The lines were longer than normal since it was raining and no one was interested in sitting outside. We chose the Löwenbrau Tent and hopped in line. And waited, and waited and waited. In took nearly 2 hours to get inside and was miserable the whole time. Kelly and I were wearing a dirndl and lederhosen so therefore weren’t wearing much. Cold dripping rainwater from neighboring umbrellas wasn’t helping.

She hates the rain
But it's better with beer! 

As we got closer to the entrance it was clear what a massive cluster fuck it was. Each time they opened the door to let more people in, it was a mad, shoving, pushing mess of people clawing their way inside. We almost gave up because, let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for dat, especially at our age, but we were so close we could taste it. (Quite literally actually as Croatia Dan jumped out of line to get us all steins of beer as we waited.)

Finally the line moved and we were only a handful of people from the door. As the bouncer opened the door, we all gripped hands in anticipation. As a measure of crowd control the bouncer was only letting in one person at a time, rewarding those not pushing and shoving.

We each slowly and separately got into the tent. Once we realized all of us made it inside, we started dancing and hugging in a ridiculous group circle. A waitress noticed us, and the potential opportunity, and directed us towards an empty table.

The next 6 hours were a Bavarian mess of liter beers, entire chickens, countless pee breaks and singing and dancing on tables. Around 7pm we all headed to dinner, successfully making it there together. Corralling 9 people that collectively drank 38 liters that have 9 different itineraries is nearly impossible.

“I have to pee.”
“I want to go on that ride.”
“I want a sausage.”
“There’s a cute German boy.”
“Where are we going?”
“Why did we leave the tent?”
“What’s happening?”
“I have to pee.”
“Let’s take a group picture.”
“Should I buy this German hat?”
“Those nuts smell good.”
“I have to pee.”

And so it goes.

How Kelly picks up the boys.
We're empty!
We're full!
For dinner we went to the Augustiner across from our hostel. Nothing too noteworthy happened there expect I tried Pork Knuckle for the first time. Pork Knuckle is a German dish of the lower part of a pickled ham hock. It’s boiled then baked and served with potato dumplings. It was interesting and I’m glad I tried it, but probably one of those one-time things.

Sufficiently stuffed and drunk, we all headed back to the hostel. Half of us went to bed the other half drinking at the hostel bar. All in all, it was an extremely successful Oktoberfest experience.

Oktoberfest Day II

Day two we all woke to mixed reviews. Half of the group went back to Oktoberfest, the other half to explore Munich. Dan and I choose the latter. We did a self-guided tour thanks to Trip Advisor.

First stop Karlzplatz, past the Palace of Justice and a photo op at the fountain.

Next was Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Dear Lady) and then to the popular Marienplatz to gawk at the Neues Rathaus (The New Town Hall).

New Town Hall
The New Town Hall is richly decorated, built in a gothic revival architecture style. We were just in time for the 11am performance of the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, which is the second construction phase of the Town Hall.

It chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century to amusement of the massive crowds that gather. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. It was quite adorable. 

From there we headed to the Hofbräuhaus, Munich’s most famous beer hall and the oldest. It dates back to 1589, and something I found interesting: it was once used by the Nazi Party to hold meetings and spread their message. It’s massive, holding 1,300 people, so finding a spot for lunch was a breeze. We had beer and sausages, duh.

The self guided tour had a couple more stops left, but we decided we were in Munich for Oktoberfest, so should probably go to Oktoberfest. We coordinated with the group that was there and headed to the grounds.

Day II was infinitely better than the previous day. There was open seating and no rain. We spent the rest of the day sitting on different beer tent patios drinking, eating whole chickens and making new friends.

Friends, beer and damage control.
Another success!

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha those thoughts sound accurate. I've heard horror stories about the bathroom lines there, how were they?


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