I went to Munich for Oktoberfest, and…
…I barely had two liters of beer.
I definitely thought Oktoberfest was a giant beer drinking festival, but in reality it is a giant carnival. It makes every county fair I’ve ever been to look pathetically tiny.
Literally, dozens of roller coasters and bumper cars and every other type of ride imaginable. And all the crazy foods that go with such madness – including not only cinnamon coated doughnuts and warm chocolate and coconut coated almonds, but also pretzels literally twice the size of my head and roasted fish.
Technically, this madness is a wedding festival, celebrating the marriage of some German king to some beautiful lady. But in reality, it is a two week, three weekend excuse for Germany to shut down and party. There are about a dozen “tents,” each of which takes a couple months to build and a week to take down. My rough estimate is that each tent seats at least 2,000 people, and they probably cover not even a third of the fairgrounds. Oktoberfest is literally HUGE.
A lot of people said that going to Oktoberfest is an absolute must, that I’d be crazy to miss it. Others said that its basically a madhouse and I’d be crazy to attempt it. In reality, both parties are right, but it was totally worth it.
I went to Oktoberfest with Christine and Alessandra, who are friends currently living in Paris. Christine is good friends with my neighbor (they went to high school and studied abroad in France together), and Alessandra is just a few years younger than myself. They have friends, Misha and Sophie, who live in Munich and are ethnically Czech. Just to be confusing. Long story short, we got the real Munich tourist experience, courtesy of Misha and her friend, and got the inside scoop on how to do Oktoberfest right. Being with them also means that we actually had a table reserved in a tent Sunday afternoon, which is apparently a difficult feat. Anyways, we spent Saturday going around Munich itself – churches, fountains, German food and red wine for lunch, and Italian food and white wine for dinner.
The reality is that Oktoberfest was totally worth it. (Expensive, but totally worth it.) I fulfilled my new-country-of-the-month quota (because apparently the Czech Republic doesn’t count and we’re saying Denmark was in August) and I had a really great semester. I got over my homesickness, and had a really great experience. I got to see dozens of adorable German children, hundreds of German women in traditional dirndls, and one dog dressed like this: