About this time last year I arrived in Munich, ready to cross the world’s most famous beer festival off my bucket list… Oktoberfest!
It was a spur of the moment trip actually… organised only a month before, after Whatsapping with a friend I’d previously met on a European Contiki tour several years ago (you really do make life-long friends on those things!).
She had mentioned that another friend of ours was heading to Oktoberfest and commented how cool it would be if we went too… so we decided to do it.
(Goodness knows how I managed to get 3 weeks off work, after only having been there for 3 months)
After a 30 hour flight, I arrived in Munich and was greeted by one of the airport staff who’d kindly arranged an airport tour for me. I’ll admit, I wasn’t that excited about this, coming off a plane in day old clothes and sporting a greasy topknot… but thankfully the highlight of Munich Airport is their onsite brewery, and this I could handle.
If you have to have a long stopover, have it here – not just because it’s got it’s own brewery, but it must be just about the cheapest priced beer in Munich.
Anyway within a couple hours of landing in Germany, I’d already had a pint (begin as you mean to go on, am I right?) and then managed to catch a bus from the airport to where we were staying, which even right now I’m feeling pretty chuffed about. (I generally don’t like buses, there’s so much room for error.)
It was great to see the girls again.
We regrettably stayed up late chatting… I say this because, after what seemed like only an hours’ sleep, we were in dirndls’, lined up outside the Hofbrauhaus tent at Oktoberfest before 8am the next day.
Unfortunately I’m not an alcoholic, so I don’t have that desire to start chugging back beer first thing in the morning, it takes a lot more forceful determination for me. But when you’re at Oktoberfest, beer is pretty much the only beverage option available, so a litre of beer it was.
And so the carnage began.
We visited 4 or 5 beer halls at Oktoberfest over a few days and of all them, Hofbrauhaus was BY FAR the loudest, rowdiest, drunkest and well, the most fun.
Yes, it was packed with tourists – but everyone had the same intentions and was up for such a good time. The vibe was mint. (The bathrooms were not.)
As the day progressed, people all over the hall would get up on their table to skull back beer, while people around them either cheered or threw pretzels at them. A few non-finishers got booed off and others fell off tables completely.
We met heaps of people and drank heaps of beer.
We 100% went too hard on the first day.
The next day was not an early start.
While we did return to Oktoberfest, I don’t think any of us picked up a beer until after 7pm… Instead we spent most of the day outside in the grounds of the festival.
While there’s no beer served outside the halls, there are hoards of stalls with food, rides, carnival games and oddly wine bars, as this seems to be something you can only do outside the halls.
There’s also these crazy cookie-hearts everywhere, which people buy and hang around their necks like jewellery. We bought one, although never figured out the significance of these…
Anyway, the next couple of day’s we were back to drinking and throwing pretzels around the beer halls.
Good times were had by all, and I finally crossed Oktoberfest off my big ol’ bucket list!