So a few months ago we revealed our Scratch List: the things we have always wanted to do or see. Well, we crossed one off the list a couple of weeks ago. We hit Oktoberfest!!!!!!!
This was always on our list, even before we set off.
Thanks to our friend Jenny, a local Münchner (check out her book on Oktoberfest, you won’t regret it), we had everything teed up beforehand, including a couch to sleep on (thank you for having us, Stefan!).
Here are the 5 things we loved about Oktoberfest:
1. The beer
It’s big. It’s cold. It’s flowing.
There is no lining up at bars – they’re brought to you 10 at a time, so you’re not waiting around for your mates to get their beers before you get back to your position.
The Maß (aka that’s the 1L glass the beer comes in. It’s not actually called a Stein at all) is quite hefty and can withstand many an enthusiastic “Prost!”.
Don’t ask us to report on how many we each got through. We don’t want to think about that.
2. It’s a massive fairground
The grounds of Oktoberfest feature carnival-style rides, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and your classic sideshow alley games of skill.
It’s like going to your favourite fair or exhibition, but instead of cows or giant pumpkins, beer is on show.
We wouldn’t recommend going on rides after several Maß.
3. The music
While of course you’ll become an expert at singing the Oktoberfest anthem “Ein Prosit” (how could you not? It’s played every 15 minutes), you may also be surprised to hear a set of contemporary classics.
Several times over the days we were there, we would belt out one-hit wonder Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag”, mix it up with a classic like Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, then top it off with Queen’s “We Are The Champions”.
And boy did we feel like champions after the first Maß.
Possibly the most comfortable leather pants in existence (cannot actually vouch for this, being the only leather pants Adam has worn).
While being tentative about wearing the outfit at first, as soon as you see 10,000 other people in the same gear, you can’t help but feel confident and like you belong in Bavaria.
The Dirndl, however, while looking great, is not quite as comfortable. There’s of course an interesting spectrum of Dirndl getting around, ranging from super traditional, made from some of the finest materials, to the comically short-skirted, busty versions made from the most synthetic of materials, which pose fire hazards.
Opting for somewhere in the middle is recommended, as standing up and dancing / singing on seats requires some extra material for modesty.
5. The people
We have to say, in an event where people drink beer by the litre, everyone is there to have a good time, and at no point did we see any alcohol-fuelled violence. We’ve heard this kind of stuff can happen in certain tents, but we didn’t see it in any that we visited.
We sang and danced on seats with complete strangers from all over the world. We made some great friends and had an excellent time.
They stop serving beers at 10:30pm. This sounds like it would be a bit of a drag, but actually, after you’ve been drinking for 12 hours by that point, it’s the perfect time to wrap up and head home. We bounced right back and did it all again for a second day.
Locals make the most of it, fitting in a few Maß after work for a decent night out, still right to get to work on time the next morning. Kudos.
There’s nothing quite like a large hunk of salty pretzel to keep you sustained between beers. They’re offered to you where you sit/dance every 10 minutes or so, so you’ll never be wanting for a snack.
Oktoberfest may be an itch that can’t be scratched. After going once, we definitely want to go back, and certainly to all of the other beer festivals that Munich hosts throughout the year.
Have you been to Oktoberfest in Munich? Maybe you’ve been along to Oktoberfest in another city? What’s your favourite Oktoberfest moment?