It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Germany: beer festivals and pumpkin soup take over ice cream and lake trips as the leaves turn to fall colors and the days grow shorter. Ok, I’m lying a bit because it’s already too cold for my liking, but Oktoberfest certainly makes it easier to say goodbye to summer. With my trip home this year falling directly during the festivities, I was nervous about missing my third year at the Wiesn, but a last minute phone call to Simon and €11 bus tickets later, we were on our way to Oktoberfest 2013 just 23 hours after I arrived back in Germany.
Munich is my favorite city on earth and Oktoberfest is my favorite time to be there. München makes sure to clean up real nice for the festival, in which it’s population is doubled, depending on the day. It’s not just the tourists that come out to play though, Müncheners fill the fest with their table reservations for company parties and client outings. This fact alone makes it difficult sometimes for tourists to experience the fest in full, although I’ve gotten Oktoberfest lucky with a seat 5/5 times now.
This trip, I looked extremely forward to attending on a Monday and avoiding the weekend crowds. There were no locked doors, but I’ve got to say, there was certainly no “tent-hopping” like I envisioned. Once we had our prime seats, we hung onto them and continually hugged our Bavarian friends who so kindly let us join in their fun.
The day began at with our MeinFernbus from Karlsruhe at 10 am. A 30 minute delay and serious traffic later put us in Munich at 330pm, over an hour later than originally scheduled. We hurried to the train station, changed into our dirndls, and locked our bags in the storage lockers (€4/day) before hopping on the U4 to Theresienwiese. My goal this year was to spend the evening in the Hacker-Pschorr Festzelt: Himmel der Bayern. All the tents are a blast, but after hearing rave reviews, I had to give it a try.
We arrived just before 5 pm, which is the big shift from the afternoon crowd to the evening crowd. The waiters and waitresses clear the tables of guests in order to welcome the 5 pm reservations, who show up right on time. We proceeded to look for tables with extra spots from the tables of men (the women return evil looks) and ask politely in English (we found this better than German because it sparked conversation) if we could join. We received a lot of rejection before being waved over by a table from a reserved side booth. We finally go our first beers and were happy Frauen!
Unfortunately, their section was cleared out less than an hour later, so we finished up our beers and decided to try a different tent. Upon exiting, we were immediately faced with the Hofbräufestzelt, and entered. We easily found space in the standing area, but were immediately disappointed in the surrounding crowd of Americans and other English speakers (I’ve gotten a bit snobby in my time here).
Back to the Hacker-Festzelt we went, and boy am I glad we did. We found a fantastic table with fantastic people right in the center near the band. At first, the girls at the table told us their friends were coming, so we politely responded that we would move when they came. Guess what, they never came and we all ended up great friends, dancing and singing the remainder of the evening at the happiest place on earth! One of the guys even worked at Paulaner in Munich and offered us a tour the following day, which my haziness forgot about until it was way too late (like already back in Karlsruhe late, oops).
After Wiesn, we headed to a nearby after party in Bavaria ring before catching the last possible train back to our accommodations in Freising, where we were greeted by friends ready to continue the party. We, however, were not.
We woke up the following
morning afternoon with literal bruises between our thumbs and index fingers from holding our beer Maß. That’s true beer drinking dedication if you ask me.
Oktoberfest, you never disappoint. Until next time…