25.09.2014 - 28.09.2014
Munich is a seemingly much larger city then the previous I have been to. It may just have been the ability to move around so easily but there was a lot to explore. I spent my first day there trying to stay clear of Octoberfest and going to explore the city. I jumped on the U-Bahn and headed for the city center and spent the day just walking around and taking in the sights. The areas of the city I went to seemed to mix a bit of history in with a lot of modernness. Although the buildings were old and had character, it seemed to be a city that was in constant transition. As in my usual tradition, I found a great Irish pub and had a great meal and some drinks.
The next two days were spent at Octoberfest. Day one I spent a great deal of time walking around the grounds and taking in the sights. There is so much going on at Octoberfest, it is difficult to see it all. Outside of the tents, there are great beer gardens, rides, and street side attractions. I particularly enjoyed the horses that were dressed in traditional bavarian garb and had the job off pulling around kegs of beer and delivering them to all of the tents. I was told that there are over 6.4 million liters of beer consumed at Octoberfest, so one can only assume the horses stayed pretty busy. I never made it into the tents the first day as by the time they arrived they were totally closed. I learned that if you did not have reservations than the only way into the tents was to arrive by 10am and fight for a spot. I made it back to the hotel alive after a full day at the festival and was fortunate enough to meet some great people at the hotel. My new friends from America and Amsterdam also happened to have tent reservations for the following day and invited me along.
My final full day in Munich was devoted to Octoberfest. I left early with my new drinking buddies and headed to the festival grounds. It was still very cool to walk on to the train and see everyone in their traditional Bavarian outfits. The tent is well lets say an experience to be had. Thousands of people crammed into a tent at picnic style tables, ten people per. There is about five inches between you and the tables around you. Getting up and making it to the bathroom takes a mixture of serious skill and luck. There are rules one must follow at a table in the tent but you catch on pretty quickly. All rules are intended to make sure that you drink as much as as often as possible. I quickly learned that you should never take a sip of beer until one of the many times you must as not to drink to much to quick. The times one must drink essentially are 1. Anytime you get a new beer for yourself, 2. Anytime anyone at your table gets a new beer, 3. Anytime the drinking song is played by the band (roughly every 15 minutes) everyone says Prost! and takes a swig. Needless to say, the “opportunity” to drink comes along quite often.
After about 6 hours in the tent we emerged intact and headed for a walk around the grounds to get some food, which was amazing. All of the traditional Bavarian fare goes amazingly well with beer. By this time, the beer had started to sink in a bit too much for many people but fortunately, Octoberfest is located alongside a large grassy hill where people can go to take a nap and sleep of a bit of the beer. It is amazing how efficient the workers are of picking up a grown passed out man loading them onto a horse drawn cart, quickly checking they are alive, and dropping the person off on the hill for a bit of rest and relaxation.
Unfortunately, I do not have many pictures from Octoberfest, since neither my camera nor my phone fit very well into my pockets on my Lederhosen. But if you are overly interested go ahead and google Octoberfest, all the pictures you see are pretty accurate.
I managed to stay coherent enough to meet up with my friend Darrell’s sister, Jessica, who is currently living in Munich later that night. She was a gracious host and we had a great night out a local cafe where I learned a lot about the city. My time in Munich was short, mostly due to the crazy expensive hotel rooms during Octoberfest, but I hope to make it back for a night or two more before heading home. I kinda feel if I missed a lot of other things Munich has to offer.