First off… So royals are world series?! WHAT?! That’s so exciting! But back to our catchup! So Summer 2013 was seriously nice. It was one of the best Summers (weather wise) in Ireland in something like 25 years. People over a year later are STILL talking about last summer. Although this summer has been so nice as well. We also bought a car!!! Here’s just a few photos from our awesome summer…
But, then we decided… you know what? Let’s go to Oktoberfest in Munich!! At first I had to be talked into it, I thought it would be a big ol’ drinking frat party. But my oh my was I wrong! We cashed in our points to stay at the Westpark Sheraton because it was walking distance to the tents. The other nice thing was, because of our Starwoods point status, we had access to the club room, which meant free breakfast everyday, and free appetizers all day long. A few of our friends also flew over from Kansas City to meet up with us, and they all had Starwoods status as well, which made the hotel really convenient.
One thing I noticed the first day when we arrived, was that EVERYONE was wearing the traditional dirndl and laderhosen outfits. Also… Oktoberfest is like a giant state fair! There were cute little kids dressed up, and live music, and rides, and food, and as you assumed… beer. We also went to Oktoberfest this past summer as well, so I’ve included photos from both trips.
Some fun facts about Oktoberfest…
Oktoberfest originally started as a week long celebration after a royal wedding in 1810. The entire city of Munich was invited to celebration, which was held in the big park area now named after the bride, Meadow of Therese. Everyone had so much fun, that they celebration has continued every year since. Eventually, the festivities were moved up to September, because the weather was so much nicer. So even though it takes place towards the end of September, it’s still called Oktoberfest.
Less frat party, more state fair
Like I said before, Oktoberfest is more of like a state fair. Each village in Germany holds their own version. And in fact, many villages in German-Speaking Switzerland and Vienna each hold their own as well. There are carnival rides, games, and loads of food vendors selling not so healthy food. But YUMMY food! Not only were kiddos doing fieldtrips of the fair, there were nursing homes doing it too. A man, who I SWEAR had to be 75, was pushed up to one of the tables in the tent, and given his own litre of beer.
The food is also super yummy, but be prepared to live on a diet of carbs, sausage, roast chicken, and sauerkraut. If you want veggies, go to a sit down restaurant somewhere. Maybe they’re somewhere in german on those menus, but I don’t speak german, and even after asking, couldn’t even get a side salad there.
So, there are 14 tents total. Each tent is MASSIVE… as in… each one holds between 6,500-10,000 people on the inside, plus outdoor beer gardens. So, they’re more just giant buildings than they are actual tents. Also, thanks to German efficiency, the bathrooms are SOOO clean, you rarely wait long in line, and when you order food or drinks they come out pretty quickly. Now, although they are big, getting reservations are pretty much impossible unless you know someone. But one thing we figured out is that they have day and night sessions. Day sessions start at 11:00 am, and they kick everyone out at 4:30. Then the night sessions begin at about 5/6pm. Usually, most of the tables (except for VIP areas), are not reserved except during the evening. So, if you go to tent, check the time of the reservation which will be taped to the table.
Should you dress up?
YES! Everyone is wearing the lederhosen and dirndls, including the locals. Plus, they’re SUPER comfortable, and they’re available for sale on almost every corner. I bought mine our first year there, and it’s doubled as my halloween costume every year since.
The important part, the BEER!
So of course, one of the main parts of Oktoberfest is the beer. Each tent brews their own beer for Oktoberfest, and it’s brewed ONLY for oktoberfest. So, you can only drink this beer during the festival. Some of the recipes for the beer dates back to the 1500’s. During the festival, beer is served in litres or “Mas” (maß) as it’s called there. As I’m sure you could see in some of our photos above, they’re huge! Now yes, it’s a lot of beer, but they’re also stronger than normal beer. Depending on which tent you’re in, the beer ranges from about 6.5-8% alcohol. Also – those maß are heavy! It’s like a workout holding those things up. I actually bruised my hand after 2 days from lifting just the glass up.
Now, I’m a very little person. I’m only 5’2″. So, I didn’t order regular beers, I ordered what they call a raddler, which is half beer, half “lemonade” (or basically sprite). So it’s like a shandy, and was REALLY tasty, but can get sweet after awhile. It’s cheaper to order the whole beer and the lemonade separately and add it as you go.
Munich as a whole
We didn’t get a whole lot time to really explore Munich outside of the festival. We did take a day to go neuschwanstein castle, which highly recommend people going to see!