Last year I experienced my first ever Oktoberfest in Munich, and I loved it so much that this year I went back for round 2.
I just couldn’t resist going back. When I went to Oktoberfest for the first time, I vaguely remember standing on a table in the Hacker Festzelt tent on the last day, stein in hand, singing along to Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the World’ and thinking “this is the most fun I have ever had!”. I was a little nervous about returning since I didn’t want to spoil such great memories, but the Oktoberfest didn’t disappoint. This year I was there for just one day, and it was just as good as ever.
Unfortunately since it was a last minute decision to go to Munich, I didn’t have my Oktoberfest costume with me. I was only there for one day so it didn’t make sense to buy a dirndl, but I still had lots of fun anyway. On the night train from Rome to Munich I also managed to book a 4 star hotel on my phone for £58 on Lastminute.com…steal! It was one of those Top Secret hotel deals where you don’t know which hotel you’re going to be in, but it said it was just 1.8km from the centre and right close to the Hauptbahnhof and the Theresienwiese, so I knew it was a good deal. As it turns out it was the TRYP Munchen City Center, which was literally right next to the Oktoberfest and a stone’s throw from the train station. It beat paying £50 for a hostel bed and it was certainly better than my first alternative…sleeping in the airport.
Anyways, this is why I LOVE Oktoberfest, and why I’ll keep going back:
1. The atmosphere at Oktoberfest
Inside the tents are thousands of people sitting at tables drinking beer. A few steins later the crowd gets a bit rowdier, and the chatter gets louder. Occasionally people start pounding their hands against the tables as a brave festival-goer decides to stand up and chug a stein of beer all in one go. If they finish the whole thing they get a cheer; if they don’t, they have to endure the sound of booing from the crowd. As the day goes on this becomes such a frequent occurrence that people stop looking! By the afternoon the band starts up and this is when things start getting interesting and memories become rather fuzzy. I love the oktoberfest songs that get stuck in your head.
Outside the tents, the Theresienwiese is packed with people- it’s one big fairground full of rides and food stalls. This is where you’ll see entire families with all generations wearing Lederhosen and Dirndls. In fact the Oktoberfest atmosphere isn’t just confined to the festival ground- everywhere across the city the atmosphere is absolutely electric.
2. The Food at Oktoberfest
Aside from the beer, I love the food at Oktoberfest. It’s not just about Bratwurst and Schnitzels. If you have a sweet tooth there’s the stall with all sorts of chocolate covered fruit- apples, bananas, strawberries, pineapple…
Then there’s the chicken…oh the chicken. The second best thing at Oktoberfest after beer for sure. The 1/2 chicken is simply the best chicken I have ever tasted in my life. It’s so succulent, so juicy, so tender and I love the salty skin with that yummy marinade. Get a few steins in you and you’ll soon be ordering the chicken to your table.
The Fischer Vroni tent has smoked mackerel “Steckerlfisch”, and there are several stalls around the Oktoberfest selling battered fish, chips, calamari, deep fried scampi and seafood sandwiches.
3. The Beer
Of course the central focus of the Oktoberfest is the beer. I love beer!! And if you don’t love beer, what are you doing at Oktoberfest?!
4. The Lederhosen and Dirndls
Dressing up at Oktoberfest is half the fun. Men wear Lederhosen, while women wear Dirndls. It’s like being at one giant costume party, with outfits ranging from basic to very very fancy. I love watching entire families walking past wearing Oktoberfest costumes- even the little children and babies. When you put your Oktoberfest costume on it’s like getting into character, ready for a day of heavy beer drinking. The first time I went to Oktoberfest I dressed up, but the second time round I didn’t, and I have to say I felt a bit out of place without a costume on. Get into the spirit of things and buy yourself a dirndl or a pair of Lederhosen! You can even buy your costume at the train station or ‘Hauptbahnhof’ as soon as you get off the train! If you don’t want to pay too much, try a second hand store such as Wiesn Tracht und Mehr or Kleidermarkt.
5. Meeting New People
At Oktoberfest you’ll find people of all nationalities and all ages. People come from all over the world for this event! You usually get chatting to the people on your table, and before you know it, you’ve made some new best friends!
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