After a 15-hour flight from Bangkok, I arrived in Germany, ready to celebrate the ultimate beer festival- Oktoberfest in Munich! 😀Fun fact: Oktoberfest began in Bavaria in the early 19th century with horse racing, as a way to boost Bavarian agriculture. The event continued for subsequent years, with measly beer stands evolving into mega beer tents, making Oktoberfest what it is today- the largest beer festival in the world!
Another fun fact, this 16-day event attracts over 6 million visitors, a lot of which, in more recent years, are coming from Australia. So much so, that they set up a temporary consular office for all those Aussies that may drunkenly lose their passport. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi! 😛
For the event, as a Bavarian tradition, most women will wear a dirndl dress, and men will wear lederhosen, the combination of which is called tracht, meaning, “that which one wears.” 🙂
Lucky for me, I had a friend from Munich to stay with, who put me up in her lovely apartment and dressed me the part as a traditional German beer girl. 🙂We walked over to Oktoberfest around noon time and began what she called, “the game of Oktoberfest.”
Oktoberfest is free to enter, and initially it reminded me of a state fair from back home, with lots of carnival rides and the smell of candied nuts permeating the air.Typical German souvenirs include feathered Alpine hats with pins, and these gingerbread cookies decorated with cute sayings, like Ich liebe dich, meaning “I love you.” ❤After a quick stroll around, it started to rain, so we made our way to 1 of 14 beer tents, and began the game of getting a seat inside.
Although Oktoberfest is free, and there’s no charge to enter the tents, you won’t be served beer unless you can find yourself a place to sit, and many of the popular tents reach capacity by mid-day and shut their doors for the rest of the evening.
Our first attempt was made at Schuetzen-Festzelt, one of the more popular beer tents that year. The doors to get inside were already closed, but we were able to grab our first beer at one of the outdoor tables. Just enough to quench our thirst and motivate us to try getting into another tent. 😉
When drinking at Oktoberfest, your options are plain and simple- either a liter stein of the house beer or a Radler (half beer-half lemonade.)
In this case, I had a Löwenbräu, which was icy cold and not too potent, at around 5% alcohol content. Prost! 😀Our second stop was to Hacker-Festhalle, with a wall mural of pillowy white clouds floating in a powder blue sky, I felt as if I had walked into a true Bavarian heaven. ❤Feeling confident with our “beer coats” we attempted to secure a table for the five of us. We gave a valiant effort, but alas, many of the tables had reservations, so we decided to move on.
Side note: it is possible to reserve a table, but most reservations are made one year in advance, and as such, you are required to consume a certain quantity of beer and food during your stay.
Our third and final attempt was made at Hofbräu Festhalle, and sure enough, our persistence paid off!
We scored a table for the five of us, and quickly ordered a round of steins and some traditional Bavarian grub.I sampled about half of a succulent roast chicken, coated in salty crispy skin, and nibbled on an over-sized pretzel- a Bavarian classic with a dark crunchy exterior and a soft chewy center. ❤
At two beers in, everyone kept commenting at how well I was doing. My remark was merely, “Just wait until I stand up.” Hah! 😛Yes, I may have gotten a little tipsy and danced with random strangers, but it was all in good fun, and at the end of the day, I felt like we played the game well. 😉Cost: 12 Euro per beer. 12 Euro per chicken. Clinking steins, singing Ein Prosit, and dancing polka on a table during Oktoberfest…priceless. 😉