We’ve had a hectic few months so it has taken me a while to find time to finish a blog on my trip to Octoberfest but better late than never right?!
Dayna still hasn’t developed much of a love for beer so she decided to opt out of the trip given Octoberfest has just a slight focus on drinking beer all day.
Instead I was happy to play third wheel and join our friends Jono & Cath. I made a bit of a mistake in not locking in accommodation early enough so my small & simple single bed apartment room turned out to be one of the most expensive rooms I’ve stayed in. That’s what you pay for a 5 minute walk from the Octoberfest Festival though I guess!
The other thing I left until nearly too late was getting hold of some traditional Lederhosen to wear. It wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t going to dress up so I was lucky to get a pair of Lederhosen that fit arrive just in time for the trip (the first pair I got was way too tight unfortunately).
Octoberfest is just one of those things that require a decent amount of planning in advance. Next time I’ll do that anyway!
We flew in late on a Friday night right before the first weekend of October (which is actually the closing weekend of the festival rather than the start). We got to see quite a few merry travellers who had obviously been enjoying the festival but we just settled for dinner out at the famous Hofbräuhaus.
Hofbräuhaus is a beer hall and Munich institution from back in the 16th century although WWII levelled it to the ground floor only and it had to be mostly rebuilt. It is a pretty impressive place though with the amount of people in the all singing loudly making quite an atmosphere. It took us quite a while to find a seat and then another while to be served but we eventually got to enjoy our first stein of beer and some classic Munich food: Pork Knuckles and Wiener Schnitzel.
The next morning was a bit of a shock to the system as we had to be up at the crack of dawn to join the line to get in to our chosen beer hall (Lowenbrau) for the day.
We had done a bunch of Googling to try to figure out the details and ended up cobbling together a plan on getting in to Lowenbrau and getting a good table.
Because we didn’t have a table reserved we were aiming for the bottom main floor. You had to be quick to get a seat at one of the tables though as everyone else was sprinting in at the same time.
We got to the doors just before 7am (after I struggled to meet up with Jono and Cath for a while) and the lines got big quickly after that.
The doors didn’t actually open until 9am so we were left huddling in the freezing cold in our Lederhosen and Dirndls for a while. Germany in October is cold!
We were quite close to the front of the line but there was a group of fellow kiwis including Cath and Jono’s old flatmates that weren’t too far back. We had a rough plan that we would race in and grab some tables and they would follow us in and fill the tables up.
We raced in and got a table sorted quickly and started looking out for the others while defending our table (one local complained loudly to me when I said we have friends coming in a sec so all the seats are taken “but dat iz not how it vorks!”).
All the defending of seats turned out to be for nothing as we had lucked out already unbeknownst to us with the kiwi group we were trying to meet up with having been let in early and given some prime seats. We had over 40 of us in a big section right by the band so it worked out pretty well. Turned out the waitress didn’t want to serve Italians (?) so had let the kiwi group in first so she knew who she was serving. Hopefully she didn’t regret that too much.
I had figured we’d have a nice coffee and some breakfast before getting in to the beer but in no time at all we were drinking our first of many steins instead.
We did get a nice breakfast sandwich of Chicken schnitzel shortly after. The food was actually amazing the whole time in Munich including in the beer hall. Plates of meat and potatoes and fried things and gravy with hardly a vegetable in sight. Every kids dream.
The day was a bit of a blur of songs (ein Prosit, ein Prosit far too many times plus that old classic “Heyyyyyy, Hey Baby, Whoo HAA, I wanna know oooh oooh oh if you’ll be my girl”) and beer and Prosts (cheers). Some were a bit too…energetic.
Sitting at a table drinking beer for 12 hours sounds like it would be a bit boring and repetitive (to some people at least!) but the live music, the singing, the food, the beer (!), the chatting with locals and other travellers (I spent quite a bit of time sitting with the group of Italians next to us learning Italian songs and chatting about Berlusconi) and the atmosphere make it a pretty memorable experience. I definitely hope I get to go back again one day.
The next morning was not the most fun I have had. Apparently drinking beer from shortly after 9am until 6pm does not agree with my body. We opted out of another day of the same and thought we’d see a bit more of the actual festival outside the beer halls, the food and the rides and have a look around Munich.
The Festival reminded me of the Christmas markets so since we weren’t going to any others in 2014 I made the most of it and pigged out on all the yummy German food.
The hungover touring of Munich didn’t come out with too many photos but I managed a few at least. Hopefully I’ll make it back one day for more than one day of hungover sightseeing!