The start of the day the table had four German guys, then these lovely Austrians turned up to save the day.

Where do I start with Oktoberfest…

Hopped on the train at Rome Terminal station at 7pm, and was due to arrive at 6:30am the next morning at Munich HBF. I used the last slot of my Eurail pass for this train, and three months ago when the tickets for the train were first released I bought a reservation for the best sleeper cabin. This ticket usually costs around the 180euro mark, but having to just pay the reservation fee it was 60euro. Very well worth it, because I had a really nice two person cabin with its own toilet and shower etc. The other guy didn’t get on until later in the trip so I had the place to myself for a while. The train ended up getting in late by about an hour I think, but its 7am and nothing is open anyway so I was actually glad. Funny though because the train was only behind schedule on the Italian part of the trip, but once we hit Austria and Germany they were on time (but still late…if you get it).

Having been to Munich now four times I know the place pretty well and just walked straight to the hotel. Being so early I obviously couldn’t check in so I just chilled and checked emails. Few hours passed by and my sister finally rocked up. Decided to do the free walking tour of the city. That didn’t last long because it was quite boring (after all I did only just do it two weeks earlier) so we left that and just wondered off on our own instead. After going around and being quite possibly the greatest tour guide that has ever existed, it was time for some shopping. Sister for a dirndl and myself to finally buy a waterproof jacket. At this time of year there is obviously thooouuusands of dirndls to pick from, but they are all quite expensive. Cheapest was 90 euros so that was purchased. Now time for my jacket. I tracked down the exact jacket i wanted two weeks ago (Jack Wolfskin Spectrum) so I went back to that shop and noooooo they had sold out of my size. Walked around to about three other stores and none of them either had the one I wanted or the right size. Finally in the last store that I tried they had the right size. Wooo. For dinner we headed to the Hofbrauhaus, sat at a table of the most traditional looking Bavarians I have ever seen in my life. All three guys in full lederhosen, including the hats with gigantic feathers, and the woman in a very traditional old school dirndl. They even offered some of the food they had brought, some salami type sausage and this kind of hot paprika flavoured cheese spread which tasted really good.

Next morning (Saturday) we awoke to pouring rain. This is not a good thing, not just because rain sucks, but because everyone at Oktoberfest would of course all just be trying to be inside the beer tents instead. Saturday is traditionally the busiest day, so throw rain in to the mix and its even worse. We got there at 10am and this was no where near early enough (which I knew). All of the tents were already full and closed, and probably would have been since they opened earlier in the morning. We waited in line outside the Lowenbrau tent for a while, but to no avail, no one was getting in and it was just wasting time. The rain had finally stopped though, so all the beer gardens that are outside the tents were slowly being wiped down and opening. Headed to a small one outside one of the tents which I don’t remember the name of, it was ok, just thankful to finally have a beer. It was full of stupid drunken Italians being idiots though (this weekend is known as the ‘Italian weekend’), so we left shortly after. Next stop was a tent just down a bit, it looked like they may have been letting people in so we decided to wait in line. Waited and waited, then after a while a waiter came out and basically said if you buy these two beers you can come in…to the beer garden. Ok ok its a start we though. I then went to a pretzel stand and after buying it the lady said something in German and I said ‘sorry do you speak english’ (in German), she found a translator, and she had told me that I have nice eyes. I then winked at her and walked away. Good ol’ Bavarians, so lovely.

We decided to leave the beer garden and wait outside the tent door just hoping for sheer luck of being let in. Whilst there we met quite possibly the drunkest person ive ever met who was still standing. He was an Aussie from ‘all over’, but currently Newcastle, and told us that his nickname was ‘para’. He was with the Fanatics group, so was wearing their yellow tshirt and crappy lederhosen shorts. We secretly filmed him while I asked him various questions and to say its hilarious is an understatement of epic proportions. We gave up waiting at the door, it wasn’t happening. Went to the toilet instead and saw probably the most disgusting thing I saw of the whole weekend. For once there was actually a line to get in to the mens toilets, and outside on the ground against the wall was a lot of steins. Wow I thought, all these people not drinking their beer. It wasn’t beer. It was piss. There were guys in the line who just decided to flop it out right there and piss in to the steins on the ground. I just felt sorry for whoever has to pick it up and empty it. I decided to leave the line, hold it and piss somewhere else outside. We walked around outside for a bit, checking everything out, the food stalls, the gingerbread stalls, the sideshow games etc. Then called it a night. If you aren’t in a beer tent, don’t want to go on rides, then night time at Oktoberfest isn’t the best.

Sunday, our last day, we weren’t taking any chances. Arrived at the grounds at 8:30am and walked around for some food, but nothing was open yet because it was too early. So we went off to check out how the tents were filling up, stuck our head in to the Hacker one (which I wanted to go in) and yea it was filling FAST. We couldn’t afford to take a chance by leaving and coming back after food, so we stayed. Walked around and asked all the tables with people on them if we could sit there, and we were met with a lot of ‘nein’. We thought maybe these are the reserved tables, so asked a waited and he said there are no reservations in here on the weekend. So people were just being dickheads basically. Eventually found a table that had four young German lads on it that looked like nice guys, and they said yes please take a seat. Turns out they were hilarious, they had been going for two days so far and hadn’t slept. ‘Vee are germans, vee don’t need sleep!’ one of them said. A waitress shortly after came up to me and said some stuff in German which I had no idea and I just put up two fingers and said ‘zwei’. Now I just assumed that I ordered two beers, as thats how ive always just done it, and so does everyone else. But what I didn’t realise is that there is actually separate waiters for food and drink, and she was the food lady, and I had apparently just ordered two servings of their breakfast white sausages. The sausages came and the German guys at our table had to explain what happened and she was nice about it all and just took them back.

With the sausages also came our two beers from our champion waiter Max. So 9am was the first beer and also breakfast. Time went on for a bit, our table staying at 6 people for a few hours which was good. Then a massive group came, mostly (good looking) girls so of course the German guys said yes to sitting at our table. Instead of 10 people to a table though we probably had 12, was pretty cramped, shoulder to shoulder style. The girls were all from Vienna in Austria and the three next to me were nice and friendly. I found it weird that when I said I was from Australia they were slightly amazed, I was under the impression that everyone knew Oktoberfest was full of us, so it was a good change. In my phone I keep a list of various German phrases that people tell me, but written in retarded kinda phonetic way that i can read but is nowhere even remotely close to how you really spell it, and they all found that rather hilarious. The whole day was kind of just a big blur, and not just because of the beer. Time just went really quickly, and before we knew it was 3pm, and time for lunch. Chicken is probably the most popular dish that is served in every tent at Oktoberfest. Its sold as half a chicken with an optional potato salad on the side. This is not your typical shit carnival style chicken, this is probably the best chicken ive ever had in my entire life. You normally just eat the whole thing with your hands which is even better. I munched mine down, the whole thing to the bones, mum would be so proud (and shocked). As the day went on more beer was consumed and places of seating were changing all the time so you end up talking to heaps of different people.

At 6pm they switched out the traditional brass band playing Bavarian songs to a rock band playing mostly english big hit songs. By this stage almost everyone was standing up the benches and singing along to all the songs. This is what you wait for all day, when people really start to have fun and the Oktoberfest you have been waiting for starts to emerge. Listening to thousands of Germans sing along to ‘Highway to hell’ was awesome, and rather funny. The next three hours of the night were filled with popular English songs such as ‘Doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo’ and German pop songs that had hilarious hand movements to them such as the awesome epic wicked song ‘So ein Schöner Tag (Fliegerlied)’. By about 8pm it was getting pretty nuts. You basically couldn’t move. All of the aisles were packed full of people with waiters pushing to get through with the beers. You will never see so many people singing along to songs and enjoying everyone elses company around them. I staggered out of the tent at about 9pm having had enough, and went on the hunt for some food. Went to a food stand that was selling sausages and i have no idea what i said or even tried to order, but the woman just gave me a roll with two sausages that were about a foot long on a roll with mustard and i gave her some money. It was fantastic.

My opinions on Oktoberfest overall are mixed. The saturday was a bit of a disappointment, purely just because of the weather. If it was sunny outside then the tents wouldn’t have filled up so quickly so we would have gotten in to one. And even if we didn’t it would have been a nice day outside to walk around and even take in a ride or two. The sunday however made up for it ten fold. The cost of things is also a bit of a hit, 10 euro for a beer, 10 euro for a chicken and 5 euro for a pretzel. It all adds up to quite an expensive experience. Its something thats good to do once in your life, but maybe if i do it again ill go from a monday to friday and avoid the weekend hassles altogether.