Monday, October 8, 2012

OKTOBERFEST!!! (days 2 & 3)

We have heard that Saturday is by far the busiest day of the week for Oktoberfest, so Eric and I made sure to get up super early, rising at 6am. It was still dark when we got up, and the sun was just rising as we were on the train over there.

Early morning rise
We got to the tents are approximately 7:30am, intending to meet up with our friends at the Haufbrauhaus. When we arrived, it looked like it was going to be closed, and we wanted to get into a tent that would be a sure thing, so we went to another one where a lot of people were beginning to gather. This tent was called Hacker-Pschorr, and it was supposedly the most popular German tent, meaning that we waited in this massive crowd, without being able to speak to anyone or understand what they said because they were speaking German.

Line to get into the tent
This picture doesn't even begin to show the insanity of trying to get inside and get a table for the tents, but somehow Eric and I managed to find one in the corner, in a section that had a sign with some words and 12.30 at the entrance.

We weren't quite sure what that meant, but we didn't care because we were happy to have found a seat. We hung out for a bit, drank some of the best beer in the world, and enjoyed ourselves despite being surrounded by thousands of people from whom we were separated by a language barrier. Here's a peak inside the insanity that was the beer tent at only 11am! In the middle you can see a band playing too!

Packed German Beer tent: Hacker-Pschorr
After a short time, a couple of Germans asked to sit at our table, and so we made a couple of new friends. There were a few guys and a girl and they all spoke varying levels of English, but one guy and the girl in particular spoke very fluently. It turns out that the guy, Gregor, did a one year transfer program to Hattiesburg, Mississippi and thereby was forced to improve his English. Jacqueline, the girl, studied at an international school.

And so there we were, a couple of Americans at Oktoberfest, exchanging cultures with the local German over steins of strong ale -- what an awesome experience. 

Gregor (left) and his brother (right)
After a good while, Eric got a call from our friends who were at Haufbrauhaus (it turns out it did in fact open) and they wanted us to go meet up with them. Eric told me he was gonna go with them, and I tried to warn him not to go because all the tents are too full to let anyone in at this point and leaving would be like suicide. Despite my gravest warnings, Eric left and I didn't see him again until when I went to bed that night.. I found out later that he wasn't even able to get into Haufbrauhaus, as I predicted.

I, instead stayed with my new German friends, hanging out and continuing to drink and share stories, experiences, and perceptions of our own and each other's cultures. In the words of Gregor, "yes we have the Oktoberfest, leather pants, beer, and the autobahn in Germany. But that's not all our country is about." It was such a refreshing change from always being surrounded by Americans to be all alone with only these really awesome German friends of mine for a few hours, thrust into a different culture and loving every minute of it.

Random fact: It turns out that Germans only sing the third stanza of their national anthem because the first stanza roughly translates to "Germany over everything," which reminds people of the time during the Third Reich a lot, so they don't ever sing it anymore. He doesn't know why they don't sing the second one, but I'm assuming for a similar reason. Here is a link with more information about it:

After learning about the German National Anthem, Gregor and I stood up and sang the American national anthem surrounded by a crowd of Germans, it was hilarious! As Gregor so kindly reminded me via facebook, we also sang God Bless America and pledged allegiance, performing "the full American patriotic program"

Gregor and I
It turns out that the 12.30 sign meant that the table was reserved at 12:30pm and so we had to go outside and hang out in the beer garden instead. I had already drunk two steins at this point and was ready to get my next one since once I left a beer-drinking area I would not be able to get anymore beer at Oktoberfest because all the tents were too packed to get back into. I managed to get a beer, but within 5-10 minutes Gregor informed me that we were about to go on some rides and that I needed to finish my beer, so I chugged it. This was a mistake, but not for the reason that you are probably thinking... I'll get to that later

So I went on around Oktoberfest with my German friends, they ordered me some delicious food at the street vendors, and took me to a couple really fun rides!

We rode the "Power Tower"! I was informed that I simply had to sit on a certain side of the ride so that I would get a view of all of Munich. I was not let down! Unfortunately I couldn't get a photo because I didn't want to drop my camera when the free-fall started.

Power Tower
After the Power Tower, the Germans took me to this very strange tent that I will never forget. You pay 4 Euro to get in, and there is no beer, but instead there was probably a thousand people singing and cheering all focused on a spinning wheel in the center. They call out a gender and an age group and every fitting that category hops on and tries to stay on for as long as possible. However, they make this no easy feat: check it out on video!!!! Watch the whole thing, it's worth it.

Unfortunately, I had to pee SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BAD from that third stein (the reason why it was a mistake) and therefore was forced to leave the most awesome tent in all of Oktoberfest as well as my German friends in order to find a bathroom. After all that, nothing seemed quite as cool. It was truly spectacular to have Germans take me around the festival and give me the insider scoop on everything going on. I loved it!

I ended up going over to our friend's hostel, even though they weren't there, and passing out in the lobby, even having a random person wake me up and ask me if I was okay. After awhile I woke up with an extremely strong urge to go back to the campsite. Little did I know how misleading that urge was as just as I left the warm, cozy hostel, it began to pour while I walked through downtown Munich. During the entire way back and for the rest of the night it rained. I was rather grumpy at this point because of being wet and tired, but I got some free dinner at the campsite and saw a couple of people that I sort of knew.

So, instead of giving in to being all angry, I decided to grab my beer cup, put on my drinking hat, change into a dry shirt, and drink and hang out. I spent the night talking with some friends and drinking a bunch of free beer. It really brought me back to life and caused me to enjoy the rest of my night.

Sunday morning my main goal was to get a nice hot, traditional Bavarian breakfast, to help me with my hangover from the previous night, and so Eric and I returned to the main square of Marienplatz to find somewhere good to eat. We ended up at this outdoor caffe that provided blankets to help fight off the cold.

Warmth and happiness :)
I asked the waitress what she suggested for a hot meal and she pointed at the American platter. Disappointed, I asked for something more Bavarian, so she directed me to an item on that menu of which I understood 0 words and cost 10 euro. Pleased, I ordered that one!

After a short time, she came back with this:

My traditional Bavarian breakfast?
Yes, that is a half liter of beer, a small pretzel, and some mustard dipping sauce. Feeling thoroughly let down and ripped off for 10 euro, I decided that I would do my best to enjoy this food, and so I ate it very slowly.

After about 20 minutes, I had nearly finished my pretzel and most of my beer when our waitress returns with this:

Now that's what I'm talking about!
This is a couple of sausages in the water that they were boiled in. SOOOOOOO JUICY AND DELICIOUS! It was great, really rounding out my breakfast and thoroughly pleasing me. A beer and a pretzel for breakfast is terrible, but a beer, a pretzel, and a couple of traditional sausages is perfect!

Extremely happy after breakfast, Eric and I noticed this chair in the middle of Marienplatz square and simply couldn't pass up the chance for a photo-op.

The Thinker
After this, we returned to Oktoberfest for a couple of steins each to help us enjoy our bus ride back. It certainly made it better, but so too did getting a more spacious seat closer to the front of the bus, with front row seats to the now-fixed TV. They showed us 5 great movies: Crazy Stupid Love, The Blindside, Bridesmaids, The Dark Knight, and to top it all off, Shawshank Redemption. This bus ride was so much better. We arrived home at Rome at around 1 or 2am and I was dead!

Great times at Oktoberfest, thanks for reading all about it!


  1. I loved the video of the German Spinning Wheel game. I was applauding at the end of it and laughing out loud. What a great experience. So glad you found Gregor!

  2. So glad you met Gregor! and I loved the video of the spinning wheel game. at the end I was applauding and laughing out loud! to experience it with Germans was great! maybe you need to buy a gingham shirt!

  3. Hahahhahaa! I'm glad you loved it as much as me! I would've but they were very expensive for the whole outfit! Like 130euro