The train from Berlin to Munich wasn’t too bad, it was about 6 1/2 hours long. Note to self, next time don’t watch tv shows/movies that are guaranteed to make you cry, cause you look like a weirdo on the train wiping your eyes and sniffling.
I got to Munich and my friend Klara met me at the train station, which was awesome cause it was late and dark. We went to her place, which was really nice and spent the rest of the night catching up. She had spent the weekend at Oktoberfest with some friends, and lucky for me she had also taken the Monday off, so we had the whole next day to hang out and party!!!
Monday morning we got up early because Klara wanted to give me a tour of Munich before we headed to Oktoberfest. We stopped first at the cobbler to drop off my boots and her purse. The heel had come off one of my boots, and it needed to get fixed asap, since the only other shoes I had were flip-flops and birkenstock sandals! I spent the morning walking around in flip-flops in the rain and my feet were so cold, definitely not flip-flop weather! Klara took me to see lots of places in Munich: we started with Maximilianslagen (a park) where we saw the Angel of Peace;
We visited the Eisbach, a man-made river surfing spot which was really cool (they must have been FREEZING!)
We visited the University of Munich where Klara studies and where the anti-Nazi group The White Rose was started by a group of students and one of the professors. The group wrote and distributed a lot of pamphlets against the Nazi regime and many of them were executed or imprisoned. There are monuments to them around the University.
We also stopped for ice cream at the coolest place. It’s called Der Verruckte Eismacher (or the wacky/mad-hatter ice cream maker). The guy who owns it actually dresses up like the Mad Hatter, and the store is decorated in an Alice in Wonderland theme.
Since we were the only people in there, the staff let us sample pretty much all the flavours, which was awesome! Some were so freaking delicious, and others I didn’t like at all. The ice creams come in all kinds of weird yet delicious flavours. They had flavours like Pistachio, Pear & Parmesan, Snickers, Salty Peanut, Raspberry Champagne, Cucumber, Walnut, Applesauce Pancakes, Vanilla Bacon, Bavarian Cream with Orange, Strawberry Basil Balsamic, Chocolate Amaretto Sorbet, Paprika & Lime, Mango, Honeymelon and last but not least: Raspberry.
I ended up picking Raspberry Champagne and Snickers, so yummy!!!!
They took pics of us and chatted with us, and then they brought out some special flavours for Oktoberfest that they made us try before we left. Probably the most interesting ones yet: Chicken, Wheat Beer and Obatzda (traditional Bavarian dish made with cheese). The chicken one was actually really good.
Then we had lunch at a traditional bavarian restaurant called Hofbräukeller where I had a portion of Schweinshaxn (crispy leg of pork with dark beer sauce and a potato dumpling) which was really good, but way too much food!!! We stopped at the cobbler’s to see if our stuff was ready, and it WAS!!! Lucky for me, because you don’t really want to go to Oktoberfest in flip-flops! You’ll probably end up with a broken toe (from someone stepping on your feet, or one of the steins falling on your foot) or end up with puke all over your feet. Yuck! Then it was time to head back to Klara’s and get ready for Oktoberfest!!!
We got ourselves all dolled up and then got on the U-Bahn (subway) but 3 stops in the train stopped and we just sat and sat at the station until they finally announced that there had been a medical emergency at the next stop and we would be on our way shortly. Eventually we made it to Theresienwiese which is the main stop for Oktoberfest, but Klara suggested we go one stop further since almost the entire train had gotten off at that stop and we wouldn’t have to wait forever to get through security at the next stop. So instead we got off at Schwanthalerhöhe, walked a few minutes and went through security quickly and easily.
We went straight to the Haufbräu tent and got ourselves a prime seat pretty much as soon as we walked in. It pays to go with a local! Going with Klara (born and raised in Munich) for my first Oktoberfest was the best experience! She knew exactly where to go, what to do and we had an absolute blast! You can’t just drink anywhere in the tents, you either have to be sitting or standing at one of the tables because they won’t serve you in the walkways. When you get there, you find an empty space then check with the people already sitting at the table if the seats are free and if they are, get ready to make some new friends!!! If you’re unsure, just tell one of the waitresses that you want to order something, and they will bring you to one of the standing tables and take your order. We ended up joining a trio of girls from Germany and they were really nice.
I don’t really like beer, but I figured I would suck it up for Oktoberfest and force myself to drink at least one beer before switching to something else. I was so proud of myself because I actually managed to drink the whole thing and the steins are huge! I have no idea how the women servers manage to carry 12 at a time!!! Actually, stein is what English-speaking people call the giant beer mugs, in German they are called Maßkrug or Maß for short.
Unfortunately the area we were sitting in was reserved for later on, so at 5pm we had to move spots. Klara took charge and found us another great spot right away. This time in the middle section sitting with a German girl and her Kiwi friends. We had so much fun! By now I’d switched to Radlers, which are soooo much better (half beer, half lemonade! And for those who don’t want anything beer related, you can also get wine at some of the tents). We spent the rest of the evening drinking radlers, dancing with our new friends on the benches and singing Ein Prosit. If you ever go to Oktoberfest, make sure you learn the words to Ein Prosit, as it will be played a million times and it’s a lot more fun if you can sing along!!!
We didn’t stay super late since Klara had to work in the morning, but as we’d been there since early afternoon we were both pleasantly drunk when we left (and with roses we’d received from admiring boys! Except I lost mine on the ride home. 🙁 Typical. We also got ourselves some gingerbread hearts, which is very traditional.
The next day I slept in, got myself ready and headed back to the tents to repeat the process. Only this time I was meeting up with a friend from home, Avery, and her boyfriend Todd. They were flying to South Africa, but had added in a 10 hour layover in Munich to experience Oktoberfest. We’d agreed to meet up in the Hofbrau tent since that was the only one I knew, between 1 and 2pm. I got there a bit after 2pm (always fashionably late) and started walking around the tent looking for them. It was already really crowded and made it super difficult to find them. I walked around and around, searching for them, but I couldn’t find them, there were just SO many people. The tent doesn’t have wifi and neither of us had data, so there was no way to message each other to find out where the other one was.
I thought maybe they’d decided to check out some of the other tents so I went to visit a few of those, but still couldn’t find them. I went back to the Hofbrau tent and did a few more rounds, but still nothing. Then I thought maybe they’d decided to check out the rest of the grounds, so I went walking around. Still nothing, but no surprise there, the grounds are MASSIVE and there are so many stalls and attractions.
But I DID find a roller coaster designed like the Olympic rings, with 5 loops, and so I decided to ride it, because, obviously.
The roller coaster was pretty awesome! Afterwards I walked around some more looking for them before deciding to head back to the Hofbrau tent for another look, stopping along the way to eat a Leberkäsesemmel (a traditional Barvarian kind of meat sandwich). I did another few rounds of the HB tent without any luck and was debating what to do. I wasn’t sure if they were even still there as it was now like 3:30pm. Should I keep looking, or give up and head back to Klara’s or head to the bathroom to try and make new friends to party with (as all girls know, bathrooms are the best place to make new friends when you’re drunk. Problem was, I wasn’t drunk). I gave up on the bathroom idea pretty quickly and decided to call it quits as I’d been searching for over an hour and it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
I was literally on my way out when
I SAW A PONYTAIL!!!
Haha! You thought I found them, didn’t you??? But guess what? I DID!!! We’d somehow managed to find each other, at the exact moment that we’d each given up. We were so freaking excited!!!
Apparently they’d been sitting at one of the tables that I’d passed by a million times, but I never saw them and they never saw me. They’d also been walking around the tent looking for me, so we must have just kept missing each other. But now we only had an hour left together before they had to head back to the airport to catch their flight to South Africa. To the standing tables we went, and I introduced Aves to the wonderfulness of a radler.
We had the best time, got some sausages; got our pic taken by one of the professional photographers, then took a pic with the pic to be really meta; and made friends with some Americans at our table. Then all too quickly it was time for them to head back to the aiport and catch their flight so Avery could realize her dream of swimming with sharks.
As we were leaving the tent, someone stepped on Avery’s flip flop and it broke! We stopped at one of the stalls for help and they stapled it back together again and off we went!
It lasted about 5 steps.
So she walked the rest of the way with only one shoe, lol. We made it back to the S-Bahn and headed off to the airport. I went with them halway, then got off thinking I’d see if I could pick up the keys from Klara and then head back to her place. But when I couldn’t reach her, I figured I’d head back to Oktoberfest and party the evening away with the Americans I’d met. I got back into the tent and they were so pumped that I’d come back!
By this point there were some new faces at the table and we had the best time drinking the evening away. So glad I went back!
Eventually I headed back to Klara’s, where we stayed up late talking before finally heading for bed, since I had to be up at 3:30am to catch my flight to my next destination: Solihull, England.
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