Last month, I went to Oktoberfest. It's taken me a month to write about because, there's honestly a lot to process about Oktoberfest!
Living in Bavaria, and so near to Munich, taking part in Oktoberfest seemed a no brainer. I tagged along with my friend S (and fellow Vancouverite!) and her boyfriend M one fine Saturday afternoon. M used to work in Munich and part of his job used to be to entertain people during Oktoberfest. He was literally, the walking Wikipedia of Oktoberfest. Suffice to say, that thanks to them, I had the BEST first timer experience you could have.
First stop was at the Sheraton, S & M were staying overnight there. While they were checking in, I met this hottie in the glass case of the lobby. I decided he was coming home with me. I also bought one for S&M. I named them Hans and Franz. The lady behind the front desk did look at me oddly when I requested 2 male ducks (they had females but weren’t nearly as sexy as Hans & Franz) I had to tell her they were going to be brothers and not a couple.
It’s hard to beat Hans' sexiness
With Hans in tow, we headed to the Theresenwiese, basically the “fair grounds” where Oktoberfest is held. It was 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. In my first five minutes, I saw these people laying on the grass. It could be they were taking a nap, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t. Also, I saw a girl get rushed on a gurney with an IV in her arm. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the beer they served…
Now, people make reservations a year in advance to get into the tents. And if you don’t have reservations, you have to be in the tents at the crack of dawn. However, M is a superstar and knows people. So bearing gifts, S&M and I got into a tent thru the backdoor, like rockstars. I was impressed.
The tents are massive and loud. Almost everyone is dressed up in lederhosen and drindls. In the center there is an oompa band and they play “ein prosit” about every 10 minutes. If you only drink when they play “ein prosit” you’ll be on the floor in an hour.
At Oktoberfest, each tent only sells the beer of the Keller (or the brewery) that owns the tent. Beer comes in one liter “mas” and the beer is about 7% alcohol. Crazy tourists think that they have drank only 3 beer, but that’s really 3 litres of beer. It goes without saying that the washroom lineups are massive.
Even though I’m a Canadian living in Bavaria, I haven’t been able to stomach beer since an incident involving sleeman’s and bubblegum when I was 20. So I was prepared to only be a spectator at Oktoberfest. Again, because M is a rockstar, the waitress friend of his managed to smuggle me in a bottle of prosecco. So I drank Prosecco from a mas.
The Germans take their beer drinking very seriously. Oktoberfest is basically a time where you sit. And drink. It’s too loud to have a real conversation. But they did think ahead and thought 6 hours of straight drinking might get old so they worked in some exercise. A mas cup easily weighs 2 lbs. So every time you take a sip, you’re burning calories and strengthening your biceps. Since it’s too loud to talk, you just sing. The Germans may complain a lot in real life, but get them drunk and they sing. Far better than the English if you ask me. Get them drunk and they just pick fights!
At this point, Hans was feeling neglected and thirsty so he got it on the action. Unfortunately, he overdid it a bit…
The man (cause you know it was) who invented the mas was smart to make it out of glass. You see, there is a lot of cleavage around thanks to the girlies in their drindls. As a matter of fact, it’s no small feat of defying gravity to get those babies up and out (I failed- even Victoria’s secret best is no match for the dirndl bra, noted for next year) The glass bottom of the mas cup also doubles as a magnifying glass. If you’re a guy and you’re smart, you sit yourself opposite a girl with nice cleavage and you drink. Every time you take a sip, her cleavage is magnified in the bottom of your glass. As a result, every time I had a sip of my prosecco, I saw S’s cleavage. I’d show you a picture, but I’m pretty sure she’d kill me.
You’d think that Oktoberfest is a beer celebration and you’d be wrong. It’s in fact a wedding reception. The fact that the wedding reception is 17 days long and has been celebrated for 200 years is beside the point. There is lots of Oktoberfest food to be sampled, the most famous being “hahnchen” or roast chicken, but I was too busy people watching and drinking prosecco to take part in any of that.
The evening ended with me taking the train back to Nurnberg and this was arguably the best crowd watching if uncomfortable 2 hours I spent. I’ve never seen a train so full in my life. I was standing in the compartment between the two trains with 30 of my new closest drunk friends. At one stop, a young fellow couldn’t take it and stopped to vomit at the stop. He clearly took too long, because the train left without him. One couple was standing so close to each other, they decided they may as well make out. Despite the fact I was 20 years older than them, I think they may have wanted me in on the action. Or at least that’s the impression I got every the guy tried to grab the girl's breast and mistakenly (or drunkenly) tried to reach for mine.
I’m still reeling from my Oktoberfest experience and I still don’t get the point of dressing up and drinking. I guess it’s sort of like Halloween except everyone’s wearing the same costume. I do recommend it though as a once in a lifetime experience, but be careful, don’t fall asleep napping on the hill, rumour has it your wallet has a high chance of getting stolen during your nap!