Germany

oktoberfest in munich

Oktoberfest in Munich

One of the things on our bucket list when we moved to Italy was going to Oktoberfest in Munich. Hotels book up fast for this event, so while we were in Munich last winter, we booked our hotel and bought our lederhosen and dirndl.

The General Experience of Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest was first held in 1810, to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Now, Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival, drawing people from around the world. Of course, the Germans here have probably been going since they were three years old.

Oktoberfest is known as the world’s biggest fair, and believe it or not, it has something for everyone. The grounds are huge! You’ll find roller coasters, ferris wheels, carnival games, and of course the beer “tents.” Some of these tents can hold up to 10,000 people, and each tent has its own character and feel to it.

About two-thirds of the people dressed up in the traditional lederhosen and dirndl outfits. Almost one-third were in regular clothes, and the rest were in other outfits like kilts. People of all ages were wearing the traditional Bavarian attire and we think we fit in perfectly.

Beer Tent after Beer Tent

After walking around for a while and looking at the scene around us we went into our first tent, Paulaner. We were able to find seats, though even on a Thursday at 1pm it was pretty crowded. We ordered two beers in the only size that is possible at Oktoberfest in Munich: a liter stein. Next to us were three Munich residents who were taking off of work to enjoy a day at the festival.

After a liter of beer each, we decided to move on to another tent, Augustiner. By this time it was around 3pm and it was a little harder to find seats. We squeezed in between some very drunk Germans and some friendly Italians.

We didn’t stay here long, sharing only a liter of beer, and we only have one picture from inside the tent. The drunk guy on the right didn’t speak very good English, and the guy on the left is laughing because he told him many times that they don’t speak English. Jon and I were trying our best to translate back and forth. 

We moved on to the Hofbrau tent and once we found seats, decided to stay there for the rest of the time. This tent is notoriously known as the tourist tent, though Germans still come because they like the atmosphere and meeting people from around the world.

Things got a little rowdy here! By the end of the night, everyone was standing on the benches and singing the traditional drinking songs. I also remember “Que sera, sera” was playing in the background. Between the two of us, we had five liters of beer, and after that things got a little fuzzy. But from what we remember we had a good time.

I mean, how could we not?

Enjoying the Rest of the Festivities

We’re not sure when we left or how we got back to the hotel, but we do remember stopping to play a carnival game involving bb guns. It’s always a great idea to have these shooting games right outside of the tents at night, don’t you think?

We went to the Oktoberfest grounds the next day, but didn’t drink. Instead, we strolled around, played a few games, and bought some souvenirs to take home. Overall, we were really impressed with the organization and efficiency of the entire event! We don’t think a beer festival of this magnitude could work in other countries. Oktoberfest in Munich is something we will cherish and never forget!

We will always remember… what we remember.

visiting munich

A Quick Visit to Munich

We went from the land of beater Fiats, Alfa Romeos, and scooters, to the land of BMWs, Mercedeses, and Audis. From the land of pasta, pizza, and wine, to the land of meat, potatoes, and beer. Food-wise, I don’t think I would survive in Munich for very long, but Jon was in heaven! I think I had more meat during our quick visit to Munich than I’ve had during several months in Italy!

Munich is constantly on the top ten most livable cities lists, and we could see why. It was clean, walkable, bikable, safe, affordable, and easily commutable. The list goes on and on.

After we arrived at our hotel, we ate dinner at a fondue restaurant. We cooked the meat, consisting of turkey, chicken, veal, and beef, in a pot of oil. Then, we dipped them in the sauces that they provided. Our dessert was real German chocolate melted into gooey hot goodness, which came with fruits and biscuits that we dipped in.

Soaking in Bavarian Culture

During the day, we went to the Englischer Garten (English Garden), which is a very large public park (bigger than Central Park). The name of it refers to the landscape gardening which was very popular in the 18th century.

With limited time in the park, we saw only a few sites and managed to get in a nice stroll. The city of Munich built The Japanese Teahouse to celebrate the 1972 Olympics. In the distance, we saw the Monopteros, which is a small, round, Greek style temple built in 1832. We also stumbled upon a waterfall that was created in 1815.

We passed by the Munich Residenz, which is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs. It is used today for visitors to see its architecture, room decorations, and displays of the royal collections.

In the center of Munich is the Marienplatz, which has been the main central square in Munich since 1158. The New Town Hall is a site to see in the square, and you really can’t miss it. The building is gothic and almost looks like it was built from wax drippings from a candle.

On the tower is the Glockenspiel. Everyday, at certain times, it chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century using 32 life sized figures and 43 bells. The top half shows a joust in honor of the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V (founder of the Hofbräuhaus) to Renata of Lorraine, with the Bavarian knight winning of course. The bottom half shows the Schäfflerstanz (the coopers’ dance), a dance that symbolizes perseverance and loyalty to authority through difficult times.

Since we had planned on coming back to Munich for Oktoberfest we bought traditional German outfits for ourselves. Jon has his lederhosen and I have my dirndl.

Prost!

No trip to Munich would be complete without drinking in their famous beerhalls. The first one we went to was Augustiner Keller. Inside, it showcased a timber theme with big pine tables and benches, and animals (I hope fake, but probably not) as ornaments. The cellar glowed with warmth and the whole place had a very pleasant and relaxing feel to it.

The other beer hall we went to was the famous Hofbräuhaus. This hall is massive, with each room bigger than the next. Being that it was a midweek night in the winter we found ourselves seats pretty quickly and ordered beers from a “beer wench” passing by.

Beer in this house means you will get a liter of beer… a liter! I had to hold the mug with two hands! Traditional Bavarian music echoed through the hall while Jon and I looked around in amazement.

Future Plans in Munich

We really didn’t have that much time here. After celebrating Oktoberfest in the fall, we plan to set aside another day or two to see:

                  – Dachau Concentration Camp
                  – Olympia Park
                  – Neuschwanstein Castle
                  – BMW museum

We’re looking forward to our next trip to Munich! The following are some other pictures from our time in Munich.