Oktoberfest 2014 was one for the books, that’s for sure! We made our way to Munich by bus from Barcelona. Everyone thought we were absolutely insane (and we kind of were) because WHO DOES THAT?! But it was waaay chapter than taking a flight since the bus, campsite, and food/drink at the site were all included. And really, it’s all about the experience!Anyways, 20 hours flies by when you’re with your best friends… and when the bus seats turn into bunk beds. YES, BUNK BEDS. I had never seen anything like it! After a day of exploring Barcelona after not sleeping the night before, I was wiped and found myself dozing off only minutes after getting settled on the bus.
Finally we made it to Munich and arrived at our accommodations for the weekend: Campingplatz Obermenzing! Shelby and I shared one tent, and Sam shared another with a woman Nadia who we hit it off with on the bus ride. As soon as we arrived, the people who worked for Stoke Travel, the tour group we traveled with, handed us beers and showed us to our tents. We definitely did not know what we were getting ourselves into; I don’t even know how to begin explaining the Stokies… they are hilarious/crazy/fun hippies and you cannot possibly have a bad time in their presence. If you are under the age of 30 and ever have the chance to travel with them, DO IT. You’ll thank me later.
We arrived in Munich on Friday evening in time to scope out the campground and go into town for dinner. Of course we got lost on our way back to Campingplatz because I can’t even pronounce German words, let alone attempt to speak the language even for a second. Luckily we all had bracelets with the campsite’s name so that we could point to it when we needed help. Both nights there was a big party in the main area with a DJ, bar, and awesome people from all over the world to talk to. And let me tell ya, we made about a million hilarious new friends. The actual sleeping part was interesting. Very cold at night and cramped with multiple people in that little tent but it was so worth it. Such a blast!
The main event! Saturday morning we woke up quite hungover (SORRY DAD!), made ourselves look presentable in a campground bathroom of about a hundred other girls, and followed the herds of college kids/travelers onto the bus which took us to the train which took us into Munich. I think that the public transportation operated on some sort of honor system because we never paid once for any of the buses or trains we got on. When we arrived at the fairgrounds, calledTheresienwiese, I was overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of people that all came together to celebrate this iconic festival.
For those of you who aren’t too familiar with what Oktoberfest exactly is, here’s the scoop: it’s the world’s largest fair/festival which is held every year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It’s a 16-day-long beer festival during which over 6 million people come together to eat, drink, and enjoy this important Bavarian cultural event. Everyone gets confused about its name since it’s actually at the end of September to the first week of October, but it’s because it was moved ahead in its early years to allow for better weather conditions. The first Oktoberfest was actually a wedding celebration held by a German king in 1810. It’s crazy to think how that little celebration became this big world-wide event with rides and vendors. Even if you aren’t there fore the beer, there’s truly something for everyone!
Once we got into the city I realized I was starving and bought a pretzel bigger than my face… I wish I could say that was the only massive pretzel I bought that day but they were just so good!! We tried to get to the fairgrounds pretty early to ensure seats in a beer hall, which are hard to come by. We had heard that the best tent was “the one with the crown” so we immediately headed towards that one. Later I found out that the Hofbräu-Festzelt hall is one of the biggest and most famous halls that holds nearly ten thousand people and serves 780,000 liters of HB beer annually.
We ended up only waiting a couple minutes before Sam, Shelby, Nadia, and I made our way into the tent and ordered beers from the closest waitress. I think they should be considered some sort of superheroes because those women can carry at least 12 glasses in each hand at any given time. Speaking of the beer glasses, they are 10 euros each which sounds really expensive until you a) taste it and b) realize that you just bought an entire liter of beer in a mug the size of your face. I ended up spending way too much money on the traditional dress, called a drndle, which I actually LOVED and was well worth it. It made the whole day feel that much more authentic. Plus, I feel like it would made a great pirate costume next Halloween?
I had heard people talk about what Oktoberfest was like, but I never in a million years would have pictured this. Singing, dancing, music, cheering, and meeting so many new people: it was absolutely insane in the best possible way. EVERYONE, myself included, was just having such a blast! We somehow ended up finding some of our friends that we are studying in Madrid with (and Shelby and Sam saw a bunch of people from home that they didn’t know would be there) and ended up hanging out with them for the majority of the day. We made friends by the hundreds it seemed, which is completely necessary because you have to be in a certain area so that the waitresses will serve you. We didn’t leave the tent until the evening, and I was so happy to finally get a nice hot shower- well, as nice and hot as a campground shower can be- before spending the evening with a ton of my new friends.
Oktoberfest was exactly what I thought it would and nothing like I thought it would be at the same time, which I know makes absolutely no sense. Despite looking homeless in Barcelona after our 20 hour bus ride back to Spain, drunken group hugs with new friends, freezing in my tent at night, and spending far too much money delicious beer, I would do it all over again!