Oktoberfest, something that is on any avid travel junkies bucket list, is now something I can square away! But, without trying to give away any spoilers for this edition, it won’t be the last time I visit this festival either!
Originated in Munich, Germany, in 1810. It started out as a wedding. A union that brought the townspeople so much joy they were invited to share the festivities with the nobles in a week long festival of premium ale and feasting delights fit for royalty. Over the years, not much has changed, it still is a culinary delight with premium ales specially brewed for this occasion only. It still has romantic ties with its ‘kiss signs’ & it still brings the townspeople so much joy it is like a modern day ‘blokes world’ or as my partner referred to it “Disneyland for men.”
We rolled through the mountains from Milan to Munich on the most beautiful train ride. Mountains after mountains with different coloured trees and little villages with colourful houses and smoke pouring from the chimneys. Some of them having light snowfall dusting them. This was truly something amazing. I was still feeling very ordinary, from the bout of Tonsillitis in Milan, but thankfully our cabin buddies (2 friendly Poms with similar music taste) were understanding enough when I had my Zombie moments.
The guy, for some weird reason, really enjoyed saying my full name, out loud, over and over again…. Lol.
Once we arrived in Munich we quickly jumped into a cab to our campsite as we knew it was quite a way out of town. The campsite was our home for the next 4 nights & it needs to be said that it was ‘concentration camp cold’. It was dark for longer than it was light. Droves of Australians inhabited the entire grounds drinking every day & night, never cleaning up after themselves, and inappropriately waking people sleeping all night long. Which left me feeling like it was going to be a long and slow recovery for me.
Our tents were tiny! Our luggage large & a nightmare to keep it out of the rain but still have space to sleep. The 6am Busabout wake up call was the cherry on top. Anyone who was with Busabout for the first weekend of Oktoberfest 2013 will know what I’m talking about.
“WAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYKE UPPPP BUS ABOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWT!!!!”
This started the morning ritual of imitating the wake up call while we waited in line to be served. I remember being particularly filthy on the first morning while we waited as it was still dark, freeeeezing & they shouted “egg and bacon rolls” during wake up and we were served egg and sausage! Not cool. Seeing as I had already decided to forgo the first day in the festival, to rest and get better for the rest of our time there, I was going to sleep in. But the lure of bacon won over my tummy only to be let down in the end. 😦
I waved goodbye to all the buses of fancy dressed boys n girls at 7am, knowing full well they weren’t going to get a lick of beer until 12pm, and went back into my cosy tent.
Woke up around 11 and felt the best I had for over a week! I took my time in the line-free showers, washed my hair, and dressed like a human being with some self pride for the first time since Nice. I felt amazing!I took a small stroll upstream to the closest beer hall, which was deserted because of Opening Day for the halls in town, so I sat outside and soaked up Mother Nature, ate my first proper meal for days, and cruised the wifi. My Schnitzel was amazing!
I made a new friend at the beer hall, another Aussie, her friends had abandoned her before she was ready. So I suggested we go into town together so I could look at Dirndls and trinkets for my necklace. She was in full Oktoberfest garb and incredibly gorgeous! She was not going to have a hard time making friends in the festival. We had a drink (water for me), I told her how to get to the festival (reassuring her she would have ample fun without her slack group of friends) & said farewell. I headed back to camp for dinner of chunky soup and an early nights rest for MY first day in the festival would be tomorrow!
My partner got back to camp at Midnight, in a state that can only be referred to as ‘Loser Drunk’, talking about his love for the beer wench, Petra, and that “Oktoberfest is for men and not women”
“Ok, well how about we talk about it in the morning?”,
“I’m not even drubkh!” ….
Riiiiiiiiiiigggghhht. He then kindly presented me with the bulb of a rose and told me “I stole it from a stupid chick off the bus”.
“Thanks. I guess.” LOL. Silently i knew there would be no recollection of any of this in the morning……
….and I was right.
We headed into the festivities with our camping neighbours and checked out the mass of fairground rides and festival food stalls. We bought a bunch of fresh roasted nuts, seasoned with cinnamon and sugar, they smelt and tasted Ah-Mazing! I saw all the tourists and all the locals wearing incredible traditional get ups. I begun to get chronic FOMO. When our neighbours met up with their friends at the Hippodrom Hall, we set off to get me a Dirndl. PRAISE THE BEER GODS. There was an outlet store right outside. Tim had purchased his Liederhose at the campsite the day before so we needed only to find me a cheap dress.
Several sizes, squashed boobies & a bucket of sweat later, we headed back into the festival!
After a quick stop in the Spatenbrau hall, we met up with our neighbours at the Ambrustschützenzelt hall, where buffoonery was in full swing. LOTS of laughs were had & the people watching was unlike anything I had experienced. I’ve seen people who don’t know when to say ‘No’ before, i am Australian after all, but this place was an entirely different league!
After making friends with everyone within a 360 degree radius of our table, we made cultural jabs & ordered food, I had my first Pork Knuckle. HEAVEN in hog form!
Then we witnessed ‘the Orgasm Wall’. A divider that drunk fools leaned against when the drinks they had consumed caught up with them. The facials this wall showed us were similar to ‘Vinegar Strokes’ which led to sore cheeks and sides from laughing so hard. Our new German friends, Becca & Bjørn, were so funny and were intrigued by our travel plan (or lack thereof.) Bjørn famously citing that ‘quitting your job to move abroad without something already planned and arranged’ was “So NOT Germany!” We promised to meet up with our new friends at the Orgasm Wall at the same time tomorrow.
I was determined to meet up with my BFF, GG and her partner, and I WOULD be drinking! Antibiotics or not, it would be our last day, and my last chance to enjoy everything this festival is known for.
I need to share, we have not used Busabout for any other part of our trip, but Oktoberfest was ok. The best part, was having all the drunks so close together in the still of night, singing loudly in a round of HEY BABY – Dj Otzi. So funny! No one knows who is singing, but they all know the words, everyone joins in and strangers tell the haters to “let em sing.” Priceless.
I felt so much better at this point, I was ready for the beer, but I needed to still take pain killers. We met up with our friends at 11am, at the Löwenbräu, & we all looked ADORABLE! Once GG saw I had a ‘kiss sign‘, it was settled,
“GG needs one!”
Being that we both spoke NO German, the task of finding a perfect sign to represent yourself, can be daunting. I got incredibly lucky to get “Knack Arsch” which, according to locals, meant I had a ‘Firm, athletic & desirable rear end.’ But I did some research, google translate, and it means ‘Arse Crack!‘ I got some great looks from people trying to see if it was true. LOL!
I suggested to the Kiss Sign stall that my friend needed one that proclaimed her ample bust. Alas, they had none that said “Big Boobs” in German. We went with her next best quality, “I’m Awesome!”…….and there was much rejoicing.
We made our way to the most popular and decorated Hall, The Hippodrom, and ordered the baked chickens and pork knuckles. The beer wenches are so stacked! I had heard from others that I had to grip one of their forearms to appreciate the muscle these women have. This stemmed the boob grabbing gag I would never live down. I reached for our wenches forearm but a loss in translation occurred when she looked disappointed I grabbed her forearm and not the breast, which according to everyone there, it looked like I was going for! Hahaha. Whoops!
We moved along once the 3pm rush of the weekdays begun. Gail insisted she had to try one of the rides, Tim doesn’t like rides, so i didn’t argue! We settled on the extreme ‘swinging chairs’ ride which was 55 meters high, but I disagree, it felt much worse!
We felt SO sick afterwards. The only remedy was Nutella flavoured anything and chocolate coated chillies…. STUPID! Fast forward and we were back to where it all started to escalate the previous day, Ambrustschützenzelt Haus!
•The boys ‘enjoying’ chocolate coated chillies!
It wasn’t the time to meet with Becca & Bjørn yet so we went inside to have one beer before meeting them. NEK MINNIT…. We are wasted, singing to all the Oktoberfest hits, dancing on tables & chairs! Good drinking requires good eating! So we ordered our next instalment of Pork Knuckle & whaddya know? The Germans had arrived early and somehow found us inside the chaos of our beer hall! It was an Oktoberfest Miracle!
We shared drinks & laughed at how hungover the Germans were, so much so, that they weren’t able to continue the evening with us. We said goodbye and promised we would meet again! (Spoiler alert: we do!)
The rest of the evening is a bit of a blur. I’m sure the following was involved, but in no exact order:
• pig pen- with underwear intact!
• Reds rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’
• acdc cover band in German
• drooling on pork knuckle rotisserie stalls
• gift shops
• laughing at all the drunks collapsed out in the street (sure we weren’t far off)
• dirty dancing re-enactments
• motor boating
• demolishing my kiss sign
• chimney cakes
• running into friends from our earlier stops.
• booking trains and hostels, while drunk, hours before departure
• broken cameras & drowning cameras in beer (they both still work!)
• sumo suit singers
Then we wandered off to our campsite, not buying a u-bahn ticket, no one gets checked at the time of Oktoberfest…… Save your money!
That morning, the decision had already been made in both our minds, not even voiced yet to become official. And, yet somehow, we both knew it.
“We will be back next year!”