One of the touristic attractions that will never become lame in this country is Oktoberfest- the festival that celebrates beer in Munich. Yes, Germans are famous for their beer nonetheless this festival is more than just drunks and junks passing out on the streets. It’s one of the most interesting experiences in life, especially if you’re a student in Germany. Oktoberfest is history, tradition and pride passed through generations to our modern world. It’s an anthropological lesson on identity and the importance and influence the ones past holds in the present and the future.
Since 1810, every year the festival starts in the end of September to continue for 16 days in a row up to mid’October celebrating in the name of the marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese.
Apart from serving the highly selected beers that a brewed in the Munich area, people can order numerous delicious plates to keep up with the alcohol. There are fourteen large tents, each one providing a different environment, some entirely hippie, some native and some others pretty extravagant. Most of the tents serve pork and beef meals meanwhile there is one that serves fish exclusively as well as wine and champagne, and others that serve chicken plates with vegetables as a side dish.
Beers meeting the Oktoberfest criteria are as follows
- Staatliches Hofbräu-München
The price of beer ranges from 7-10 euros not so cheap still, but there isn’t an entry fee and beer comes in no less than 1L glass mug. All of the beers must contain a minimum of 6% alcohol, rules are rules they say.
Beer is served inside the tents by crafted waitresses in their dirndls, sitting around the massive wooden tables or standing if one can afford that. It’s somewhat of an unwritten rule for men to be wearing the traditional lederhosen and for the women to wear dirndls although not everyone is in the mood to do that.
However, Oktoberfest hosts around 6 million visitors every year so it tends to be heavily crowded inside and outside each tent particularly during the weekends. That being said, it’s not smart to be packing unnecessary stuff, especially not valuable possessions and technology. They might get stolen or lost in the crowd, never to be found again. Besides packing lightly, one should wear clothes that provide flexibility and feel comfortable, nothing fancy since you are entering a chaos after all.
When in the tent, it’s always smarter to be seated when you start drinking. During the weekdays is calmer and the likelihood of finding a place is higher while in the weekends calling for reservations is a must. The festival is fancied by all the generations, young and old, locals and foreigners gathered together clinking glasses and singing to German old hymns or international greatest hits like The Beatles.
In order to survive this battle one should prepare physiologically and spiritually before entering the gates so here are some essential tips to avoid embarrassment.
- It’s in September, remember! In order not to miss it completely make sure you plan your time off wisely and carefully. The festival starts in September and not in October; therefore book your flight and hostel as early as possible! This time of the year Munich is invaded by tourists so the prices skyrocket. One inexpensive and clever possibility is sleeping in the nearest town like Leipzig; it’s cheaper and only 30 minutes away by train. The festival doors shut at midnight sharp, with one or two exceptions and a busy day like that one has to get some rest to charge for the tomorrow’s adventure.
- Holy Water. In order to survive the high amount of alcohol you will be ingesting, 2-3 day prior to your journey start drinking larger amount of water, more than usual. This way your body will be hydrated and ready for the mayhem. In every tent beside the ordinary beverages there is water for those who wish not to pass out before the real fun starts. Be smart and drink water constantly while you are intoxicating on beer. Trust me you will than me later.
- Eat to compete. The food is greasy for a reason. Only high calories will provide a suitable foundation for all that beer. Eat heavily and forget about your ordinary diet. Grab a bite every chance you get, chicken, sausages, noodles, cheese whatever it takes just eat! It’s much more fun when you are actually conscious to experience it.
- An open mind for an open heart. Don’t freak out. You will get to see every type of behavior humanly possible, kissing, fighting, screaming, shouting, dancing, falling, vomiting, crying, laughing and more. Drunken people tend to get highly expressive and edgy so avoid any unnecessary confrontation.
- Also, be kind to the guards… You never know when you will have to piss and with beer that’s the ceremony, leaving the tent may result in never getting back again. When the tents get overcrowded and the air is compromised the guards close the doors letting none in until people segregate. If ever in that position use your charm and kindness if you are left with any.