It was finally Thursday September 29th, the day I left for Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany! The day started early at 5:45 am when I met up with Maria, Nicole and Katie to take the train to the airport. We arrived a lot faster than anticipated so we decided to eat some caprese sandwiches for breakfast? We then boarded the plane by taking a bus to the airplane (seems to be the trend here in the EU). Naturally we all slept the entire flight to Munich so I was pretty rested when we arrived. Once we got there we took a taxi into the city. All the taxis in Munich are Mercedes-Benz; we could tell already we were going to be living a life of luxury for the weekend. We then arrived at our hotel, the Four Points Sheraton, which was located a stones throw away from the Oktoberfest grounds. Score! We quickly checked in and then went on our way to Marienplatz, the city center so we could make it in time for our bike tour of Munich.
When we arrived in the square it was just as picturesque as I thought it would be with the Neues Rathaus/Glokenspiel building in the center. I was also very excited because I was able to get a to-go coffee (not even an idea in Rome). We then met our tour guide and the rest of our tour group. They were all middle-aged men; so three college girls didn't fit in very well. After we got a little information about Marienplatz and an overview of Munich's history, we were off on our bikes. We biked all over the city and saw just about every major monument anyone would want to see. Unfortunately many of the buildings were bombed during World War II, so they all had been rebuilt in the last 80 years, not as cool. After riding around the city we rode through the Englischer Garten (English Garden). It was a beautiful park that was perfectly planned out in the way it was build. It even had a huge fake river running through it. On our way through we ran across the Schonfeld meadow…a nude sunbathing spot. To our luck we were able to see some lovely old nude men, not the best part of the trip. After that experience we quickly rode the other direction and stopped at the Chinese tower to drink some famous beer. We each tried a different beer and they were all great! I am not a huge beer fan but they were all delicious. The best part was the giant pretzel and ball of cheese and butter we got for dipping. One of the best and most artery clogging meals I have had thus far. After an hour of eating and drinking we hopped back on our bikes and headed back to the city center to end the tour. The bike ride back ended up being a bit wobblier than the one there…
After the bike tour it was time to head back to the apartment to see Mallory, Satpal and Ellen!! Once we all met up we decided to go scope out Oktoberfest a little before the next morning. When we arrived I immediately felt like I was at the Iowa State Fair. The only differences were that all the Germans were dressed in Lederhosen and extremely drunk. It was a blast walking around and seeing everything for the first time. I decided to try a chicken sandwich, which was so delicious. For dessert we walked to the tent that looked like a gingerbread house. I got a traditional German dessert that consisted of cut-up pancakes covered in applesauce and raisins. It was sooo good but so filling. After stuffing our faces we decided to head back to the hotel to rest up for the big day ahead of us.
Saturday morning came quickly. We woke up at 6 am so we could get to the tent at 7:30 to stand in line to get into Hofbrauhaus, the best tent at Oktoberfest, or so we had heard. We arrived at the tent and it ended up that hardly anyone was there. We stood in line until 9:30 until they finally let us into the tent. It was a stampede of people budging their way in. We quickly grabbed a table with some of our new friends, Bryan and Pablo, that we met in line. Then came the BEERS!! Our waitress came over carrying 10 steins at once! It was unreal; she should have been a weight lifter. It was then time to drink. The steins look a lot bigger in person than from the pictures. The beer is so strong in Germany that we could all feel it ¼ of the way in to the first stein. The rest of the day was spent drinking 2 more steins and eating everything that came our way. We ate a whole chicken, every pastry possible and who knows what else. After wearing ourselves out on Hofbrauhaus we decided to venture out into the rest of the festival. The rest of the afternoon we spent exploring everything, eating and making new friends (horses).
We crashed around 3 pm and passed out in our hotel rooms. We woke up when it was dark out and I woke up to a fever. I had been fighting a cold for the past week and I guess it decided to show up at Oktoberfest. I decided I needed to go get some medicine so we had to walk 20 minutes to the train station to find an open pharmacy. The train station was huge and had a ton of restaurants. We obviously had to stop and get some Asian food and a Starbucks latte along with my medicine. The pharmacies in Europe give out medicine a lot easier than in the US. I am pretty sure they gave me a Z pack because I felt a lot better just the next morning.
Saturday we decided to sleep in and take the second day a lot easier. Since we got there later all the tents had lines outside because they were so full. We decided to try a new tent, Ammer. It was more of a local tent but we got to sit outside, which was great because it was a beautiful day. We all downed a stein of beer and an entire plate of French fries before deciding to venture elsewhere. We knew our next stop was the bumper cars. Satpal and I decided to give this game a whirl…not a good idea. Apparently bumper cars require more skills than we thought. In the end, the young German boys schooled us. We then headed over to a fun house with a talking moose on it. That was an experience in itself. It ended with walkways that spun in circles and obviously I fell down and went spinning around and around.
After we ate our way throughout the rest of the festival we headed back to the hotel to rest. That night we decided to explore more of Munich and get some dinner downtown. We found some great places to shop and a nice authentic German restaurant. I obviously wanted to stay away from anything Italian, so I settled on a baked potato with turkey. It was so great to have something a little different from Italian food, although it is still my favorite! After dinner we walked back to the hotel and crashed from the long weekend we had endured.
The next day was just spent traveling back to home sweet Rome. The weekend was a success! Although I was sick the entire time it still turned out to be a great time. Oktoberfest lived up to everything I had heard and more. I hope to go back sometime in the future to have the whole experience again!