Oktoberfest- What to expect when it’s not what you’re expecting…
^ This will make sense later.
I was DEEPLY misinformed by my friend’s boyfriend (now fiancé) about what to expect upon setting foot on the Oktoberfest grounds. How is that, you ask?
Pan to naïve, lost, searching Jamie on September 17, 2017. Looking, waiting, expecting to see hundreds of 2-4 person camping tents, wooden tables lined up in neat rows by said tents, and people running around half mad, yelling profanities without clothes on, throwing up on each other, passed out on the streets, in trees- something you’d expect to see at a Rolling Stones concert.
Much to my chagrin and disappointment, the Oktoberfest trip was pretty low key. That is, I didn’t see anything remotely similar to what was described above- the tents were large enough to host thousands of people and the tables were inside the tents. But then again, I may have missed something as I didn’t spend the entire trip hanging around the fairgrounds (cue “Twilight Zone” theme music or a scene out of David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive”).
All in all, if you’re looking for a chill atmosphere with people from all over the world enjoying themselves over steins of beer and Americans (specifically) recovering from long flights and a 7 hour time difference, Oktoberfest is your place.
Now let me take this time to impart one detail that, seemingly trivial now, won’t be as you read on. I will bold the detail for you so you won’t miss it- we went to Oktoberfest for 1 day and 2 nights. (Clue: This may or may not have anything to do with vampires and/or a sequel to an action movie starring Harrison Ford and Anne Heche.)
But first, I want to go over cheesy highlights:
- You meet people from all over the world- in my case, I happened upon 2 (actually 4) good looking, nice Swiss guys, who spoke conversational English, and liked that I was from Texas (see picture below).
- The beer tastes like what I imagine beer is supposed to taste like- not that fake stuff sometimes found in grocery stores throughout the U.S.
- The stein the lager comes in is bigger than your head. I have evidence.
- Munich is beautiful (cliché for this post).
- “Oktoberfest’s” in the U.S. are not comparable. (As I slowly lose all credibility since I’ve never actually been to a U.S. Oktoberfest.)
OK now to revisit my seemingly trivial detail about going to Oktoberfest for 1 day and 2 nights– the time you go actually does matter greatly. Speaking from an eye witness account, when you go during the day (say about 11:00 AM or so), you can get a table no problem, you don’t have to worry about patrons singing songs they don’t even know the lyrics to (until about 1:00 PM), and you avoid table hogs- which would result in a lot of standing and looking at backs. Tables reservations start at 7:00 PM. They’re expensive- like thousands of dollars (or so I’ve heard)- and they book up WAY in advance.
If you must go at night, do people watch, walk around, admire the tents from afar, and buy some food. To the best of my knowledge, everything shuts down about 10:00 PM. Because that’s when the vampires come out. So, unless you or someone with you has a cross and a lot of garlic, I suggest making a quick exit after closing time.
EXPECTATIONS ^ Thanks to Google images and my friend’s fiancé. I haven’t yelled at Google images yet, but I did yell at said guy and it went something like this, “YOU LIAR. OKTOBERFEST WAS NOTHING LIKE YOU SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE.” Then bowed out like a queen.
REALITY. See, sometimes luck is on your side. All joking aside, these guys were super cool and so was the couple from Seattle (not pictured).
“Get a picture showing the beer stein is as big as your head.” DONE.
The opening ceremony…there is security, but they’re pretty lax. You are allowed a small purse, but backpacks are not allowed.
The only picture remotely close to what I thought Oktoberfest would be like. This guy tried hard to bring back the 90’s. Unfortunately for him, no one else seemed to follow suit. (And don’t worry, he made out okay.)
On another note, I do admire the guy with the fake chicken on his head. Seriously, mad props for putting himself out there like that.
On the second night, we ran into one guy who was not a fan of my pants. I thought they were hip- you know the ones with gashes everywhere (see beginning of post for reference). Long story short, I’m about to walk by this guy. He has a cane (red flag #1). He keeps staring (red flag #2). I’m a little concerned he will for sure talk to me- it will be about some inconsequential topic like ants- and he’ll linger- I won’t be able to end the conversation unless I roll down a hill. I start to look for the closest hill. SO. MUCH. ANXIETY.
I end up averting my eyes as I walk by and pretend he doesn’t exist. The next thing you know he has his cane pointed- at my pants- and is ranting about Lucifer’s daughter and the number 6. I’m like you’re wrong about me- you’re so wrong. Luckily, one of my mom’s pilot friends told him “that’s enough” and we weren’t bothered after. So yeah, just watch out for those guys (and don’t wear edgy pants). They’ll pop up when you’re least expecting it.
Yes, I did go to Oktoberfest with other people- a handful of flight attendants and pilots. Shout out to my mom for the invite. Really, go with anyone or by yourself. You will have a good time no matter what. Turn off your phone, though. You don’t need it. Well, maybe for messaging your cool new friends through WhatsApp.
*****Bring cash to the tents- you can’t pay with a card.
This seems like a good picture to end on.
Until next time, adventurers!
“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.” – Bob Dylan
Photo credit: Walking Cane
Photo credit: Edgy Pants