(Apologies for this post and all of the following being extremely late… life abroad gets pretty busy when you’re having this much fun)
Oh, Germany. After waiting what seemed like centuries, the beloved and famous weekend of Oktoberfest arrived. We packed our bags, hailed our cab at 5am (7am flights – I don’t recommend) and headed off to the Barcelona airport. I closed my eyes on the plane, and when I woke up I was in Munich, Germany. The country is absolutely beautiful – the countryside, buildings, architecture… I didn’t expect anything less. We all took the train from the airport to the Stoke Travel campsite, where my glorious 2-person tiny tent awaited our arrival.
Ellie, Kendall, Reid and I were very hungry (as usual) and decided we wanted a little taste of America before heading off into a German festival filled with pretzels and bratwurst. I hate to admit it, but we definitely cabbed 30 minutes into the town center of Munich and found ourselves in McDonalds. This was my first time eating American fast food since I moved to Europe, and to be honest, I’m pretty proud of myself (I miss you, American/Arizona food).
After searching high and low for a cheap dirndl that fit me in a somewhat decent manner, I found one nearly an hour and a half later that finally worked. But of course it had to be way out of my budget. After nearly having a panic attack in the store about whether or not to spend over $50 on a German dirndl I’ll probably only wear once in my life, I decided… who the hell cares. I figured I could re-sell the dirndl later in life if I was needing a little extra cash. In the end, I was happy with my cute little dirndl. Thank you, random German store.
We decided to head back to the campsite, get dressed, and take the long-ish journey to Oktoberfest. A bus ride and 2 trains later, we found ourselves at the famous festival. Not knowing we were supposed to reserve a table for any of the beer tents months in advance, we travelled through several tents only to find out we could not get a single beer without having a table. So, we decided to throw our money at a bratwurst food-stand and headed home (to our tents) to prepare for Saturday.
After waking up at 6am absolutely frozen in our ice-cube of a tent, we managed to get dressed in the dark and head to the campsite bar. Drinking a beer at 7am is not my cup of tea, but I did what had to be done. We caught the next bus and headed out.
Saturday was SO much fun. I immediately met up with my roommates in the Hofbraü tent and ordered what could be the largest beer I will ever drink in my life. It… was… amazing. I’m definitely not a beer girl, but this beer was incredible. Though crowded with plenty of college kids, the Hofbraü tent still had its German charm to it. Wanting the real “Oktoberfest experience,” I left the college tent and moved my way over to the carnival rides. The rollercoaster was the best 7euros I’ve spent when abroad (okay, maybe just Germany). It was so nice to finally do something other than drinking!! Having not eaten anything since the day started, I decided to ball out on a steak sandwich (10euros…). It was definitely not a mistake. Afterwards, I wandered into a random golden tent filled with people from all over the world. I met so many new friends, people from other parts of Germany, New Zealand, Australia… Unreal. The day started to become a little blurry after a couple beers, and I headed back “home” to my freezing cold campsite.
After continuing to join the party at Stoketoberfest (mainly because I was too cold to attempt to sleep in my tent), we finished the night with some weird nachos at the campsite’s stage and listened to their live band.
Sunday – the morning in Germany when you’re frozen (still), hungover, full as hell (from too much beer), and way too tired. I observed people walking around in their dirndls and lederhosens and was astonished. Though I (now) wish I had one more day at the festival, at the time the thought of dressing up in my beer-soaked expensive traditional “costume” seemed unbearable. I caught the next bus and train into Munich and walked around a park (not sure which) and saw some pretty cool stuff. I didn’t really know exactly what I was looking at, but my few hours in the city of Munich was beautiful. I topped off the day with my second abroad trip to McDonald’s (I’m ashamed?) and headed back to my home in Barcelona.
WARNING – What they don’t tell you about Oktoberfest:
If you’re camping, the smell is honestly pretty nasty. Bathrooms at any campsite are not chill, super gross, and there’s always a line. Yep, that’s right – I forgot shower shoes. Aaaand I never want to talk about it again. Also, it is cold as hell. The tents definitely don’t come with heaters or more than one cheap, semi-thin sleeping bag. Bring 4+ sweatshirts to pile on your body and find a friend (or someone else) to cuddle with. I nearly froze to death, but the beer might’ve just saved me. Bring some protein bars or candy if you don’t prefer prison food.
At the actual festival, 4/6 of us roommates ended up ALONE. Everyone is drunk, and I mean everyone. So no one is really going to be able to help you too much, especially when there are 10+ different languages being spoken around you. The language barrier is real, the drunken slobs are real, and the probability of you ending up by yourself is real. Find a friend, and latch the hell on. Being alone in Germany is not too ideal unless you have a good sense of direction and know which trains to take (thank you, Mom). A few of my friends didn’t have that luxury and had to hail a cab and buy a hotel room for the night (Yikes!).
If you’re planning on attending Oktoberfest with a big squad, you should absolutely reserve a table in advance. By advance, I mean months. You will get shoved and yelled at in German over and over again if you are caught just standing in the “hallways” rather than at a table. It’s not fun.
Finally, I saved the best for last. THE OKTOBERFEST FLU/VIRUS/FOOD POISIONING/SCARY SICKNESS. Apparently every year, nearly everyone from the festival goes home with some sort of illness. Every single one of my roommates was puking Sunday and Monday after Oktoberfest. We heard from several others that the same happened to them and their buddies. A guy we met in Italy claimed the same thing happened to him and his friends a couple years ago. It’s inevitable – and it sucks. Though it’s one of those diseases that everyone is embarrassed about, I thought I should also include that I came home to Barca with a terrible case of pink eye. No thanks!
All in all, Oktoberfest was one wild, amazing experience. PROST!