Somehow, we managed to be in Munich for Oktoberfest. We didn’t plan this, it’s all serendipity. But here we are, and we had an awesome time, thanks to even more serendipity.
We had a good day wandering through the Marienplatz, a popular square with a huge street market. Then we had a not-so-wonderful time exploring Dachou, site of the first of Hitler’s concentration camps.
We returned to our hotel with plenty of time to walk the scant mile to where the Oktoberfest was happening. So we bundled up against the freezing wind and set out.
Did you know that Munich’s festival is also a huge amusement park? We sure didn’t, but it is! We walked the whole thing then got a serious about finding beer.
Now keep in mind we’ve never done this before. We didn’t know the setup and don’t speak German. True, most Germans speak at least some English but it was chancy just stopping people on the street to find out the rules. We tried.
The beer appeared to be sold in huge tents set up as biergartens. We entered one and were blown over by the noise. Had to be two thousand people in there, most at tables filled with food and giant mugs of beer. Wait staff rushed everywhere with trays laden with food or fingers wrapped through handfuls of full giant mugs.
We are tender and wimpy and we turned to high-tail it to safety. But once outside in the relative normalcy of the amusement park crowd, we girded our loins for a second try. I was NOT going to be in Munich for Oktoberfest and leave without drinking a single beer!
The next tent we entered was just as crowded and loud as the first one. But this time I saw a security g u y talking to two Asian girls in English. When they were finished talking we grabbed him and asked how it worked that we could sit somewhere and have a drink.
He said the center section was reserved for the vendors “people” but we could snag a table along the sides by finding a girl with a white balloon and reserving it. So we set off in search of our little white rabbit, and found her in under a minute as she stepped down from a raised block of tables.
Such was the noise, that I had to run and firmly tap her shoulder to get her attention. Thank goodness she spoke English too! And most amazing of all, she said a party had not shown up for their table, and if we wanted to sit right now, and were willing to share with strangers, we could have the table, which was upstairs.
So we followed her to our table and she set off to find companions for us. We ordered ONE (1) giant mug of beer to share between us. Soon a pretty 20 – something girl wearing a traditional dirndl slid onto the bench next to me. Her name was Stephanie and she was expecting several friends to join us, if we did not mind. We were happy to have them and yes, we had a great time. They were all young professionals with a local media company, very polite, silly with each other, and kind to us. We shared a meal, sang along with the band, and raised our glasses in many salutes.
So there it is. A memorable evening of celebrating beer and humanity. What a blast!
Here’s a picture if the center of the room:
Proof we were there:
A few if our new friends: