Deutschland and beyond

Living in Germany

The Big One: Oktoberfest

Well I’ve chosen to spend the past two weekends attempting to hide my sorrows at Oktoberfest. “What sorrows could I possibly have to hide?” Just the fact that almost all of my friends have been reconvening in Boston for the two biggest football games of the year: Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, respectively. Luckily, I succeed in taking my mind off the games by getting dressed up in some traditional German clothes and surrounding myself with Germans/Americans/Australians/French/whoever was there.

So instead of this and this

I was with this and this

I’d say it’s a pretty fair trade off. So the first weekend, my friend Nadiya who’s currently doing a Fulbright in Kiel, came down to visit me on Friday then we went off to Munich together on Saturday. The train at 6am was packed and full of people in Dirndls and Lederhosen (traditional German outfits) and of course with plenty of beer. We were staying with my friend Basti who I met back in high school when our schools did an exchange program. We headed off to Theresienwiese aka die Wiesn aka Oktoberfest grounds around noon/1pm. Basti’s friend who worked in one of the tents … no longer worked there so we were on our own to try and get in. (this is not an easy task) But, after Nadiya sweet talked a doorman and Basti got a hold of someone’s bathroom ticket, we were in! (they give you tickets when you leave the tent to go to the bathroom so you can get back in, but I guess this person wasn’t going back). Also the term ‘tent’ is used loosely. There are 7 breweries in Munich, and each one has 2 tents at Oktoberfest. These tents are actually huge constructed wooden structures. They start putting them up at the end of July. (<– one of the ‘tents’ from the outside)

So Nadiya, Basti, and I spent Saturday inside one of the tents operated by Hacker-Pschorr (and hence Hacker-Pschorr beer) and had a great time. (Basti and I inside the tent)

Apparently one time wasn’t enough for me because I found myself on a train to Munich Friday afternoon. I was informed during the week that a junior friend of mine from BC studying abroad in Greece, Christina, was going to Oktoberfest this weekend. Not only that, but Friday was her 21st birthday. So I hopped on the train and found myself outside the Lowenbraeu tent 4 hours later. One of the best things about Oktoberfest is the ridiculous amount of people you meet (and they all tend to be rather eccentric). Here’s a brief rundown:

Italian kids: The second weekend (weekend I was there with Basti and Nadiya) is unofficially known as “Italian weekend” due to all of the Italians that come up. The first is full of…

Australians. And therefore unofficially known as “Aussie weekend”. We met a few Aussies and Italians on Friday night as well as some French people and Christina had “happy birthday” sung to her in no less than four different languages. The American version was started by…

Bob. Bob is a 50 year old American man who flew to Munich, spent no less than 200 Euros on Lederhosen, and was hanging out with everyone simply because “it was on his bucket list”. Luckily he had a soft spot for BC so we got along pretty well (despite the fact he went to a rival ACC school)

And last but not least… Germans: The Germans you meet at Oktoberfest cannot be claimed to be a representative sample of the overall population. In fact, a lot of the teachers at my school that I’ve talked with have never been to Oktoberfest. But, I have nothing but great things to say about all the Germans I met. They’re polite and make small talk with the Americans (when you’re with Americans) but once it’s found out you can speak German: look out. They want to know everything, how do you speak German so well, what are you doing here, let me buy you a beer, Prost (cheers) x 10, everyone standing on the benches and singing allllll the time. Being in the tent is a total time warp and before you know it six hours have gone by and you’re eating gebrante mandeln (roasted almonds).

Christina got us in on Saturday after we showed up at 10am and they claimed all the tents were already full. She pulled the ‘it’s my 21st birthday these are my friends’ speech with a waiter (which is who can definitely get you in) and we met some more great people back in the Hacker-Pschorr tent on Saturday. I couldn’t bring myself to leave Munich on Sunday early- Christina and her friends went back to take pictures at Oktoberfest but I miss Munich so much and the weather was so nice. I laid in the Englischer Garten and read before visiting Marienplatz and the Deutsche Bank…

I know I know I already have a ski-like winter jacket which I’m sure will be put to good use in the German/Austrian Alps this year. What a rough life. But since I pretty much spent all my money (that I brought) at Oktoberfest, I took advantage of the close proximity of a Deutsche Bank to withdrawal money from Bank of America without a fee. Thanks to the ATM, it gave me 100 Euros in the form of a 100 Euro bill. Great. So I chose to break it today by *sigh* buying a stylish winter coat (the real one is actually gray striped). I’m filing that as “necessary seasonal clothing” in my expenses.

(I apologize for all of the over-media-stimulation in this post. I feel I could talk on and on about Oktoberfest but pictures are better) Overall, two very successful and fun weekends. Now what next…


October 5, 2010 Posted by | Germany | , , , , , | 1 Comment