How much fun is Oktoberfest?
It doesn’t matter whether you are sitting or standing, in the middle of a bench or at the edge. Everybody talks, laughs and slags each other and messes about the silly Germans or tight Dutch or drunk Irish. The Irish had a winning argument that day though because we were all drunk! If football is mentioned then you can waste away hours listening to how much better the Germans are than the Irish. Well, much better than everyone really! Getting one of many litres of beer is ridiculously easy, a bit too easy, from one of the hundreds of staff racing about. You don’t have to move. Stick up a finger and 3 minutes later voila, you have one more litre of beer. If you are not standing on tables singing ‘is this the way to Amarillo’ or ‘Country Road’ then you are considered no fun. If you want to show your machoness by standing on a bench and down a litre of beer then no problem. Just do it. Everybody who can see you starts chanting until you finish. If you don’t finish then you must live with the wrath of the same crowd and hang your head in shame (although in the long run your head might be better off). One guy next to us downed two of them in one hour much to the delight of the baying crowd. Although he let half of the second one down his shirt he finished it. He did not look too healthy in the aftermath.
How much fun is Oktoberfest? – Industrial
Oktoberfest is drinking on an industrial scale. Serious drinking on a seriously big scale. Think Glastonbury or Burning Man multiplied by ten where there are no bands to see just the business of drinking. It is absurd on one hand but the whole city embraces it. Most people dress up in their fraulein dresses, dirndl, for the ladies and a checked shirt and short leather pants for the guys, lederhosen. If you haven’t forked out for the whole traditional rigout then you can just wear a stupid hat like I did! When I arrived in the main Haupbahnhoff train station I thought we had stumbled upon a circus with so many people dressed up. 2 days later and it all seemed normal.
The whole of Munich gets into the spirit of fun and unlike in my home country where drinking is strictly an adult activity where children are frowned upon, in Munich they somehow manage to make Oktoberfest family friendly. I’m not quite sure how but to see parents with the children at 10pm beside Swiss and Dutch skulling litres of beer is normal. The Oktoberfest in Munich is in a special park in the middle of the city called Theresienwiese (that’s the U-Bahn stop too) which all started in 1810. Very loud music is only allowed after 6pm so that older people can enjoy themselves too. As well as 14 huge tents that cater for approximately 7000people each (one holds 10,000) there is a fairground, roller coasters and bumper cars in the park. After a few beers I don’t recommend any of them. There are lots of novelty shops selling funny hats and pants and of course pretzels. Lots of giant pretzels. Each tent is sponsored by a beer company and they only sell that beer in that tent. Each tent also has huge beer gardens that cater for a few more thousand thirsty souls outside.
So how much fun is Oktoberfest? It is lots of fun. I’m not really sure how you measure fun but I do know that bars come in ‘fun size’ so maybe that is the size that fun comes in. It doesn’t seem right though, that seems like too little fun. If ‘fun size’ is the size of your finger then Oktoberfest is the size of your leg! In my two days in Oktoberfest I never saw a fight. At one stage there were some strong words and finger pointing but 30min later the two culprits were hugging each other. The curse and joy of beer!
How much fun is Oktoberfest? – Chemical
Of course with beer comes a hangover. Hangovers are never pleasant but considering the amount that is drank they are mild. There are laws in Germany about how beer is brewed in the traditional way and I have always found that hangovers are much milder than drinking the chemical stuff that is found in the rest of the world. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t hung-over and the trip home was anything but depressing but it was worth it. So worth it.
Is this the way to Amarillo? Every night I’ve been hugging my pillow, Dreaming dreams of Amarillo,
And sweet Marie who waits for me, Sha la la la la la la
A more technical ‘What to do in Oktoberfest’ will be along shortly