Last summer when my other half (aka my husband) and I were planning our trip to Europe we realized that our trip dates fall around the time when the mighty Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, Germany. As soon as I found out I wanted to make that a part of the trip! If you are not aware of what the Oktoberfest is, it is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair). It’s a folk festival that is held annually for 16 – 18 days and is basically just a big ass party with lots of traditional Bavarian activities and goods.
As the other twin currently resides in Germany I told her to join us as well. This was the first time that we were going to attend the festival so we were not too sure of what to expect. The general view was that it is useless to go if you are not interested in drinking beer. So because we do not drink, it was a bit of a put off. My gut instinct however told me that we must go and so we did.
When we started looking at accommodations, we realized that all accommodations near the location were booked! You need to make your booking plans well in advance because it is crazy busy at that time. Unfortunately for us, we can’t finalize anything till we get our visas so we usually have to wait till the very end. We did eventually find a hotel that looked reasonable, was a bit off the city center but had a bus station right outside it. After a lot of contemplation we booked it and were not disappointed at all. The rooms were clean, spacious and had all amenities that we could think of and the location wasn’t half bad. (You can have a look at it here)
We reached Munich from Berlin at 10 in the night, took a train from the airport then changed two buses and got to the hotel. We came across a couple of people returning from the Oktoberfest which left us very excited for the next day! The next day was a week day but all the online research led me to believe that it was best to get there early and that’s what we did. We got up early, got dressed and went to the train station. The city smelled of festivity and it looked like everyone was going to the Oktoberfest. There were shops and stands at train stations selling the traditional Oktoberfest attire (which we did not buy because it was too chilly for us).
The weather took a turn for the worst and it began to rain as soon as we entered the Oktoberfest grounds. Rain is bad news because apart from the beer tents everything else is in the open. While the sheer size of the festivity got me very excited and happy, the rain was a bit demotivating. However, I guess even God knew how excited we were and within a few minutes dark clouds gave way to the sun and the day had turned into a bright sunny one!
There was no stopping us then- we went and tried rides that looked insane, from the huge ferris wheel to the cars that spun like crazy and the roller coaster that went into water, to the more subtle ones like the one that gave me ‘wipe out’ challenge feels. During this time, we did not forget about our beloved stomachs and constantly filled them with pommes (aka fries) and ice creams. We were basically living our childhood dream.
Going to the Oktoberfest and not going inside one of the beer tents to get a feel of the Bavarian culture is an insult. Thus of course that was our next spot. We went into a few to see which went more with our spirit and chose the Schottenhamel which apparently is one of the most important tents as everything starts here first and is followed by the other tents ( We didn’t know this when we went there, just loved the energy so chose it). The ambience was amazing, the music, the periodic dancing, the infamous roasted chicken is a cherry on the cake. We spent a lot of time inside the tent and it was a super fun and happy time. (Just writing about it is making me excited)
The Oktoberfest is basically a one big happy place, where everybody is just celebrating. I would recommend everyone to visit at least once in their life time, irrespective of whether they drink or not. I’d say take your children and your families, it’s not scandalous at all. I actually did see teachers with students, and really young ones at that. So if it’s fine for them, it’s fine for you as well. This advice is obviously for desis like us or anyone else who has these apprehensions.
If you’re planning to visit this year keep in mind the following:
- Book your accommodation as early as you can.
- The dates for Oktoberfest 2018 are September 22nd to October 7th
- Although we only attended it one day, I would recommend you keep two days for it.
- Also there are other activities on different days, check them out here .
- There are family days on 25.09.2018 and 02.10.2018 where all rides cost less.
- Weekdays and mornings are relatively less crowded, it starts getting crowded around 15:00. So if you are planning to take your kids for the rides go early.
- If you want to experience it fully, invest in their traditional dresses. Also get those lovely and inexpensive flower headbands. (which we bought and the younger twin has been wearing to every carnival she has attended since)
- Lastly, let go of all your inhibitions and have a good time. You would see mostly Germans but it’s a nice conducive place, so no need to worry!