Where does one even begin ...
Oktoberfest has got to be one of the best weekends I've ever had. A weekend packed full of fun, endless laughs, litres and litres of beer and delicious German food, what more could a girl want. I headed to Munich in the middle week of the festival this year. After a lot of deliberating about whether or not to go and a bit of time convincing friends that we should just bite the bullet, we booked flights just 3 weeks ahead of the festival. Safe to say it definitely broke the bank and I wouldn't recommend booking so late at all! But nonetheless it was so worth it. We flew into Munich on the Friday evening and had to find ourselves some dirndls to wear at Oktoberfest. For those that don't know, a dirndl is the traditional German dress and it is what most people wear whilst at the festival. There were plenty of stores selling the dirndls so there was plenty of choice but unfortunately our flight got in quite late to the city centre so a lot of the stores were closing which made it a little stressful for me since I was quite fussy about which dress to get. After trekking through a few stores and heading to Marienplatz, a shopping area where we were told the shops would be open later ... they weren't, I was just a little stressed! But just as I was about to give up we came across a store that was still open. They said they were closing but after a little convincing they stayed open just for us! And thank goodness because I found the perfect dirndl for me. So as much as I'd recommend buying your dirndl in Munich; because to be honest the selection is so much better and the prices much more reasonable, I wouldn't do it the night before!
So to save money on accommodation we booked a package with fanatics tours which still wasn't cheap but I guess that's what you get for booking 3 weeks in advance to one of the biggest European festivals ... rookie mistake! So we were advised that our accommodation was a large dormitory, just how large we didn't know but safe to say we assumed it wouldn't be bigger than 16 beds or so; oh how wrong we were! Try a 40 bed dorm in the basement of the hostel. Now it really wasn't all that bad, the dorm was separated into sections but the bathrooms were a different story. The showers were quite communal with a significant lack of doors and even curtains so it was definitely giving off a little 'Orange is the New Black' prison vibe. After having dropped off our luggage and having successfully purchased our dirndls we started our Oktoberfest weekend with a stein of beer at a beer garden just opposite the festival grounds. We had been told that it was too late to get into the beer tents that night, unless we wanted to wait 2 hours so we just met up with a few friends and shared some steins. The next morning was an early start, leaving the hostel for the festival at 6:45am. Who on earth would want to start drinking beer so early you might think?! But don't stress they don't start serving the beer until 9:15am which, yes is still a ridiculously early time, but hey its Oktoberfest, why not! In order to get a table in the beer halls, especially on the Saturdays of the festival you have to get there early. We lined up to get into the grounds for around 30-45 minutes and then waited outside the Paulaner tent for another 20-30 minutes. And by 9:30am we were all enjoying our first sips of the traditional beer! Now I'm definitely not a beer drinker but the Paulaner beer was actually quite nice.
The day was filled with everything you would expect; beer, giant pretzels, gingerbread hearts, singing and plenty of laughs. The Sunday was very similar, more steins of beer and more pretzels. On our second day we headed to the Lowenbrau tent. The festival was a lot quieter on the Sunday morning but it quickly picked up by midday. For those that aren't aware, Oktoberfest is not only filled with beer halls but there are also plenty of thrill rides. So before drinking too many steins we ventured onto the biggest roller coaster we could find. It was so much fun, not sure how safe it was but we survived to tell the tale and would have done it again if it hadn't cost us the same amount as another stein of beer, clearly we had our priorities in order. Back in the beer hall we rejoined our larger group and treated ourselves to a mouthwatering pork knuckle with potato dumplings, schnitzel sandwiches and you guessed it, beer. The weekend shortly came to a close and our Oktoberfest was over before we knew it. It was such a fun weekend with old and new friends and it is an experience that I will never forget. I hope that one day I'll find myself back in Munich for another Oktoberfest, hopefully in the near future and I'd recommend everyone to try and experience Oktoberfest at least once in their life.
Just some final words of advice:
1. Don't book your trip 3 weeks before going!
I know it's an obvious one but still it needs a mention. Flights and accommodation were about triple the
price, and prices are already raised for the time of the festival.
2. Don't booked a large dorm unless you're really really really on a budget.
After sharing a basement room with 39 other people who had been drinking beer and eating heavy sausage
and potato diets for 3 days it's safe to say that the room smelt potent. If you can, book an Airbnb for more
freedom, privacy and value for money or a small dorm room in a hostel if you're after a more social
But on top of it all, just go and enjoy Oktoberfest, even if you don't like beer, you may surprise yourself!