In the previous post you got to see the outskirts of the festival and the crowds that come with it. Let’s enter the social world of the tents.
Just for fun, here are a few photos from the years past of Oktoberfest.
These fine gentlemen are friends from my home town of Folsom. They were my beer drinking instructors and guides in the first Oktoberfest I attended.
You can go about getting into the tents in a variety of ways.
Option 1: You can reserve a seat (up to a year in advanced) and be able to walk right in and sit in your desired tent at a table at the time you’ve picked. Easiest option, but requires way to big of a commitment for my preference.
Option 2: You can arrive to the festival whenever you want and walk from tent to tent, trying your luck to see which has the shortest line or friendliest security guard. To sketchy for me, inside the tents are worth more of an effort.
Option 3: Wake up before the sun and get in line to the tent you want and stand for 3-4 hours patiently waiting for the ropes to drop while you prepare to be elbowed for a table in the rush of other hopefuls trying to snag the best seat. Winner!
It’s 6:45am and we are dressed and ready to battle the lines of the famous Schottenhamel. It’s the oldest and the largest tent with 10,000 seats. In my opinion, it’s the best offering a variety of characters from youthful travelers to veteran Germans. At noon on opening day, Munich’s Mayor kicks off the festival by tapping the first keg of beer at the Schottenhamel tent… And now we are headed there!
Dressed and ready for day two!
The walk brings a glimpse of sunrise and we are now in line with all fingers crossed that we’ll get in. Here is the first two hours of the day.
We met these lovely ladies in line. Let the list of new friends begin!
As the line inches forward with each small group they let in at a time, your heart starts beating a bit faster, palms get sweaty, tummy starts to growl and… Well, maybe that’s just me, either way you can feel the energy around you start to grow as you can look in and see the next group getting ready as they clear the outdoor tables. Here we all are watching, squeezing and getting ready to be let in!
It’s getting tighter!
And we’re in… the beer garden. Let’s clarify, you can be on the grounds of the tent which is outdoor seating with the same food and same drinks. I rate this a “B-“. At least you’re in, but it’s lacking the live band, people singing and dancing on tables and the other 9,000 friends you haven’t met yet.
First up, 2 beers and some soup (Marshall added some sausage to his order) Perfect breakfast!
When sitting outside, here’s what you’ll see. I’ll start out with our awesome neighbors and new friends that took a train here from the Netherlands. So nice to of met you, and let’s keep in touch!
Although I was thankful to at least get this close, I was far from being settled that Marshall hasn’t experienced the controlled chaos of inside the tent. They’ve locked the doors and are just letting a few people in as some are exiting.
Our plan: I work my way in by showing them a “thumbs up” sign, which means there’s only one of me. Then after I get in, I wait for a minute then ask the inside guard if he can let my friend in because we got separated. Is this sneaky or smart? I’m not sure, but worth it if it works!
Step one accomplished! I’m in and now standing in the adult Disneyland with my poor friend outside pressed against the door window like a puppy locked out in the rain.
His view through the glass.
My view. Can you see his sad little face through the window?
Step two, I approach the guard and before I open my mouth he shakes his head no. I look at Marshall’s eager eyes and give him the deep sigh and “I’ll try again” look. Step three, four, and five are identical to step two.
Final attempt- I went to the door man who appeared to be not German and used my Spanish… Thank you español! He smiled and responded by pointing to Marshall’s bearded puppy face and literally pulled him in by the wrist as the surrounding hopefuls grumbled under their breath in jealousy. WE DID IT!
From this point forward you walk around and wait for the opportunity for an open seat a table with people who are willing to let you slide in. (This is of course because we didn’t have reservations or anyone else there saving a table).
Between his friendly face and my enthusiastic smile, we score yet again! Here’s the next 4 hours of our celebration!
…and the Prost!
Look who it is… The first pic is from last year at Oktoberfest, followed by us this year! Thank you Tim and Marion for the smiles and open arms to this amazing celebration!
The refreshing walk home was complemented with a little rain, open air and nothing but giggles. What a day!