Posts Tagged With: Oktoberfest

Torn pants… A successful Oktoberfest 

The day at Oktoberfest can start as early as you’d like, but considering our morning in Hurry up and wait! we chose to enjoy the slow beginning and take our time. Plus, we planned on spending a majority of the day walking around the festival and soaking in the warm sun. For a past similar experiences, check out Oktoberfest, outside of the tents.

To start off, we headed for the main train station and walked from there (with the other few thousand). 

    
   
Arriving to the festival, you’d think you were at any other state fair or large amusement park.  With happy crowds of all ages, the sound of excited kids is barely heard over the screaming from the passengers strapped in to the sky high carnival rides. The smell is sweet at times of all the roasted nuts and candy coated treats. If you’re near the edges, the scent of bratwurst battle the air with fried chips and smoked fish.

     
This stubborn German (such a rare find – to be said in an exaggerated voice) said I could only take a photo of his “stein tower” if he was in it or I paid him.  Jokes aside, I got the pic. 

      
 
2 things about the next collage. 

#1. I love the sea of dirndls and lederhosen sitting so patiently waiting for the ride.

#2. I wonder if the graphics on the backdrop would be allowed in the United States. Just a thought.

   
 
Even our girls hopped on one! 

 
Check out these swings.  A single person or doubled up… I want to do both! 

   Not up for the stomach twisting tilt-a-whirls? Just hang out with the other thousand sitting by the famous Bavaria Statue.   All of the upside down activities not treating you well? Just look for the red cross balloon!  
After hours of wandering around, we decided for one last hoorah in a tent. Instead of the rowdy group, we went for an old fashioned tent with traditional dancing and locals that… lets say… this isn’t their first go round. 

     

   
  This was a first for all of us. Chairs up and last ones out of the building? I’m honored. 
 As you can imagine, leaving the festival provided a show for itself with stumbling toes, unrecognizable conversations (if you call them that) and plenty of smiles. I’ve been coming to this event for years and there never seems to be room for fights. I think that’s amazing considering the amount of adult beverages consumed in such a short time. Keep up the spirited energy! The bottom photo is Florian actaully passing out high-fives, well done my friend… Well done.
 Coolest photo of the night was snagged by Carina. Gorgeous!    
The final train ride home and a walk of fresh air was the perfect ending to our festivites. 
  
“Hayden, are your shorts torn”? Oktoberfest was a success!

 
I predict a solid night sleep ahead…

  

Question:

If you only got one day at Oktoberfest, would you choose an outside experience or a day inside the tents?

 

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Dirndl: a traditional dress typically worn in southern Germany primarily in Bavaria during Oktoberfest.

Lederhosen: a mans traditional outfit worn in southern Germany primarily in Bavaria during Oktoberfest.

Beer: the number one liquid (even over water) consumed during the 16 day festival.

Time to experience Bavaria Germany at the worldwide known event! Feel free to read Hurry up and wait! to see how we made it to this moment.

Once the doors open there are 2 rules, no running and no standing on the table tops.  Other than that, first come-first serve.  Ready, set, GO!  
 
Once  you’ve claimed your table, you sit patiently like children in the classroom waiting for cupcakes and chocolate milk. The menu is on the table for the ordering all day and the beers start flowing from out of nowhere!

  

    
 Quick story of the day: Carina and Jenni ordered Weisswurst (a white Bavarian sausage) that requires the removal of a thin skin before you can eat the meat.  I’m used to this process after witnessing in times past, however my sweet girls clearly had never seen such a thing. Please… please enjoy this sequence of photos I captured during the removal of the skin! 

 

 
Well that was fun.
All righty, lets take a look around and share the glorious energy of thousands of people gathering to celebrate! In no specific order, here’s a series of photos for your own personal tour through the eyes of my camera. 

    
     
     
     
     

      

     

Did I mention that we were still having a blast? My cheeks began to hurt from the laughing, singing and smiling. The energy all around just keeps you going!

   Year after year, we’ve kept our classic photo a tradition!
 

  
 

End of the day? Yep.

Hopefully that gave you a decent idea of the fun to be had inside the tents at Oktoberfest. Tomorrow will bring a solid vision of what’s happening on the outside during these festivities! 

Random Oktoberfest facts:

Oktoberfest started as a celebration of the wedding between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his wife, Princess Therese. 

There is approximately 1.8 million gallons of beer served every year at this festival.

Paris Hilton is banned for Oktoberfest due to inappropriate dress attire while trying to promote a new product.

Over 4,000 lost and found items turn up by the end of these shenanigans. Last year items included 350 cell phones, 520 wallets, over 1,000 passports, 370 pairs of glasses, 425 sets of keys, 1300 items of clothing, and at least one set of dentures. Even 48 children were lost, then found. 

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Hurry up and wait!

The 4 of us left Bochum early to make our way to Munchen knowing the others would soon trail behind by driving themselves the following day.

11 hours on a crowded overnight bus (with team chatterbox behind us) made the 12th hour of transit seem refreshing and oddly easy. Once we made it to the main station in Munich, we took a small train called the SBahn to the nearest stop of our new home.  From there, we made the final stretch into a suburban neighborhood. I’m sure due to lack of sleep, the long walk was mostly silent. However, total exhaustion fuled random bursts of spontaneous giggles. You know the feeling!

  
So imagine this, 3 Americans, 3 Germans and me looking for a place to share. Considering the popularity of Oktoberfest, most accomodations are booked solid months ahead of time and if they’re not, the price is beyond unreasonable.  With 7 of us wanting to stay together, our other option was sharing a dorm room in a hostel which comes with a dozen strangers and a complementary shared public bathroom. 

Been there, did that… so we found something else!

Our perfect location was a treasure rental that is owned and operated by an extremely accommodating host.  With his gentle energy Jorj was there to meet, greet and help with whatever he could during our stay. I didn’t get a photo of him, so please check out his page by clicking here.

Just outside of the city, we (voluntarily) packed into a quaint 2 bedroom, one bath apartment. Down stairs provided an open kitchen, the bathroom with washer and a dining table big enough for all of us to gather around. 

   
 A couple of cute decorations added a bit of character to our little home away from home. 

 The bed I chose was down stairs tucked in a cubby that actaully provided some of the best sleep I’ve gotten on this entire trip! (Thank you amazing-o-friends for letting me have “first dibs”)

The rest of the crew had their pick from 6 spots upstairs. By stairs, I mean a completely vertical walking ramp with hand rails and a warning from the owner.  These things are dangerous with too many proasts at the festival!   

   
We’ve all made it!  

 
It’s early to bed since the morning brings a 4:30 alarm clock. If you recall in recent years, the chances of getting in a tent if you’re not there by sunrise becomes slim and hardly likely. For entertainment purposes, please read Inside the tents!  to see what the traditional morning race entails! Here’s a clip from the crowd of eager attendees in years past.
  
The 4 of us who have been before spent days preparing the others for the exciting bright rise and struggle to the gates. With success, we were all able to get up, dressed and ready (rememebr 5 girls, 2 boys and one bathroom) in time to beat the sun in the German sky. Awful photos, but you get the idea.

 On time and in transit!

  
Finally arriving to the festival grounds, we continued to amp up our group in regards to the battle that’s ahead.  The crowds… the elbows.. the sea of dirndls and lederhosen… are you ready!?  

 
WHAT?! Are you ready for an empty lot with a couple cleaning crew members and a few other confused people?  I don’t even think I knew what this wooden floor looked like from years past! We finally came to the conclusion that it was our first attempt during the week verses a Saturday morning. Turns out it’s easier when a portion of the city has to go to work.   

 
Well, we did what we do best… which is to make the best of it!  A few fun pictures, some hair play and 3 hours of meeting new friends as we watched the crowd slowly expand.       

What’s behind that door?  Our entire day of festivites patiently awaiting our arrival!

  

Doors open! To be continued…
   

Would you rather be 3 hours early or 30 minute late?

  

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Worst tour guide ever?

Once upon a time I went to Munich Germany to experience the ever so popular festivities of Oktoberfest. Who would of known that this event would introduce two of my now dearest friends, Carina and Florian.

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I’m grateful to say that it would take several posts for me to show you all of the connections we’ve had since 2010, including but not limited to Amsterdam, Greece, Costa Rica, Recklinghausen and another Oktoberfest. With that said, let’s just jump to the exciting news that my amazing German bundles-of-joy finally made a visit to California!

Although I had been traveling as well and only arrived 18 hours prior to them, I had been planning a few adventures to show them just a small variety of what Northern California has to offer. Little did I know, my calendar dates were not in line with well… anything.

Could I really be the worst tour guide ever?!

Worst tour guide ever: Spend 4 years bragging about living next to the grand Folsom Lake, just to have them visit during one of the biggest droughts in history.

Redeem the situation by bringing them to a different body of water known as the American River. Sun, water, smiles… Check!

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Worst tour guide ever: Invite them to a big night on the town during the only holiday weekend in which everyone is out of town.

Redeem yourself by taking them on a Johnny Cash tour (they’re huge fans) from the actual “Folsom Prison” to the tracks in which you used to “hear the train uh comin…”.

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Eventually making it to Reno (where Mr.Cash “shot a man… just to watch him die”).

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Worst tour guide ever: Almost run out of gas on the way to your next stop.

Redeem yourself by making sure to point out the stateline… Twice!

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Worst tour guide ever: Register for a “discount motel” without ever seeing it before.

Redeem yourself by bringing out a camera and spending five extra minutes in the room doing, hmm… I don’t know what to call this one.

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Worst tour guide ever: Describe the perfect beach… just to arrive at a full parking lot and an over populated coastline.

Redeem yourself with a walk through the gorgeous greenery of North Lake Tahoe to a lesser known beach. Classic panoramic views and sandy toes… Check!

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Worst tour guide ever: Get them really excited about the huge Gondola ride, stand in line, get to the ticket booth and find out it has doubled in price since last time you were there!

Redeem yourself by taking a night walk lit by fireworks and stumble upon what appears to be a huge bike?! Photo time!

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Worst tour guide ever: Take them to a country bar explaining the art of line-dancing and prepare them for tall cowboy hats, only to walk in to an empty bar with a dj playing pop and hip-hop music all night.

Redeeming yourself isn’t as necessary here, because with energetic music and quality people… fun just follows.

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Worst tour guide ever: Drive them to San Francisco not realizing there were a dozen festivals happening which means, extreme traffic and no parking…anywhere!

Redeeming happened with a refreshing walk across the popular Golden Gate Bridge.

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To conclude the possibility of me being the worst tour guide ever, I’ll close with the defense that when you combine genuine people with a true desire for a good time… No tour guide, weather disasters or other unexpected fault can tarnish a beautiful memory. Honored to have been a host and now sad to see them go, I’ll simply look forward to the next glorious time we meet again. Fingers crossed, I’m not the guide.

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I want to recognize several fabulous people that you see in the post above.
Hayden, (who met Florian in Greece and Carina in Amsteredam) thank you for opening your home, loaning your truck and being the best second worst tour guide with me!
Michelle and Nick, (met Carina and Hayden in Costa Rica) your lovely Truckee home and energetic night out in Reno absolutely enhanced our time together, thank you for all of the love!
Nate, (who was in Germany with me, but didn’t get to meet these guys till now) thanks for being so flexible, your hospitality didn’t go unnoticed!
Ian, (who met their friends Denise and Ioni in Argentina) I’m so thankful we got to celebrate your birthday with you this year!
Mike, (met Carina in Amsterdam) so glad you brought another smile to the table.
Crystal, thanks for making time to come out and finally meet the duo I’ve been telling you about. Ps, you doing the worm made the night!

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Oktoberfest- Inside the tents!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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We met these lovely ladies in line. Let the list of new friends begin!

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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!

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It’s getting tighter!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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My view. Can you see his sad little face through the window?

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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!

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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!

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…and the Prost!

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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!

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The refreshing walk home was complemented with a little rain, open air and nothing but giggles. What a day!

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Oktoberfest – Outside of the tents

Our train to Munich was my first experience in a spacious sleeper cabin. When I say spacious, I mean large enough to stand next to your bag with one foot on the bed and an elbow in the sink. We had to take turns getting ready but that was a tiny price to pay for a decent nights rest and saving night in a hostel.

The first year I did this journey, I had a seat in the night train next to “Sir Snores All Night” and an innocent child that was clearly tired and miserable. The following year my dear friend Tiffany and I chose floor space in the doorway and kept ourselves entertained. Here’s a shot from that “seat”.

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Considering the last trip on ground that was twice as long on a bus in South America, this sleeper car was beyond luxury!

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We woke up in time to hear them announce our soon arrival, woohoo! As we hopped off the train, we find a fellow backpacker adjusting his bag… its Alan! You’ll see more of Alan later, but just know we met him in the hostel back in Amsterdam. All of his friends had bailed so he was traveling solo for this portion of his trip. Not now, he happen to meet us at the right time in the right place! What a coincidence. You all know I don’t believe in those, so what a perfect path crossing!

He joined us for a walk around Munich before we parted ways to check in for the weekend. (I’ll show you more of Munich after the Oktoberfest posts).

We checked in to our new temporary home and are ready for day one of our 48 hour whirlwind of Oktoberfest. This is Marshall’s first time, so I thought we’d take it easy and experience the outdoor portion first. This of course means we are saving the “tent” shinanagins for the bright and early start on Saturday!

Step one: Suit up! If I don’t say so myself, I think we did a fantastic job of sporting the traditional outfits. I’m in a dirndl that I got the first year I attended and have proudly warn ever since and Marshall is well fitted in his shiny new lederhosen!

I think our “welcome packages” were adorable! The heart cookie necklaces are traditional this time of year, similar to the American “Valentine”, you adorn your sweetie with a phrase of your choice. I have no idea what our says… I just know they’re not for eating (yes, I tried a nite…its a cookie!) Aside from the necklace we got the Oktoberfest beer, a sample size of local liquor and a mug shot glass.

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Step two: Finish the outfit with an awesome hat that says “Tourist… Who me?”

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Step three: Take in the sights! Outside of the beer drinking tents (that are actually huge buildings that fit 6-10 thousand people each) there are rides for all ages, food stands, souvenir shops, and thousands of energized people. Many dressed in the appropriate clothes, others in casual wear and my personal favorite are the elderly couples hand in hand in what appears to be authentic outfits they’ve probably had for generations!

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I wish I could of recorded the verbal exchange when I was asking this young German couple if they would be a part of my handstand picture, hilarious!

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These guys were at a beer garden we visited that was just outside of the festival. We entered a conversation of “tough countries” and naturally it ends up in an arm wrestling match. I dedicate these photos to “The Young Family” in Oklahoma.

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Step four: Partake in your choice of typical Bavarian festival food! Note to future Oktoberfest attendees: Do not… I repeat do not try and pump your own mustard unless you would like a small bruise from a local German vendor operator.

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The walk back brings some great night shots of the energy and lights that keep the festival going.

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Tomorrow brings a 5:30am alarm to get ready for our attempt at getting in to the most famous of the tents, the Schottenhamel.

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