Oktoberfest in München

Photos to be viewed here. I only took my 50mm fixed lens with, so unfortunately no group pictures.

A Maß of Beer. 1 litre, the only way you can buy beer at Oktoberfest

So during the week the group of Brazilians suggested we make a mission to Oktoberfest for the day. Figuring I wouldn’t have a chance to go to Oktoberfest again I decided to join in. We ended up being a group of 23 international students standing at Reutlingen station at 23h30 on Friday night.

Paulaner was the only brewery whose beer I had tried before in SA

We made use of a group ticket which allows us to travel on any regional trains for 27 hours (DB Schönes Wochenende). Only taking regional trains can end up being quite a pain, but the cost savings compared to taking the fast trains can be fairly large. We ended up with a 3 hour layover in Ulm, at 02h30 in the morning though.

View over some of Oktoberfest

We arrived in Munich (München) on an absolutely packed train. People in Lederhosen and Dirndl were everywhere, drinking on the train already. As we got off the train there were even more people. We took an S-Bahn a bit closer to the event and followed the crowds to Oktoberfest.

At the entrance, photo: Evgenii

When we got there none of us really knew what to do. We knew we had to be there early, as tents closed fairly early in the morning, as soon as they became full. But none of the tents were yet open. Small crowds were gathering around the entrances of several of the tents, so we decided to pick one and sit in line.

Half an hour later at 09:00 the the tents opened and we were rushed in and to two tables. It was lucky we were there that early, as by 09:30 pretty much all the tables were full and the tent was being closed. I use the word tent, but the structure is massive. We were in the Augistiner Bräu tent, which I would guess is easily seating 5000 people. Interesting thing I learnt is that the only beer that can be served at Oktoberfest is beer that has been brewed according to the Reinheitsgebod (the same as Windhoek brewery’s beers) and within the Munich city limits.

So we had a table, and we could sit there till about 15h00 when we would get kicked out, so people with reserved tables could take them over. 15h00 was optimistic. The Russians who were with us wanted to do some sight seeing so left us at about 12h30 and myself with three other guys departed the tent shortly after 13h30. Leaving the Brazilians to their own devices.

photo: Evgenii

We had a walk around the rest of the festival, had a look at the other tents, stores and roller coaster rides which were available. We then took a short trip around Munich and up St Paul’s Church’s bell tower.

The original plan was to leave at 20h30 and arrive back in Reutlingen shortly after midnight. We got to the station and saw we can take a 18h30 train and end up home by 22h15. Deciding this was the best idea, we got hold of the Russians and Brazilians and organised to meet up for the train.

missing train

After a bit of confusion we all ended up on the platform together again, waiting for the train. A train which left almost an hour late. Meaning we missed our early connecting train in Ulm, which meant we still only made it home to Reutlingen after midnight. And because that train was late we missed the night bus back to the residence by 5min. So we walked the half hour instead. We weren’t all too happy about Deutsche Bahn by the end of the trip.

Jorge trying to sleep on the train

The trains were also packed! All seats taken, and no where left to stand. We thought this would clear up by the time we got to Plochingen. But we forgot that Stuttgart’s version of Oktoberfest had just started, the Cannstatter Volksfest and the trains all the way home were full of people going home from there. We ended up standing for majority of the way home. A very long trip all in all.

People queueing to get into tents as we left

General crowds at the event

Besides the lack of sleep and not so great train rides, I had a really great time. It was fun, and had good company to enjoy the day. Would I do it again, probably, but not exactly how we did it. I’m glad I went and had the opportunity to go and say I’ve been to Oktoberfest. The beer and food was good too.

Our ‘waiter’ for the day, must make a fortune

In two weeks time we actually have the opportunity to go to the Cannstatter Volksfest with the university. They organised a sponsor, so we have 2000 reserved seats waiting for us 16h00 the one afternoon. It will be a slightly different experience to Oktoberfest, but looking forward to it.

people inside the tent

The French WRC rally (Rally de France) is happening this weekend in Strasbourg, which is less than 200km by car from Reutlingen. I’m going to chat to some people and see if anyone’s interested in going and maybe go watch some stages on Saturday.