German Vacation Recap – Munich and Oktoberfest – Part 5

April 15, 2017

Missed Part 1Part 2? Part3? Part 4?  

Here it is, six months later, the last recap! I remember when I signed up for the Berlin Marathon I asked Cliff if he was interested in joining me, “of course”.  Then I told him that Oktoberfest would still be going on, “even better”…or something like that.  After all it is a beer lovers ultimate bucket list destination.  For those who are not familiar with Oktoberfest, it is the world’s largest beer festival held annually in Munich, Germany.   It is a 16-18 day festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October.  This tradition started in 1810 when King Ludwig I married Princess Therese.  The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the event. The fields were named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s Meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess.  

When we first started planning for the trip, it was a bit overwhelming researching Oktoberfest, there was so much information! Here is a list of common tips that were shared on the interwebs: 

  1. Bring cash – there are a few ATMs near the entrance/exits, but try to withdraw cash ahead of time.
  2. Reserve a table – the larger tents (and maybe the smaller ones) accept table reservations (6-10 people depending on the tent) and it can cost up to €300.  Since it was only the two of us, we were unable to reserve a table. 
  3. Arrive early – especially if you do not have a reservation, the tents open at 10:00am. 
  4. Visit on a weekday – weekends = crowded.   Glad we visited on a weekday.  
  5. Dress up – wear the traditional Dirndl and Lederhosen, they sell them everywhere.  We didn’t want to spend money on the outfits (and I’m a little modest for the Dirndl), so we did not partake in this tradition. There were plenty of people who did not wear the Dirndl and Lederhosen.  Guys, if you wear a plaid shirt and khakis, you will blend in. 
  6. Pace yourself – explanation not necessary. 
  7. Hydrate – same as above. 
  8. Bring a small purse – do not bring large bags or backpacks.  Security may turn you away or direct you to a bag check. 
  9. Eat outside – there are tons of food stalls outside the beer tents.  I didn’t do a price comparison, but food may cost less outside the tents. 
  10. Stay outside the city limits – trying to save money? The further away from the city center, the cheaper the hotel was.  Public transit was easy to use.  I was lucky and found our AirBnB that was close to the festival early on.  

Okay, time for some pictures! After we dropped off our car Wednesday afternoon, we walked to Theresienwiese.  How did we find our way? We followed these signs and of course all the people dressed up for the festivities.  

We arrived around to the fairgrounds around 4:30PM and walked through security before entering the fairgrounds.  It was huge! I took a deep breath and all I could smell was fish! Fischer-Vroni (tent closet to the Theresienwiese entrance) is the tent for fish and seafood.  I asked Cliff if he was okay with skipping that one.  

Did you know there are 14 tents to choose from, with each having its own character, design and beers? If you are super planner, there are websites that describe what types of beer and food each tent sells.  Our first stop, Armbrustschützen-Festhalle. 

So pretty!!! Unfortunately it was packed, womp.  We thought, it is one of the first tents, of course it would be crowded. 

Our next attempt: Ochsenbraterei also known as Spatenbrau-Festhalle. Also crowded.  The fairgrounds was huge, there were rides and tons of food stalls. 

Strike two, we tried another: Hacker – Festzelt. 

No room again. 

We thought with the two of us, it would be easy to find space without too much trouble, but pretty much every tent was packed.  We were getting hungry, so we decided to try again Thursday morning and head over to Marienplatz to visit Hofbräuhaus beer hall instead. Here is the cool Schützen-Festzelt tent. 

On our way out, we saw this cool statue and caught a taxi outside the grounds. 

We went here instead! Munich’s famous Hofbräuhaus was founded in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V. It is one of Munich’s oldest beer halls.  There were plenty of tables to choose from. 

Mini beer for me! As I said before, I am not the beer connoisseur or lover, but it tasted so much better in Germany. 

Cliff and I split another pork knuckle.  We agreed the ones we had in Berlin were so much better. 

After a drink and dinner we walked around Marienplatz.  This is a picture of city hall.  We noticed a few cafes in the square that looked like it would be perfect for breakfast/brunch. 

The next morning we returned to Marienplatz for breakfast before our return to Oktoberfest.  It was the perfect morning. 

The cafe had menus in both German and English…guess what Cliff and I ended up ordering? The “American” breakfast.  It was good! 

After breakfast we made our way to the Marienplatz S-Bahn to the Therensienwiese S-Bahn.  The subway system is easy to use in Munich.  

We arrived at the fairgrounds around 11:00AM and it was empty (compared to the day before).  We chose Hofbräu Festzelt for our first tent. 

There were stalls selling breze or pretzels. Yummo! 

Cliff ordered a beer and I took a few sips. Look at all the tables! 

See that lady below? She is carrying probably 6-8 beers! I was so impressed.  It was fun to people watch in the tents.  We learned if you put your foot on your table, you are expected to chug your entire beer.  Cheers for those who are successful and boos for those who aren’t. There were many boos than cheers.  

Cliff finished the beer and we wandered to another tent. There were many stalls selling these gingerbread heart things. 

We decided on Hacker – Festzelt as the next tent. I loved how they decorated the inside.  

We shared another beer and enjoyed the band that was playing in the center.  Again, there were plenty of tables and the mood was festive (especially when the music was playing).  We were still full from breakfast, but all the food looked good.  We saw a lot of rotisserie chickens and pretzels. 

On our way out we saw these barrels of beer. 

Auf Wiedersehen Oktoberfest! 

Cliff and I had a great time in Munich and agreed we would love to come back and experience it with some of our good friends.  We were sad for the trip to end (9 days go by so quickly), but we know we will return to Germany 🙂 

Here are two great blog posts I read while researching for this portion of the trip: 

Catching Up?

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      1. Run Jenny Run

        We felt bad at first for ordering it at first, but seemed like everyone was too 🙂

    1. Absolutely love seeing all your beautiful photos and now I am more eager to take this trip in the fall.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        I’m so excited for you (us)! Look forward to you completing the last WMM!

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