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Memories of Prague: Oktoberfest

This Sunday marks the end of Oktoberfest 2012 in Munich. What a sad time for beer drinkers around the world. I’m sure the countdown for 2013’s Oktoberfest will begin Monday morning once the hangovers have subsided.

Okay, so the title of this is a bit of a misnomer. But here’s the technicality: I never would have gone to Oktoberfest in Munich, had I not been studying abroad.. Ergo, it’s a memory from a portion of my Prague trip. Following me still?

Sigh. Oktoberfest in Munich. Where to begin?

Early on in our trip, a group of people decided they wanted to go to Oktoberfest as a group. In Europe, there are these really great charter buses, one of which is Student Agency, that take you just about anywhere for really, really cheap. Since we were college students living abroad (read: on a budget), we decided the best way to get all 20+ of us in one sleeping arrangement would be to use Stoked Travel to camp. Yes, camping, in Germany, in the middle of September. It rained the entire time. But the rain did nothing to dampen our spirits. No, our campground, as basic as it was, was a freaking blast. They had tarps and pop up tents set up to keep us mostly dry while we weren’t in our sleeping tents. Our tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads were provided with the cost. Breakfast and dinner were provided each night. And, quite possibly the most important piece of information for a college student living abroad: as long as you were in the campsite, all the beer and sangria you could want was free. Free. All of this, round-trip transportation and lodging for three nights for $250. Now, it’s quite possible the guys who set this up rounded up or took a little off the top; but quite frankly, for the ease of not having to plan this trip for 20+ people, I was okay with it.

I wasn’t kidding about camping.

After arriving in Munich via Student Agency bus, we searched for a metro stop and somehow navigated the metro in Munich to our campground. Some of our group ventured off to the Oktoberfest grounds that night, but the majority of us stayed in the campgrounds to become acquainted with our fellow campers and drink for free. The next morning, we got up ridiculously early and hopped on the first bus scheduled to head down to the Oktoberfest grounds. I made the unfortunate discovery that my ATM card wouldn’t work in Germany. I guess I figured if it worked in the Czech Republic it would work in Germany. Apparently not. Luckily, Mel loaned me some money to cover beer and food purchases for the two days. We meandered into Oktoberfest, which is set up like a giant fair.

A very warm welcome around 7 am.

After settling on a beer tent to spend the day in, we stood in line until it opened at 9 am. Yes, we got there that early. Hey, we wanted a table because you cannot be served delicious German beer unless you are seated at a table! Also, the tents aren’t “tents” per se. They’re giant halls with two levels, a center stage for polka music, and extremely clean bathrooms inside.

The “tent” we decided on.

So much room for activities!

By 9:23 am, one of our friends had “made friends with security” if you catch my drift (read: he was escorted out of the tent with the entire tent applauding security). Another had already been cheered on by the entire tent for winning a beer chugging contest. I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to what other crazy stories we have from that first day. I will say that I highly recommend the pretzels and “Halloween Soup” sold inside the tents. The pretzels are especially delicious when dunked in either your beer or the Halloween Soup.

Halloween Soup!

One of our servers, Michael, is carrying 12 one-liter glass steins. Crazy, right? I could barely lift one up with both hands just to drink!

For two days, we were immersed in Oktoberfest, as celebrated by the German culture. Any other culture or subculture’s version just seems wrong to me now, although Sierra Nevada puts on a much smaller, but decent, version in Chico. Going to Oktoberfest in Munich was an experience I will never forget and one I’ll always brag about. Prost to one day making it back to Oktoberfest!

Prost! Na zdraví! Skål! Şerefe! Cheers!

About In Natalie's Shoes

I’m a twenty-something food fanatic. By day, I’m working for a non-profit, by night I’m dreaming of becoming a domestic goddess, creating adorable crafts to gift and engineering delicious home cooked meals for the fabulous dinner parties I’ll one day throw. I love to travel, locally, regionally… heck, even internationally, I don’t discriminate too much when it comes to a new destination. I am a little obsessed with taking photos of the food I eat, whether I make it or pay to eat it. It is my firm belief that a girl can never have enough purses or too many shoes. I plan to fill this lovely little blog with my adventures in food, travel, and craftiness. I hope you enjoy!

6 responses »

  1. You are hilarious! I love your writing. Looks like you had a great time.

    • Why thank you, Caroline! I’m glad you enjoy reading my blog. We had a little bit too much of a great time in Munich. I’m eager to go back and see if Oktoberfest in my early 20s is the same as Oktoberfest when I’m older. I’m hoping the only thing that changes is that I’ll have more money to spend on delicious German beer and pretzels!

  2. Hi Natalie!

    I found your blog through 20SB 🙂 I’m from the Philippines and we have Octoberfest here too, we also have lots of beers plus concerts but we usually start it at around 6pm =) W

    Great blog 🙂

  3. Hi Natalie, Found you through BBN:) I just got back from Oktoberfest in Munich and enjoyed reading how you experienced it along with your photos! I think it doesn’t matter at any age you experience it – Oktoberfest is just pure fun! I look forward to following you and reading more posts!

  4. Pingback: our weekly jetsetter sharing travel tales

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