Pros and Cons of Oktoberfest:
Having had the time to recover, it’s time for my highlights of Oktoberfest. It’s safe to say that one really should experience the largest folk festival in the world, even if it is only once, the famous Oktoberfest. You probably saw my #NoviceGuide for those who haven’t been before, in my Oktoberfest guide.
Before flying to Munich, I watched some interesting videos which were warning tourists how they should best behave in order to blend in.
See this one here from Harry G which is rather funny (if you can get past the thick, beautiful in its own way, accent.
He cites that it tourists can’t do anything right anyway (I can imagine how they feel with people coming from all over the world to suddenly adopt bavarian culture), but this is just to put you off. Anyone can come to Oktoberfest and, in my view, the Bavarians get rather drunk and do rather embarrassing things themselves, too. Harry G really gives some great tips especially about which U-Bahn to arrive at Schwanthalerhöhe instead of Theresienwiese where entry is easier.
The Highlights of Oktoberfest auf die Wiesn
Having never been to anything like this before, I can confidently describe it using the following adjectives: wild, rowdy, boozy, heart-warming. Linguists: if anyone is confused about grammar and spelling of Wiesn or Wies’n or Maß or Maas then find the facts here.
We did a lot of dancing on the tables, spilling beer, singing and befriending strangers. I loved wearing a Fräulein Trentini Dirndl and feeling confident I was wearing something tradition and of high quality. There were some beautiful girls who really did it well – they wore great Dirndls, were elegant and had tumbling curls. No idea if they managed to sink 3 maß or not; I found myself light headed after the first 0,7 litre.
As the evening goes on, people stand on the benches and start singing, the highlights of Oktoberfest are clinking Maß glasses and everyone getting very merry, being nice to each other. I met some really funny people, who held onto you if the row behind were a bit rowdy and pushed you over and others who asked the table if they wanted beers and got the waiters’ attention.
The food here is exceptionally good, the waiters also miraculously float past the huge crowds of drunk people carrying unto 6 plates on a huge tray which they carry on their shoulders.
There are huge doughy Brezeln (pretzel is a feminine noun), Schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle), Käsespätzle (like Mac&cheese to be fair), Kaiserschmarrn (scrambled pancakes with apple mousse and raisins), and das Hendl (roast butter & parsley chicken). I think if I go next year I will just sit outside when the weather is good, with a nice group of friends and try different things of the menu.
Uncool things at Oktoberfest
There are good and bad sides to everything: the same goes for Oktoberfest. I already discussed the highlights of Oktoberfest which, in my opinion, outweigh the negatives, but it is still important to mention the bad sides because nothing in life is rosy.
Firstly, the most obvious thing is that the overall experience is an expensive one. I didn’t expect otherwise, having been to Munich and Paris before. The beer is 10,95 EUR this year, and you have to tip (goes without saying, their work must be really exhausting) so it ends up being 12-14 EUR per drink. I often found I would go out with 60EUR or so and somehow it would disappear within 20 minutes. Sort of gives London a run for its’ money.
However, the beer does taste good. I was in the Paulaner tent, the Hacker-Pschorr tent with the really nice roof (Im Himmel Der Bayern), and Augustina tents. Although if you were unlucky you’d get 0,7 litres instead of 1 litre beer. Where is the rest of it? Same with the food – portions vary.
Anyone who has ever been will understand the exhaustion you must expect in order to keep up: you have to arrive early to ensure you get a table. Drinking at such an early hour is fine for some cultures (I’m looking at you, Berliners), but for others it is simply out of the question.
The fact they don’t let you leave the tent – even just for a bit.
Not only is it really hard to get a table unless you’re up very early or have a whole load of cash, once the tents are full you are unable to leave the tent. If you do, your beer is gone and you most certainly won’t be able to re-enter, not really a highlight of Oktoberfest.
All in all, the highlights of Oktoberfest really do outweigh the negatives, which means I really do truly recommend going to Munich one year to see it for yourself. You don’t have to get involved in the Festzelt which is Hacker-Pschorr and you can take it easy (just eat and drink all day in the sun).
Did you avoid Oktoberfest this year to do more cultural things? Or did you get stuck in there? Let me know what you think on Facebook!