Hello! My name is Paulina and I am the girl in the center of the photo. To my Left is Molly and right is Ally. I mainly wrote this for me. I notice the stories you repeat are the ones you remember the best. Also this is a good way to backup my favorite pictures. Lastly, I remember reading so many other travel blogs in preparation for my trip so if anyone is reading this to prep for their own trip to Oktoberfest, I hope this kinda helps. Our trip consisted of eight days, four days in Germany, four in Prague, Czech Republic, and a long layover in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is all our Germany half of the trip.
Day 1: Frankfurt Germany
Our taxi from the airport brought us through a pretty city with skyscrapers mixed with old churches and bridges. We barely dropped our stuff off at the hotel before we were back out to explore. We yelped some authentic German food and ended up at Atschel. The restaurant had your traditional Schnitzel, pork knuckles and all you’d expect from a German Restaurant. They also made their own apple wine which was interesting. A lot of restaurants are cash only which caught us all by surprise. The owners were super nice and let us leave to get cash! That is real trust! We definitely came back and paid, but I never heard of anything like that. Next, we walked along the river, enjoying the city and stopping at a riverside bar/night club, for drinks.
Day 2: Exploring Munich
The next morning we woke up at 5 am to catch our train. I loved this train ride through the country side. The seats had table and cushy seats facing each other… then the lady who reserved those seats kicked us out and we sat on cushy seats without a table. A few hours later, we arrived in Munich and instantly went to find dirndls for Oktoberfest. We knew we wanted this to be our main souvenir from the trip and were willing to splurge a little. Mind you they range in prices all the way to a few hundred dollars. Fortunately, a nearby second hand store was selling new Kruger dirndls for discount. I think the ones we bought were new but old styles? And we each paid around $150-$200. We were glad we did too since hardly anyone showed up without the traditional attire!
Hotels in Munich for Oktoberfest are obviously expensive and book fast. Me and my friends took a gamble and booked the well reviewed “Tent”. We took a cab from the train station and it took us to woods at the end of a road. From there, we walked a little and were pleasantly surprised. The tents were huge with heaters and bunk beds. We checked in and the girl gave us blankets, an incredible little folding map, and explained the house rules. We bought locks to lock up our bags while we were out and set up our bunks. The campground had three large tents for campers, two cabins with food for sale, wifi and lounges, a building with super clean restrooms and showers with individual stalls and a long vanity with mirrors for all us girls and our makeup. There was also a campfire and seating everywhere and lastly spots for people to bring their own tents. The weather was hot but it was drizzly and got very cold late at night. I am happy we were in a heated tent!
We followed our folding map to the closest attraction, the Nyphenburg Palace. I can’t honestly say if this was free or not because we just walked in and no one stopped us. The palace’s best feature was the beautiful gardens with fountains and walking trails throughout. There is even an amazing stone church with elaborate carvings that resembled barnacle shaped like flowers. I wish I could have taken better pictures inside but here we were asked for tickets which made us question the free-ness of this attraction.
Next, we walk miles to the Munich center, stopping along the way for some spaghetti ice cream. We marveled at the Munich town hall and patiently waited for the clock tower figures to move… and they never did. Maybe we could have looked up the schedule before hand. By the end of the day we had walked 13 miles total.
Day 3: Oktoberfest!
We woke up early for day one of Oktoberfest. Signs around the campsite said “wear close toed shoes for broken glass”. There were maps to Oktoberfest with the caveat “just follow the crowd”, and what I appreciated was security/rendezvous points in case you were being bothered or got separated from your group. We followed the crowd onto the metro which dropped us off about a ten minute walk from Oktoberfest. We arrived just as it opened and took a look at all the incredible beer houses. Each one was very different from the next. We did a complete walk around the site looking at the beer houses, souvenir stands, carnival rides, fun houses and the giant statue of Bavaria.
Soon we settled for the Marstall beer hall. We found out later that young people don’t particularly like this tent since it plays traditional German music and draws a more mature crowd. We loved it. The tent had a stage shaped like a carousel with a live band playing traditional German music.
The first day of Oktoberfest opens at 9 am but the beer doesn’t start flowing until the mayor comes through in a parade and taps the first keg at noon. We were fortunate to be seated by 10 and ordered a huge pretzel to keep us going till noon. I suppose each tent has someone special tap the first keg. Everyone went wild when an older man in lederhosen went up to the stage at our tent. We asked the family next to us who it was and they said “you don’t know? That’s your GOVERNOR!”. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were lucky enough to be 20 ft away from the Terminator himself tapping our keg at Oktoberfest 2018!
He tapped the keg and these lovely German waitresses in dirndls came carrying at least a dozen full mugs of beer a piece! I could hardly hold all three of ours and these girls were walking with one in each hand pressing together two rows of beer taking up their entire wingspan.
In ten minutes, every person in the tent had a beer in front of them. I still wish I had bought the Marstall beer mug with is rainbow unicorn logo! The family next to us taught us the German drinking song that played every few minutes. Two giant beer mugs later, we felt like slowing down… and were promptly asked to leave! If there’s no beer in front of you, its time to make room for other people. So we decided to check out another tent. I can’t decide if this next experience was enjoyable or not!
From our first recon walk around the festival, Molly thought a cute tent near the Bavaria Statue would be fun. The line outside looked kinda short too so we lined up… FOR HOURS! The tents are strict that you need to be seated so they don’t open doors until people leave. We stood in line next to these two German girls, an older man, and behind an obnoxious group of tall pretty girls. A girl came from the sidelines (after all of us had been waiting at least an hour in the sun) and tried to cut the line to join the group of loud obnoxious girls. The line was NOT having it! It was subtle at first, all of us trying to block the girl from cutting, then physically linking arms to keep her from cutting and finally the older man blocked her way and told her to get in the back of the line. When she still refused all hell broke loose! “Go away”, “shame on you”, “go to the back” rung out in every direction until the girl finally gave up on the tent altogether.
At this point we are at hour 2 and pressed up against the door. The security accidentally opened the door and we were pushed through the bottleneck with surprising force. The crowd pushed us through to a patio like bar and…. yet another door with security on the other side. The guard repeatedly shook his head as if to say “I will NEVER let you in”. Us three, the two German Girls and a British man found ourselves pressed against the glass desperate to get in. As more people came, we were getting crushed! My arm hurt from bracing against the door to keep people off me! I am also 5ft2 ish (short) and a German Amazon (5ft 10 at least) girl behind me was actually RESTING HER CHIN ON MY HEAD!!! I figured I would make her equally uncomfortable and completely lean back onto her…. she could care less and eventually I resorted to elbows, kicks, backwards head buts… but this girl was not moving! Just when I thought my arm would snap, the British man swapped places with me so I could rest in the corner and he would hold back the mob. The German girls explained this was the most popular tent for younger people because it played “good music”. So all six of us watched through the glass as security made no effort to let anyone in. For yet another hour we waited. Fortunately, we were provided some entertainment. A teenage couple was having a heartbreaking argument on the other side of the glass. We couldn’t hear so we made up our own commentary. We cheered when the upset girl made yelling motions…. booed when the young man made wooing gestures, and Awww’d when they kissed and made up. All this time the British man is laughing hysterically at us. Once the couple left, I gave up. We slipped out of the mob and decide to walk around the patio level which still served beer. Hindsight is 20/20… as soon as we left the mosh pit we realized it was no more than 30 people crammed around the door and for some reason the back was pushing the whole crowd into the door as if that would help. The mob was entirely unnecessary!
Day 4: Neuschwanstein (Cinderella) Castle and more Oktoberfest
The handy tourist map we were given at the Tent let us know we weren’t too far from the heavily Instagrammed Neuschwanstein Castle. However, public transportation would eat up our whole day so instead, we gathered our stuff, checked out of the Tent and headed to the train station to rent a car. The scenery was gorgeous! We were all tempted to stop at a lavender field or small markets on the way. When we finally got to the base of the castle, we were disappointed to hear we couldn’t get tickets until afternoon. While we waited, we had some lunch and explored the beautiful Alpsee lake. I regret not bringing a swimsuit because it was so comfortable being in the cool lake on the hot day.
We began our hike up the mountain to the castle. The tour didn’t allow photography but I still enjoyed it. The tour guide had a great deadpan humor at the expense of King Ludwig II. The castle was built in 1882 along with two other castles. The gems were fake, many rooms were unfinished and the king had exhausted a lot of his money in the constructions. Nonetheless the painting and woodwork were amazing.
On our drive back, we formulated a TERRIBLE plan to get a few more hours out of Oktoberfest . Instead of parking the rental, or renting lockers at the train station, we decided to park our car in the return lot and leave our luggage there. We figured we would be able to get right back grab our stuff and catch our bus to Prague. It was also very rainy.
When we got to Oktoberfest, the first few tents weren’t letting anyone in. We lucked out with the Hofbrau Tent and immediately got in. There was a cover band playing 90’s songs and we tried radners (sickenly sweet lemonade beer) and sang along on top of tables (no, we were not THOSE girls, EVERYONE was on a table).
Unfortunately, Oktoberfest does close in order to clean up the horrible mess of beer everywhere. We had a good amount of time to get back to our rental, drop off our keys and find the bus stop… or so we thought.
The rental garage was gated shut! We panicked a little, tried multiple doors, all locked. I found a number to call and encountered the first person in Germany who doesn’t speak English well, so I passed the phone to Molly who took German in high school… only to have the phone taken by Ally (the only calm person in this situation) who suddenly breaks out in fluent German! A man comes out of the garage and lets us in to get the bags we “forgot”. By this time we are so late to check in to our bus that we are sprinting in the rain to get to our bus to Prague. The tickets sounded like the bus stop was right outside the train station, but it was nowhere to be found. I must pull a very good scared tourist face because a police officer stopped mid-arrest to give me directions. He said the train stop was blocks away! So we ran in the rain with our luggage for blocks asking strangers along the way if we were going the right way. Finally, we got to the bus stop with Molly in sheer panic, me concerned but okay with just buying another bus ticket, and Ally only mildly concerned. Molly assumed our bus must be leaving soon and ran off to find it while Ally and I asked each bus where it was going. One driver laughs in our face and we realize the bus sign says PRAGUE in big letters. Exhausted, soaking wet in lace up dresses we finally get on our five hour bus to Prague!
Thanks for reading! Here’s more pictures: