Day 15 – Munich & Oktoberfest

The hostel arranged for everyone to meet at 7am to try and beat some of the crowds at Oktoberfest, so we decided to try and leave before that. We aimed for 6.30, but it ended up being 6.45. Trying to get 6 people ready that early is very time consuming. We arrived about 7.30, and lined up for one of the tents. We were waiting in line about an hour, then we were seated outside at a table. As soon as the doors opened at 9, it was chaos. Everyone just rushed inside trying to find a table. As it turns out, almost all of them were reserved, so most people ended up back outside. We had time to leisurely pick a table in a nice spot with heaters. 
One of my friends looked at reserving a table, but you need 20 people, and it does cost a few hundred euros. She also managed to pick up a dirndl (the women’s dress) cheaply at a flea market. I didn’t have one, so I just wore a tshirt and jeans. Yep pretty boring, but one day I’ll go again and properly dress up.
The women’s toilets were nearby in the tent, but the men’s were outside the tent area, so some guys were leaving and not being let back in. Make sure the security guards see you! Some tents had both women’s and men’s toilets inside, so it really depends where you go. All the ones I used were pretty clean, and were proper toilets, not portaloos.
We had to wait till 12 for the mayor to tap the first keg, before we could get any beer, but we could order food, water, a coke and fanta mix (delicious!), and a couple other non-alcoholic drinks. Other tents had coffee and different food menus. We started with giant pretzels, and tried roast chicken and sausages. At 12 they had a countdown and then suddenly waiters were bringing around massive armloads of steins and taking orders. You pay when you receive your beer and food. At our tent the beer was €10,25 for a litre, the others were similar or the same price. They start with mass orders of the standard beer, then come back later for more food and other drink orders. One of my friends ordered a radler, which is beer with lemon and lime, or like lemonade in NZ. It didn’t taste like beer at all, so if you’re less of a beer drinker than I am, you might like that.
We pretty much sat there all day, just drinking and eating and it was great. We made some friends from the US, Switzerland and Dusseldorf. The main thing is that you must be seated to be served, so getting in early can be good, but there are so many people, especially on the first day. 
We met a lot of New Zealanders and Australians, a few were staying at our hostel as well. The drinking culture is a big thing back home, not as laid back as it seems to be in Europe. We noticed a few people bandaged up, after falling off tables and down stairs. There is a first aid tent near the beer tents, and it’s marked by a big balloon, so it’s nice and easy to find if you need it.
We were back at the hostel by about 8pm and everyone was ready to sleep. Sitting down all day drinking and eating is a lot of work!

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