On Saturday, September 17th, 2016 I took a blablacar (ridesharing with someone who’s already going in a certain direction for a cheap, cheap, cheap price) from Heidelberg to Munich for Oktoberfest. Opening day was the 17th and I wasn’t about to miss it (plus I had a place booked already and I didn’t want to let it go to waste). Nothing in the world could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. Not parties, not college, not bars, NOTHING! But first, let me tell you about my introduction to Munich as it’s a love-hate relationship.
When I left Heidelberg, it was beautiful out. Not too hot, not too cold with a slight breeze. When I arrived in Munich, it was significantly colder with a steady downpour as my welcoming party. On the plus side, that meant less clothes in my bag and more on my back. On the downside, it’s a horrid experience to find your way around a city in the rain with a 50 lb bag on your back.
Here’s what happened:
I arrived near the central station because when I had googled the address earlier in the day (In Der Kirschen 30) google mistook it for simply Kirschen 30. Which was great because they’re 45 minutes apart WITH a bus... So after walking to that address and finding that it was residential and NOT a hostel called “The Tent”, I briskly walked to a nearby bus stop just to get out of the rain and see where I’m actually supposed to be going. Once done, I walked BACK to where I had started near the central station where lo and behold, a tram was just about to leave in the exact direction that I was headed. So I jumped on and went one stop too far, and had to walk a bit further back (still in the rain) to where I was staying. Somewhere in this mess, I found a store and bought some lederhosen for the celebration. Because
Bavaria and yeah, why not?! Then, and it gets better. I got dressed and left for a tent (what they call the huge buildings where Oktoberfest happens) where I was trying meet up with a couple and their friends. The problem was that they had been drinking for a few hours already and weren’t sure which building they were in. And I was in the rain where the lines just to get in were 50-60 people EASILY. For each building! And they weren’t moving because people could only go in when others left and nobody was leaving. Needless to say, after 2 hours of this I was fairly unhappy and ready to just give it up and try again the next day. At that moment, luck struck. Dinner was starting in the tent where they were, so they were kicked out, giving us a chance to meet up somewhere less confusing. Which we did… within minutes.
(Did I mention that whatsapp can be a huge pain in the ass if you have slow internet? Because it can.)
Back to the story, once we had met up, we quickly got into a tent and amazingness ensued. There was loud (and live) music, there were people dancing on tables and benches, there were massive mugs of beer everywhere with the sound of “Prost!” and clinking glass ringing like bells. People from every country were there, drinking together, socializing, singing “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, and forgetting the tensions that divide so many people. The people I walked in with are amazing and the people I left with (Germans) were equally amazing. I don’t know how to explain it. So much culture, history, joy and comradery. It was amazing. And then I went again the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that.
If you (whoever you are) have the chance to go to Oktoberfest, DO IT! It’s not just about the drinking. It’s the comradery, the patriotism, the feeling that we are all one people in this world and that for this one month, we’re aware of that! It’s so difficult to explain, but between the people that I met from all over the world, the things that I saw, what we did, and how everything just… meshed? It was pure perfection.
360° photos of Oktoberfest can be found... HERE