Saturday, 16 February 2013

Germany: Prost to Oktoberfest!!!

Now where do you find a place overflowing with beer, giant pretzels, beer, hearty food and more beer? Where else but at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Or as the locals call it "The Wiesn" after the name of the fairgrounds where it is held every year. 

For a little over two weeks of each year from late September until the first Sunday of October, an open field in Munich called the Theresienwiese is transformed into a place of colossal beer worship. Or as the big K jokingly calls it, Disneyland for drunks.




The big K and I were in Munich on the final leg of our Romantic Road tour in Germany. And no, it's not because we were googly eyeing each other but there really is a Romantic Road in Germany, but that's another story.

What started out as a royal wedding bash way back in 1810 has turned into a yearly celebration that has been replicated all over the world. The big K and I were lucky as our visit coincided with the 200th year of Oktoberfest.


The beer festival takes on an amusement park-like atmosphere complete with rides and food stalls galore! 
They start them young here. We didn't have field trips like this when we were in school.

When our good friend mentioned that there will be beer tents set up all over the fairgrounds, we were thinking of the regular run of the mill canvas tents with seating for 30 or perhaps 50 beer drinkers. Oh boy! Were we ever so wrong. Scroll down and you'll see what I mean.

The  Löwenbräu beer tent.
The Augustiner Brau tent is a family-friendly tent that gives special low prices during "Kids Day" on the Tuesdays of the Wiesn.
The Hacker-Festzelt tent. 
The Armbrustschützen tent.
The Schottenhamel Beer tent is the biggest beer tent in the Oktoberfest, big enough to seat 10,000 (TEN THOUSAND!). It is also the most important tent as this is where the Mayor of Munich taps the first keg of beer with the following words "O zapft is!" (It is tapped) to start the festival. 
The Hofbräu Beer tent.

If you plan to come on the weekends or at night be sure to reserve your table in advance as the tents fill up easily especially the popular ones just like in this picture. And to think that this was at 12 noon! 
An Oktoberfest beer tent is not complete without the lively entertainment brought by the traditional Oompah band.
Talk about some serious heavy weight lifting!
The beers are served in one-liter steins or Maß (pronounced as mass), the Bavarian word for a mug of beer. An average of 7 million liters of beer are consumed during the two week festival!
Big serving of roast pork with Kartoffelklöße or potato dumplings that the big K and I shared. We also shared the beer. We were obviously not in the same drinking league as our German counterparts. 
Here come the horses!
Traditional horse drawn beer wagons of the different breweries included in the Oktoberfest are paraded around Munich.
The big K and I enjoyed seeing locals all dressed up in the traditional Bavarian costumes, Lederhosen (leather breeches) for the gents and the Dirndl for the ladies. 
Of course, there were the smaller tents that served traditional Bavarian fare. 
The Cafe Kaiserschmarrn serves coffee, cakes and pastries.
Kalbs-Kuchl serves all kinds of veal dishes.
While the Ochsenbraterei serves oxen based fare. 
Sweets for my sweet.
I don't think I passed the sobriety test. Good thing our hotel was just a short U-Bahn ride away. 


How to get here:

Oktoberfest Website

Where we stayed:

Motel One Munchen-Sendlinger Tor

Hotel Cocoon Sendlinger Tor