All summer long I sat in my home in the woods of Ashland and drank. Whether it was buying little mini kegs or 6 packs to cases I just drank and drank. This was all in preparation for my trip to Oktoberfest. Unfortunately there is no training montage where I am drinking to the Rocky "Eye of the Tiger" song but this trip was a long time coming.
Upon arriving in Munich Blake and I had gone strait to the crowed festival ground and wandered into a tent to down our first couple of Mass's (Mass = 1 liter). Accompanying that were massive ham legs with potatoes and giant pretzels.
Needless to say our stomachs were full with an assortment of things and we decided to go for a walk and come back later that night. After a short nap we trudged back to the tents around 4 and bunkered down in a packed tent. We sat down at a table where no one spoke English making the conversation difficult. However, the older women sitting at the table did take a liking to Blake and gave him plenty of attention. I don't want to say he was sexually assaulted but it was somewhere along those lines. Finally after a while that group left as more people began filtering in. An older guy sat across from us along with some Canadians who ended up being good company for the night. The older guy was good company for the fact that we was a dirty pervert and we got to watch and react in horror and amusement to him coming on to every women who would walk by.
As time wore on sooner or later most people end up standing on the benches and singing along with the band. All the tents house thousands of people with a band located somewhere in the center and with all those people singing and dancing around you it is electrifying. You can feel the energy of all the people and can't help but get up and sing along. They play some American songs but also some traditional German drinking songs which provides a good balance. With the German songs if you just scream loud enough and slur your words you can sound pretty German and are able to sing along. By the end of the night I had killed 6 masses not including the 2 we had in the morning. Needless to say that it was a good deal of beer consumed.
Blake and I met up with the five Australians from our tour of the castle later at night and grab a beer for the walk to the festival. There was Kate, Natalie, and Nick who knew each other from traveling together through a travel company tour called Contiki and than there was Karis and Chantelle who were Australian but had been living in London the last year. We got to the tents a little later than we would've liked so the party was already in full swing. As hard as it was to find a seat we had two things going for us: First there were plenty of older perverted German men and second we had four girls with us. We found enough room at a reserved table that some guys let us stand at. Despite being surrounded by some older guys who were dicks everyone else was really nice. The best way for me to describe how nice everyone at Oktoberfest was is to compare it to seeing your best friend that you haven't seen in years.
The night continued on for a while and we stayed in the tent for a while after they stopped serving beer and playing music. One of the things everyone tries to do at Oktoberfest is to steal a giant beer stein. The difficult part is trying to get through all there little security checkpoints. Luckily I had a superior intellect accompanied with quick wits to aide in my quest to steal a stein. To get through the first barrier I simply grabbed a stein and draped my coat over it while carrying another stein in the open as a decoy. This was a technique created and perfected by Blake. After getting stopped and handing the decoy over I walked away with the smug satisfaction of beating the system. Shortly after Blake and I got separated from out Aussie group when we tried and go to the bathroom. Since the tents had just closed there was a massive line for the bathrooms so there were a bunch of guys who found this little alcove to go to the bathroom which seemed like a perfectly good idea for Blake and I. However before releasing my bladder I saw a police officer come around the corner. Remember how I said in another entry that Germans can be inherently scary and intimating, in uniform and screaming at you seems to be a bit scarier. We were able to get out of there quick unlike some of the unfortunate who had already begun peeing. After waiting in line for the bathrooms like the rest of the law abiding citizens we decided to start heading back home. When we were about to leave the festival grounds Blake and I were gloating about our success in stealing steins and as if on queue a police officer who was monitoring the area out pointed us out to his associates and came towards us. I was able to make a quick turnabout and sneak away unlike Blake who froze and got his stein taken away. I just left a different exit and met back up with him across the street. After that fun night we decided to go to a bar to get a nightcap. It was a decent little bar with a mostly jubilant group of people. Feeling the need to go to the bathroom again I found where the bathroom was and did my business. This leads to my traveling tip: Evans Traveling Tip:
Don't get stuck in a bathroom with a Serbian who hates America.
Since the Serbian in the bathroom didn't speak good English but did just enough to understand that I was American he went on to simulate me bombing his people. Yes, talk about awkward. After that fun encounter Blake and I finished our beers and figured that to be a good spot to end the night.
Luckily for Blake and I we bumped into Kate, Natalie and Nick the next day near their hostel called the "Wombat" because since we had broken apart the previous night we weren't able to schedule a meeting time for this night. After meeting back up with them at the Wombat that night we headed back to Oktoberfest. Since it was a Friday night it was packed everywhere to the brim and most areas required that you had a special ticket or reserved a table. There is an outer layer to each tent where there are tons of benches for people to drink as well so we decided to just get a table there. It ended up being a great decision as most of the people around in these tables were also foreigners about our age who didn't have the foresight to reserve a table. This led to what I think was one of the most fun nights as everyone was really friendly and outgoing.
We were able to get great service from our beer guy George since we gave him decent tips. Often there can be a lag in getting a beer as they are so busy and have to juggle a lot of tables. This was just a night where you just laugh, smile and sing all night. When we got all finished there we decided it would be best to go do the big drop ride. It essentially does as it sounds and just drops you up and down at unexpected intervals. When we left the tents this night we had no trouble just walking away with our steins which was a plus since we wanted something to drink as we wandered the fairgrounds. When we got to the ride we stashed our steins away in various hiding spots and got in line. We got great seats on the ride that face the entire fairgrounds so you could get the best view. I
never understood why at Oktoberfest they mixed excessive drinking with typical rides that would make a sober person nauseous but after that ride I can completely understand. I was laughing soo hard tears were just streaming down my face and I would have loved to take pictures of the view and us on it but I was terrified that my drunk ass would drop the camera. After the ride we decided to leave and go to the bar that is in their hostel. This time I was walking out of the fairgrounds with another stein under my jacket while others were far more casual and openly drinking the remaining beer in theirs. Across the street a police officer came chasing me down and asking for my stein under my jacket. I tried to use big English words to confuse him but it surprisingly didn't work. We spent a while at the Wombat bar before calling it a night. Blake had gone home early to crash and I stayed around long enough to get all their info to be able to add them to facebook. Luckily for me when I got back to my hostel Blake had passed out and wouldn't wake up to open the door so I got the hotel guy to come open it where sleep was waiting to embrace me as well.
It's really hard to summarize and explain the environment of the Oktoberfest. It is just so many feelings that you wouldn't experience anywhere else and I don't fee like I could properly describe them in this blog. But in the end I was so tired after my journey home the next night that it took me quite some time to sum up my adventures in Germany. It ended up being three nights of beer filled bliss. I had a great time and felt going in to it that it would be a once in a life time experience. It ended up surpassing those expectations since I had so much fun I hope to go back there again someday.
*This is the entry about Oktoberfest but if you are interested in reading about the rest of my trip in Munich check the previous entry*