Our newest adventure started off in Munich for the Christmas markets. Munich is definitely in the Christmas spirit with gluwein, bratwurst, roasted nuts, crib scene figures for sale, and the stores all decorated for the holidays! Did I mention that the weather was cold and wet? No snow in sight in the city but we were told the mountains have enough snow for skiing.
Tag Archive: Munich
We had so much fun last year in Munich at Oktoberfest that we wanted to go back this year and Bettina from Heidelberg agreed to get the table reservation. We couldn’t convince anyone else from Fort Collins to come along but Jutta from Essen, Germany, met us there. (We met Jutta in Tanzania at dinner one night before our safari and kept in touch.)
To reserve a table, you have to reserve the full table of 10. The reservations are free but you have to buy coupons for 2 beers and a chicken for each of 10 people. We were at the Pshorr Braurosl. Besides us and Jutta, Bettina and Michelle came down from Heidelberg, making 5 at the table. Four “students” joined us from Cal State – Fullerton. The “students” are not students any more. They’ve all graduated and pay their own bills. One has a Mom who works at Fullerton with exchange programs which is where the connection comes in. I think they had fun! They danced on the benches, anyway, and enjoyed the chicken and drank the beer.
We’ve already made a reservation at Hotel Uhland for next year for 3 nights. (It’s cancellable.) We love this hotel! Susan stayed there in 1982 on a trip to Munich. It’s about 2 blocks to the Oktoberfest entrance, nice people, good breakfast, and a dog to pet. This year we met Eddie, a big fluffy dog who leans to get more pets.
If you’re interested in going to Oktoberfest, think about going the first week before it gets crazy; avoid weekends, and book a table for an afternoon session which is 11:30 – 4:30. Afternoons are way calmer and much quieter. Of course, it helps to have a German speaking person to try to get a table. If there aren’t many people in your group, you can usually find some seats by just walking in. We (2 of us) had no trouble finding seats at Marstall tent one afternoon.
After the tent and beer, it was game and ride time! Oktoberfest is like a REALLY big fair with lots of rides, including upside down, spinning rides. Why anyone wants to ride the upside-down ones after a beer or two is beyond me. Mark rode two rides with Bettina and Jutta, Mark and Susan rode a small roller coaster.
Mark and I did some sightseeing in Munich before Oktoberfest. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies!
On the way back to the Hotel Uhland, Mark asked two guys if they needed directions since the guys stopped at a corner to discuss the map on their phone. One guy said “This is good. We have an American guy telling two German guys how to find Oktoberfest!” Yes, they needed directions at the messy intersection.
Germans think it’s a good idea to let people shoot fake guns after consuming large quantities of alcohol.
- This is Mark’s version of Oktoberfest – I haven’t read Susan’s account. This will be fun to see how we match up on our stories!
- Most of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
- You will see duplicate photos from Susan’s version – she used mine
Mark’s abridged version of Oktoberfest
Drink, drink, drink, eat a chicken; drink, drink, play carnival games; drink, drink, eat a brat, go to bed
Mark’s full version of Oktoberfest
I knew this day wouldn’t be like any other day in Munich – it was sunny! We had pretty much a week of cold and damp weather before Thursday when our Oktoberfest reservations rolled around. Susan and I went over early to the Oktoberfest grounds (no, not to drink) to buy a souvenir stein that our lovely German friends were gracious enough to take back to Heidelberg for us. We will recover it, along with some clothes we leave in Heidelberg, next summer sometime. We, along with the girl selling the stein, about had a heart attack, when the opening bell screeched at 10 a.m. to announce that the grounds were officially open!
We had a reservation for 30 people at the Pschorr Braurosl tent. Due to unforeseen issues, some people couldn’t make it. We had 22 people at our 3 tables – 15 Americans and 7 Germans. That meant we had an additional 8 * 2 = 16 beer tickets to use. We wondered if they would go to waste but any guesses if they went to waste? We added a couple of extra people the night before at Schneider Weiss, Dan & Debbie from Minnesota, to join us at Oktoberfest. It was easy to pick them up, we just mentioned beer! OK, they are friends of Chris and Janet and we knew they’d join us but they were new to our group.
We (the Americans) arrived at the tent at 11:30 and found our table with no problem. The only issue we ran into that day was our 3 tables were spilt between 2 waitresses. One waitress had 2 tables and the other waitress had 1 table. John committed a mortal sin and ordered his first beer from waitress number 1 and his second beer from waitress number 2. John was summarily berated, spanked, and given a wedgie by waitress #1. OK, I am a bit foggy on the wedgie. We were then told to order only from the table where you ordered your first beer. Fear of the wedgie, we didn’t make the same mistake as John.
Our German friends, led by Bettina, made it to the tent around 11:45. What took them so long? They had been in the Lowenbrau tent queuing up! The roar of the Lion was the giveaway they were in the wrong tent. At 11:30, BTW, the drinking hadn’t started! Not for us at least, but maybe the Germans started early!?! If you are keeping score, it’s Americans 1 – Germans 0.
Being the afternoon session, the tent starts off quiet and is not very crowded. As the afternoon wore on, the tent started to get busier and noisier. People in our group moved around to different tables so people had a chance to speak with everyone during the session and spend time with each other. No fights started in the tent, so that was good.
As the session got later in the afternoon, people started ordering their chickens (Remember, you get a ½ chicken with your voucher). Here’s how they cook all those chickens. This was one of maybe 6 stations that just cooked chickens.
People also consumed more beer as the day progressed – shocker. The operation to clean, fill, and serve the beer is impressive. Again, this was just one of several stations in the tent.
Where would we be without the vendors? People came by, selling pretzels, hats, t-shirts, snuff, and desserts. At some point Justin decided he need a Chicken hat and, yes, the legs do move! The hat made it around the table with plenty of photos. I believe I have a video of people wearing the hat and dancing. If I find it, I will post it! Justin also decided that I needed a traditional Bavarian hat, so he bought me a hat. The hat immediately made me more dashing and I immediately became fluent in German – “Ich kenne diese Leute nicht, sie haben mich einfach gebeten, mit ihnen zu sitzen. Es tat mir leid für sie, also sagte ich ja.”
Thanks, Justin, for the hat. I got a lot of compliments on the hat.
Franziska (Bettina’s daughter) bought some tobacco snuff and peppermint snuff; as they say, when in Rome…. I tried both and can attest both open your sinuses. I did have peppermint several more times that day from unknown Germans.
Fast forward to the end of the session … you can guess a lot of beer was consumed during the afternoon. Justin commented that he knew, now, how all the people we had seen over the last several nights who were passed out, were puking, or were so drunk they could barely stand could reach that state. He said “if you were at Oktoberfest from beginning to end, you could be pretty drunk”. Enough said.
The trumpeter played his song to conclude the session and at that point people scattered like cockroaches when the light comes on. We didn’t see most of our group until the next morning. We aren’t sure what happened. We ended up with our German friends and going to the carnival part of the Oktoberfest – great!
Here’s the list of games I played and the results (Remember, this is my memory of Oktoberfest).
Strongman Game (think sledgehammer and bell) – 3 attempts
- Swing and a miss – I had that hammer cocked over my head for a good 2 minutes (I swear) and the whole time I am thinking “Don’t miss the target. Don’t miss the target. Don’t miss the target – shit!”
- Rang that bell – I won a little horn.
- Not sure, I swear I hit the bell again.
Shooting game – yep, my comment at the beginning about Germans and shooting after drinking – I had 12 shots. These guns shoot BB’s, but haven’t they seen Christmas Story and the Red Rider BB gun?
- Summary – I hit pieces of the target, but instead of moving on to the next target, I just kept shooting at the same target until it shattered. If you’re confused about why I was confused about the rules of the game, read the part above about drinking for 5½ hours. That said, I hit 10 at least parts of 10 of 12, if that counts.
Franziska did the Strongman Game and hit the bell 3 times in a row! I think she even knocked the bell off on her third try. Her and her dad, Hermann, blasted most of the targets. BTW, they showed up later than everyone else to the Pschorr-Braurosl tent so they had an unfair advantage on me.
I’ll give this round to the Germans. Americans 1 – Germans 1
After games of chance our German friends did some “traditional German rides”. One was for 2 people where you stood in the cage and tried to get the cage to go in a circle. They also rode a ride that went in circles; see my FAQ page about vomit-inducing rides.
I rode one “traditional German” ride. The only way to describe it is spinning top, upside down, without the point. The object is spin around and try to stay on as long as possible. The announcer called for people 45 and over to do the ride. Bettina and I both rode it. I didn’t win that one, but didn’t vomit either. So, a win in my book!
Since everyone was getting a bit parched by this time, we all stopped at the Champagne booth to have a glass of bubbly. At that point our German friends left and we met up with John, Deanna, Hans, his cousin Mark, and Mark’s friends at a wine tent. The wine tents are much smaller than a beer tent. Weinzelt seats 2,500 people. We had the table until 8:30 and had a little wine.
At some point we got separated from Mark and his friends, but found them again at the Spaten tent around 9:00. Of course, we heard “Sweet Caroline” while we were there. The Spaten tent was fairly crowded and noisy. It was fun as we got to meet and talk with new German friends. We stayed there until it closed at 10:30. I bought a brat on the way back to the hotel and went to bed.
I must give Dave and Justin the award for Best spirit of Oktoberfest!
BTW, no beer tickets went unused.
I want to thank everyone who came to Oktoberfest to celebrate the start of our Around the World adventure. It means everything to us to have such good friends to celebrate with. Thank you again!
As Bettina says “same tent, same time next year”. Are you in!?!
Oktoberfest seemed to be a success for our gaggle of 21 people – 6 Germans and 15 Americans. If you don’t know, Oktoberfest is celebrated in Munich every year for 17-20 days and is a large party/fair for everyone who attends. We had reservations in the Pschorr Braurosl Tent, thanks to hard work by a German friend. Reservations are free but you must buy food and drink vouchers for 2 beers (Each beer is a liter.) and a half chicken for each person. You can order other food and “pay as you go”. Our reservation started at 11:30 AM on Thursday morning and we had the 3 tables until 4:30 PM. Let’s just say everyone enjoyed the food, drink, company, and German music. I lost count of the number of liters of beer that were consumed by our group. A few hats were purchased from the vendors, too.
Oktoberfest is not just a time to have a few beers and some food. Oktoberfest is also a big fair – sort of like the Iowa State Fair without the cows, pigs, and chickens. The rides included ones that go upside down, up high and around in circles. No one in our group tried any of them but the lines were long, including people who I’m sure were not really in any condition to spin or turn upside down.
Oktoberfest has a post office set up for the event with its own cancellation stamp along with ATM machines since all purchases in the tents are cash only.
A few years ago we made a list of places to go and things to see. We kept the list and added to it as we went along and found new places we want to see. About a year ago, we got serious about retirement and started to put dates and seasons next to some of the “bucket list”. When is the Australian Open? When is the high season in the Maldives? The list got longer with more details and we refined it until we ended up with a broad outline of places to go and people to see. It helped to have lots of erasers and red pens nearby! The list evolved into a broad plan for Round the World Travel although we probably will do some some backtracking, we suspect!
Oktoberfest in Munich is the start of the trip in 2017 along with friends. We needed to know the exact date for 2017. Simple, right? You must be able to Google that. Not so much! We found several different dates and went to the source for the definitive answer – the Munich Tourism Board! They quickly answered my email with the real dates. Oktoberfest begins on September 19, 2017. The distribution list for folks who “say” they want to come was pretty long but the closer we got to October 2016 and having to make a firm decision, the list began to shrink. Final count – 18 people have committed to meeting in Munich for 5 days of beer tasting, schnitzel, and sausages. Most of us all staying together at the Hotel Uhland, a great little hotel only 2 blocks to the Oktoberfest grounds and near all the rest of the main sites in the city. Everyone is scattering after that – a few cruises, some road trips, a visit with relatives. We’ll spend some time with Mark and Vivian in Italy before they go home to Fort Collins. Then what will we do?? It’s a mystery until we hit the road for Africa.