Yep. The biggest beer drinking festival of all time actually comes around every year!
It’s been around since 1810, when it was originally a celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.
Every September, Munich becomes a smorgasbord of locals and tourists for two weeks of beer-drinking festivities!
Wait, why is it called Oktoberfest then?
Well, back in the 19th century, it WAS in October. But the organisers moved it to September so visitors could enjoy the warmer weather outside in the gardens and fields.
The festival itself is actually a massive family-friendly carnival fun-fair with many giant tents, where the beer drinking takes place. Each tent is run by families or groups, sponsored by the big brands and local breweries.
Each tent is themed and fantastically decorated in its famous colours. What a spectacle, inside and out!
We had two days to soak it all in (beer and all). It’s amazing that with thousands of people filling these tents, everyone is so friendly and happy to share a table with strangers. But don’t worry. You wouldn’t be strangers for long!
We squeezed onto a table in the Augustiner-Festhalle; considered the friendliest of all and been around for fifteen years. We got chatting with some visitors from USA and Russia amongst others.
At Oktoberfest, beer comes in the traditional stein. Which holds 1 litre, or 2 pints (depending on where in the world you drink pints, that is…). And it’s true what they say. The beer certainly does taste better.
Lakshi is proud to say that she managed to drink a whole stein by herself!
What’s with the funny clothes?
Well, everyone is wearing the traditional Bavarian outfits.
Andrew wears a checkered button-up shirt with leather Lederhosen shorts with suspenders, topped off with a vest and Alpine felt hat (with a cute feather in it!).
Lakshi wears a Dirndl Bow, a coloured apron wrapped with a bow at the front; a bow on the left if you’re single, on the right if you’re taken (and in the middle if you’re a virgin, but let’s not go there…).
As the day goes on and the beer keeps flowing, there are plentiful options to satisfy the growing hunger. Each tent has their own special foods. Ours had the greatest roast chicken with chips OF ALL TIME!
Dozens of waiters dash between tables serving plates of great beer-accompanying meals (not the healthiest, but we’re drinking beer right?)
Every few minutes, a cheer would erupt from somewhere in the tent as some brave soul would stand up and skol his pint to the roaring delight of everyone around them.
We preferred to enjoy ours with our new friends.
As the sun came down, we ventured outside with our new group of drinking buddies to the lights and sounds of the carnival still pumping outside.
Don’t be tempted to hit the rides after a long day of drinking. Andrew failed miserably at a speedy travelator ride, while our new friend Sam flipped out altogether!
Oktoberfest 2014 was an amazing experience and a bucket list item, like it probably is for many people around the world.
After two days of great fun, we vowed to come back again soon.
And as they say in German; Prost! (Cheers!)
Visited 23rd & 24th September 2014.