Oktoberfest

Published by flag-ba Maja Kalinic — 3 years ago

Blog: Once in a lifetime
Tags: flag-de Erasmus blog Munich, Munich, Germany

Even though I wanted to continue my previous post by writing all this "useful" stuff you might need upon your arrival in a new city, I realised that I would just sound like an old grandma giving lectures about life and how this way is the best since I tried it.

I am pretty much sure that you will find your way in a new place, otherwise you would not apply for studying abroad; you will find your desired locations, things to do, shops to buy, etc.

Now, let us devote to something more interesting, I think, at least for me.

As you see, my title is Oktoberfest so in the next few lines I would share my personal experience about this event. It can be something completely different for somebody else’s so keep in mind that this is just seen through my eyes.

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In September, but it's called Oktoberfest, interesting!

So, as you all know, Oktoberfest is held every year in the Bavarian capital Munich; it starts in the second or third week in September and finishes in the first week of October. Again, I do not see why it is being called Oktoberfest and not Septemberfest (most of it is, after all, in September) but it seems that long time ago a German king, or maybe he was prince at that time, married a nice and wonderful queen whose name was Therese and the wedding took place in October together with the long festivity.

Later on, they kept the tradition honouring the king and the queen and that is how it all started. This is what locals have told me, so it might be the case it might not, however, sounds interesting. Additionally, because of the queen's name Therese, the place was called Theresienwiese (even today when you find yourself in Munich you will see road signs with this name pointing towards direction where the fest is being held.

The area is quite huge, very flat and nice to enjoy also in the rest of the year, when there are no tents nor other Oktoberfest equipment. Today, it is known as “Wiesn”, so if you find yourself attending one, you will hear very often: "Let us go to Wiesn", "Welcome to Wiesn " and so on.

Ok, this was a long explanation, I deviated from my own thought so much that I almost forgot what I was about to say, but let me keep up before I really forget.

Dress up like a Bavarian

So, if you are coming in winter semester you will be able to attend it and see for yourself how both Bavarians and foreigners celebrate this festivity. It is still more domestic people who attends this event, even though the number is counted in millions, but somehow they manage to outnumber the internationals.

Nevertheless, you will indeed feel like a part of one big, drunk family where members yell a lot. This means that you will need to get ready for it. After all, you do want to fit in the crowd and feel yourself like at home.

You can start with clothes, for example. You might have noticed or heard that there is a special type of clothes that it is being worn on these days, but even if you did not you will see random people walking around, wearing things like uniforms, during this festival time. So, in case you are a woman you will need to buy the so called "Dirndl". Do not ask me what does it mean or how it is being translated because I think nobody is translating it, everybody is using the original word. The same goes for man outfit and it is weirdly called "Lederhosen" (even though they wear more than just trousers).

Now that you know the names you might wish to look for it and buy it, which is pretty tricky, especially during the festival time. First, it is hard to find a fitting size and second, it is extremely expensive. As a student, for the first year of being Bavarian, you might try with some cheap versions bought on eBay (keep in mind to order it on time otherwise it will come for the next year), or even some used which you can find on local advertisement portal called eBay.

Either way, try not to spend more than twenty euros on it since you are going to use it only that time and it is possible that it might be destroyed in the crowd. Just as an information, the new, fancy and original one cost more than three hundred euros, but I think you can manage with these alternatives as well (I did surely and I paid mine only five euros).

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Beer, beer, beer

Here are some interesting things that I have heard from locals. If they lied to me I am lying here as well, so do not get upset with me on this one. After all, I suppose you want to know what is being offered there and if it makes sense to spend about ten euros on one beer.

It is up to you to make a choice, since I've already mentioned beer and price, that is something worth spending money on (even though it is pretty much expensive, especially for those who are coming from the countries where the beer costs less than one euro). But, in their defence, this is the specially brewed beer, under specific standards and not all breweries have the ability to sell their beer here, just exceptional ones. Beer is way stronger than regular one so you will not be needing much to get really drunk, and in some point wasted, actually.

You can find food everywhere, every tent has it and it is not that expensive as usually on the streets in Munich, maybe a bit more, but after two beers you cannot actually distinguish it so put some money in your pocket, but do not carry all of it, otherwise tomorrow morning you will wish you did not wake up.

Souvenirs

Festival is a great time for people to earn money, either if they work there as a waiter or waitress (I have heard that this is really a stressful and painful job but you earn on these three weeks more than in a couple of months). Many students work there as well, so if you have some skills you can apply but I would not advise you. After all, you came here to study and enjoy stuff, so maybe skip this as a job opportunity.

Ok, this was long sentence, I lost my thought almost, but let me continue it normally. So, the second way people earn is by selling souvenirs of different kinds which you can generally buy everywhere in Munich, so, if you want to surprise somebody at home with some gifts from Oktoberfest, be patient and buy it afterwards or in any souvenir shop in the city. It will still be from Munich but it will save you so much money (and nobody will know that you have cheated, except you of course).

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Lunapark...before drinking!

Additional stuff you might want to try are all this cool and crazy amusement stuff that you might encounter at almost every festival. I think I tried something called "Cyberspace" but that was after I drank two of these special beers, so it is not much that I remember.

This leads me to a second thing I wanted to tell you: you should try this amusement park stuff before drinking and eating (if you really like them) and then go to tents or food places to consume something. It is just more wisely, that is all what I will say.

Opening hours

What is good with this event is that it starts quite early in the morning, around 10 am I think: if you do not like crowds and you would still be glad to visit it that is maybe the best time for you. For those who prefer nights, it is open until 11pm, longest until midnight, so keep it in mind when you will arrive.

Very often, due to the crowd, you will not be able to find a spot under the tents, it is just impossible. Also, try not to bring too many stuff with you and accessories that you can easily lose. Even though there is a lost and found counter, it is better to keep valuable stuff in a safe place. And be aware not to move away from those you came with, otherwise you will find yourself wondering around and spending time alone in the crowd.

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Einstein, really?

Oh yes, here it is something interesting I remember. Somebody told me that even Einstein worked at the Oktoberfest. Kill me if I know what, when and why but if you are interested there are tons of ways to explore it. You will excuse my ignorance but that was at the time I was on my second beer mug so it is enough that I remember that I was even there.

Apart from all the stuff I wrote here, there is something more in the air during this festival time. I do not know if it is just me who felt it like this, since I have not spoken with anybody about it afterwards, but I really liked that period and my stay in Munich.

Somehow the whole city got connected, everybody were just walking around in their Dirndl or Lederhosen, drinking beer, eating bretzel and half a meter bratwursts, having fun, laughing, saying "hi" to random people who they do not know. It appeared that people are just so overwhelmed with happiness and joy and I am so glad that I had a beginning like this in a new city.

So, if you happen to have enrolled the master in Munich and arrived here at this specific time, do not miss the chance to visit Oktoberfest, no matter if you like this type of fun or not. It is still something new, specific and worth to see. So, grab your outfit, wallet and a good mood and let's get the party started!

Certainly, cheers to that or even better prosit!


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