Day 11: We took our chances and flew Ryanair to Munich - super easy as long as you read everything thoroughly. The people weren't the most friendly, but it's to be expected for a $30 flight.
Munich Wins the Award For: Best Party, Most Modern
What a refreshing change of pace! I would say Germany is the most similar to the United States in terms of technology. Riding the train was a breeze (once we figured out how to buy tickets!) and I wasn't scared for my life on it like in Budapest. We started our time in Munich with a trip to Hofbrauhaus. This is one of Munich's oldest breweries and one of 6 that is allowed to serve beer at Oktoberfest.
Sausage sampler with sauerkraut - MMM!
Pretzels of course!
This beer hall was crazy - it gave us a little taste of what Oktoberfest would be like. We had some delicious sausage and pretzels here as well. Later, we would purchase pretzels that were the size of our heads!
Day 13: OKTOBERFEST! One of the craziest days of my life. It's taken some will power to even be able to recant this...
6:00am - We started the morning early so we could get in line for the unreserved spots in the tent.
7:30am - Waiting in line for the Hacker Festzelt tent with literally hundreds of people. It started to rain, of course! The girls in front of us proceed to take some kind of pills washed down with straight vodka. We are wondering what the European version of 911 is...
9:00am - The security guards roll in - holding people back by force as they attempt to get into the now-open tent. The crowd is aggressively pushed forwards - I don't know if my feet are even on the ground.
9:05am - We squeeze past the security guards (except for John, who gets left behind).
John is in the tan behind the burly security guards...
9:10am - John gets in and the doors open. People are madly running to get a spot at an unreserved table. Jason spots a guy on his phone with an open table and sits down and steals it from him...SUCCESS! We also find John's A&M MBA friends who are also in town for Oktoberfest.
We are in Himmel der Bayern (Heaven of the Bavarians), so the tent looks like a beautiful sky.
10:00am - Eat some kind of delicious baked potato soup.
11:00am - We are asked to "fill up" our table (it seats 12), so we were joined by a group of really nice Australian guys - including THOR! You can judge, but we thought he could have been his brother.
11:30am - The parade arrives! The owners of the tent are ushered in by a full band.
12:00pm - The keg is tapped and we can FINALLY start the party!
12:15pm - Our first beers of the day arrive...the waitress carries 5 in each hand. PROST!
Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gemutlichkeit!
After that, the day became crazier and crazier! We had a great time learning traditional Bavarian drinking songs and dancing on the benches. I would definitely get reservations if I ever go again...and maybe not go on the first day. All in all, it was a TON of fun and definitely one of the most memorable parts of our trip.
After we had had enough craziness, we went back for a nap and grabbed a quick bite to eat. This is where we parted ways with our amazing travel companions. John and Mallory headed back to Paris the next morning and we made our way to the last stop on our trip.
I honestly wish we had more time in Munich - I loved Bavarian culture and it was great embracing my German roots. I definitely see where my family's love of pretzels and sauerkraut comes from! Germany (along with Switzerland) would probably be my first choice of places to revisit in the future.
If anyone is thinking about going to Oktoberfest in the future (it should definitely be on your bucket list), let me know! I'd be happy to provide some of our tips/tricks for getting a seat in a tent, where to stay, and how to get around.
Last Stop: Prague, Czech Republic!