Friday, June 8, 2012

European Diaries - Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest! The Mecca for beer lovers. The conversion ground for non beer drinkers. The raison d'etre for our Euro Trip. There was no discussion about this. One of those unsaid and necessary things to do. Planning a trip becomes so easy when you have a stubborn goal in your head. Ours was Oktoberfest and it had to happen in 2011!

Rickshaws in Munich - as we walked towards Oktoberfest
For ignoramus, it is the world's biggest Beer Fest. Hosted every year in Munich in September (yes, not October!). Twenty one tents overflowing with smooth, delicious and different kinds of beer. There is a whole lot of drool-worthy food too. We reached there around 12 in the afternoon, and we could not believe the energy and the frenzy. We were probably the only sober ones there.

Entering Oktoberfest!
Inside Paulaner tent at 12 in the afternoon :)
The finger-lickin' food!
The moment we walked in, three very drunk (and may i mention very cute too :P) guys all dressed in traditional German attire (called lederhosen) swayed towards us and insisted we click their pic! We did click and they swayed away to some table, which probably wasn't even their own. :) But the excitement and the happiness is outright infectious.

The three drunk stooges :D
Every tent has a central podium where there are a set of musicians strumming out local folk music. People were standing on tables and singing in chorus, indifferent about the lyrics or the tune. We didn't understand the music, but we loved it nonetheless. Not the 'it will grow on you' sort of a love, but it was love at first sight!

All the singing on table tops :)
Beer in Oktoberfest is served in absolutely HUGE beer mugs. A mass of beer. That's what they call it. If you want those biceps (and triceps), lifting these mugs might be a fun way of doing that. Albeit, you might get a beer belly too, but it can't all be good eh?! :)

Our first mass of beer
And the biceps :D
We visited three tents, and Paulaner was our absolute favourite! So much so that we bought four massive beer mugs as souvenirs from that tent (and cursed our sanity later, while we had to carry those around!). We managed around two and a half masses of beer that day and got hopelessly tipsy on that much! I got a funny Obelix-like hat too, which I absolutely adore! :D

One down!

My Obelix hat! :)
There are some other vague memories of the hours spent there. At some point, there were these two men sitting at one of our tables who kept telling Sunshine that they can't believe she's hitched! :D  No, she is not by the way. Just in case you are wondering. Just that she wears a very visible ring on the wrong finger! It was quite hilarious. Quite a few anecdotes, but all that is worth mentioning is the omnipresent sense of happiness that surrounds the fest. Probably, that's why more than a million people visit those tents! Oh, if you thought that women are the weaker sex, think again! :D The ladies who served the beer were carrying 8 masses at a time! And that is no mean feat!

The ring men :D
We had read and heard about Oktoberfest ad infinitum and it still exceeded our expectations. By a huge stretch! It was beautiful and so warm. The energy levels were like nothing we had seen before. There were happy people all around. Life seemed limited to just that day. That moment. That beautiful mass of beer. Those friends and their smiles.

We did not get a place to stay in Munich. So, after a utopian day, we headed to Salzburg (around 2 hours away) for shelter. The Euro trip was inching to an end, and we were becoming painfully aware of the fact. Office and other mundane things seemed like another era altogether. Anyway, my two cents for Oktoberfest. Go here! Not for the beer, but just to see a whole lot of joy. Well, maybe the beer too. :)   Go on a weekday so that you get a seat and get to enjoy the fest, instead of just jostling with the crowd. And when you drink that mass of beer in the Paulaner tent, think of me. :)

Our favourite beer tent :)


  1. Thank you for the wonderful virtual Oktoberfest!!


    1. Thanks for reading :) You must go for the real experience!

  2. I've been hearing and seeing so much of Oktoberfest over the years that it has started to depress me :)
    Well someday... No, dont ask when. Just "someday"

    1. A dear friend of mine says that second thoughts are always a killer. You should go. This year! :)

  3. Another mesmerizing piece of writing...loved it :)

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