Yep, that’s right, I went to Oktoberfest. Twice. How can you be in Munich at this time and not go, right? But sadly, to disappoint all of you hoping I would become a beer drinker whilst in Germany, I didn’t actually have ANY, either visit. Sorry! But the thing is....the beer at Oktoberfest a) only comes in a ‘Mass’, which is 1litre, and having never really properly drunk beer before I thought I’d either not be able to finish that much or just pass out about ¾ of the way through it and b) is really expensive, and thinking I couldn’t finish a whole Mass I thought it was probably a bit of a waste of money. Not to mention the fact I don’t really like it anyways. :P
Now let me backtrack a little. Last time I told you about my trip around Germany. When I finished that I returned back to Munich to stay with the Schäfers again. I guess you could say there house has kinda been my ‘homebase’ for the first 1 ½ months in Germany. It meant that I could leave my big humongous suitcase at their place and then just take what I needed
around with me. Very handy. Not to mention the fact that it meant I got to see them lots more still, which was GREAT. Anyways, so Saturday a week after I got back from my roundtrip of Germany Christine (Mrs Schäfer) took me to the ‘opening ceremony’ so-to-speak, of Oktoberfest. We got to watch the parade of the different carriages made up for each of the
or ‘brew houses’ (I know we probably don’t really use this phrase in English, but I couldn’t think of a better one). In other words, every beer label that had a tent at Oktoberfest had a ‘float’ that marched through the city then into the Oktoberfest grounds. It was quite interesting to see all the different ‘Tracht’ (traditional clothing - Lederhosen and Dirndl), as each area within Bavaria actually has a different one! Plus it was also amusing to see the people on the floats already pretty tipsy! :P The parade takes just under an hour and we were quite close to the grounds, so they’d already been ‘at the bottle’ for about 40 minutes! :D
Each float was drawn by horses, to go along with tradition, which was pretty cool. But also
pretty smelly! :D The horses were all really big, but I guess they had to be to carry all the people and some floats just consisted of about 10+ barrels of beer!
After the parade we went into the grounds and went up in the Ferris wheel so we could have an ‘overview’ of the whole Oktoberfest. Pretty impressive (oops I used that word again!). There were sooooo many people! We could also see the Bavarian Alps from the top of the Ferris wheel too, which was pretty cool. It was an extremely clear, sunny day.
After having what Christine calls a ‘typical Oktoberfest lunch’ consisting of fried chicken and a big pretzel we then headed back home. So although it wasn’t what you’d expect from a trip to Oktoberfest, I actually had a pretty good time.
The second time I went I was actually going to meet up with a friend from UWA who had just completed a semester of exchange in Freiburg (like what I’m currently doing) and was about to start another exchange semester in Tübingen. Except she never got in contact with me, so I just went on a few rides and then just observed people.
A young boy in Lederhosen
I actually really love lederhosen - they look pretty comfy!
It was very interesting just watching people. There are so many different people from all over the world that make the ‘pilgrimage’ to Oktoberfest. I heard a fair few Aussie accents! :D
The only other exciting thing that I did during my time back at the ‘base’ was go to the ‘Deutsches Museum’. This has to be one of the coolest museums I’ve been to, and remember I’ve been to a fair few! :D It is also, however, one of the biggest. So if you want to see everything in it, you either have to go when it opens and then leave when it closes. But even then you may not see everything unless you just skim over everything. The second option is to go more than once. I think I might have to go back. But then I didn’t really intend to go the day I went, so I didn’t allocate the proper amount of time. :D I just spontaneously decided to go into the city of Munich one day when all the Schäfers were at work or school and then found myself on the same street as the ‘Deutsches Museum’, so I thought I should go in. They
The Hofbräuhaus float
This is Munich's world-famous beer brew
have everything in there, from a chemistry department where you can press buttons and watch chemical reactions occur right in front of you (behind glass protection), to an aeronautics section where they have all different things relating to aeroplanes and flight, to a machine section where they show all the inner workings of machines from early days to the present, to a photography and film section, where they show how photos are made and how films work, and then some! Those were just the areas I went to, and even then I had to skim a bit because of my lack of time! It is a really amazing place. Go there if you get the chance!
I’ll leave it there for now and next time I’ll write about my Sound of Music Tour and my adventures in Salzburg, Austria!
But before I go, of course, Interesting Fact #3:
OK so this won’t be so ‘interesting’ as such...I had a really interesting thing to write about the language, but then I forgot the word was that I wanted to talk about, so I’ll have to settle for this ‘not so interesting’ fact: public transport in Germany is INCREDIBLY expensive. If you’re
The 'Hofbräuhaus Festzelt'
The tent where you go to get Hofbräu beer. This is as close as I could to getting inside a tent. I really wanted to go in one just to take a photo, but I knew there was very little chance without having to wait hours. Definitely not worth it just to get a photo! :D
planning a trip to Germany, talk to me first about the public transport. I found it (and still find it) thoroughly confusing. Sometimes you have to prebuy your ticket and then stamp it once you get on the bus/tram or just before you get on the train. Other times you buy a ticket and it doesn’t need stamping. And still other times you can buy tickets from the conductors/bus drivers. Similar to Australia there are different ‘zones’, and sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a ‘day ticket’ than it is to pay for a ticket to somewhere and then another one back. If you can’t speak German (or in this case read German) then you pretty much have no hope! Even I’ve gotten stuck a couple of times and I’ve been learning German for 7 ½ years! The reason I find the fact that it’s so expensive interesting is because Germany is a country that prides itself on its environmentally friendliness, so you’d think they’d have cheap fares to encourage the use of public transport. Plus it’s all really well organised and they have lots of busses, trains and trams, so I don’t think they struggle in terms of getting enough
Dirndls are the dresses that girls wear. I thought these were interesting because of the huge flower arrangment on the front! :P
customers to reach their quota. So there you go. An extremely small taste of what public transport is like here in Germany! :D
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