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Published: October 1st 2019
Day two began early. Our bodies woke us up at 6am, which was fine by me because I was starving. But we lazed around in bed for a little bit, as we never get to do that anymore with little kiddos. 😊
We went downstairs to our hotel restaurant for our free breakfast. The offerings are pretty European - several fruit, breads, meats, and cheeses but not a whole lot else. There were minimal cereals and yogurt so I snagged some cornflakes with some amazing honey on it. And we were able to order some scrambled eggs, which was nice. The best part is that the coffee is actually decent, which is a great relief. (Our hotel in Ireland a few years ago had super crap coffee.) We tried a weird kind of white breakfast sausage, but neither of us liked it surprisingly (we typically will eat anything!)
Once finished fueling up, we headed back to our room to shower and get ready for the day. We donned our traditional Bavarian garb - a dirndl for me, and a "trachten" style button-up shirt for Randy. He wanted to get lederhosen, but those suckers are incredibly expensive - upwards of $100 euro! For something he'll just wear once, it's not really worth it. But he fit in just fine. Not everyone at Oktoberfest wears the traditional clothing, but MANY do. It was so much fun! We learned that the stitching on lederhosen traditionally tells what kind of work you do (hunter, farmer, etc) and what region you're from.
Months ago, I had booked a tour with a group for this day (before we knew the Hydes would be in Germany) so we met up with our group & guides inside the train station at 10. We headed out to the Theresenweise (the name of the Oktoberfest grounds) listening to our guide tell some of the history. Basically, a long time ago, a king got married and he invited everyone in town - no matter what class - to the reception. He served everyone free wine and the whole town just had a great time and got piss drunk. The next year, the people of the town said "hey king, can we do that again?" So he said sure, but this time you're buying your own alcohol. And they switched it to beer because it was cheaper. Oktoberfest has happened every year since then, except for 1944-49 (WW2).
Entering the festival is almost exactly like entering the state fair. Although it's a LOT more intricate and a LOTTTTT cleaner and more organized. Since it was early on a Monday, the crowds weren't bad at all. We toured the grounds with our guide, who grew up in Munich. It was incredibly neat to see all of the things and hear stories about when he came as a kid. Yes, that's right there are lots of kids that come! Families with kids of all ages, and even little field trips! We saw several preschool and kindergarten kids walking around in their dirndls and lederhosen with their teachers. It was so dang cute! But our guide said that the kids are usually done/gone by noon before the drunkards really start emerging.
When I say it's a lot like the state fair, that's because there are a lot of rides and carnival style games around the place. Lots and lots. Even a flea circus! But they just seem a lot more sturdy and clean than what we have back in the states. Everything is so vibrant and fun. And the weather was wonderful - mid 60s and partly sunny with a breeze.
As you walk around, you also see enormous structures. These are the beer tents. The six beers that are locally brewed in Munich are the only ones that are allowed to serve at Oktoberfest. So each of those breweries have a tent (some have two) that are erected. When I say tents, these things are more like castles. But the walls are just temporary and the roof & ceiling are parachute-type material. They're enormous and VERY elaborately decorated, both on the outside and inside. Everything has a history to it and reason for the decorations. We walked inside several of the tents just to take a peek and photos, and it's absolutely incredible. They just SO big and elaborate and they all have hundreds of huge tables to sit at, with a bandstand in the center for the oompah music they play all day long.
We had a reserved table inside the Hofbrau tent for 5 hours with our tour group, which came with 2 beer tickets and a ticket for a half-chicken. But after our first beer, we left the group and met up with the Hydes across the tent at a different table. They had made friends with a couple from Australia and a brother/sister duo from Canada. We sat with them and drank and ate and played games, people-watched, sang along to the many different German drinking songs that they bust out constantly. It was great! So, so much fun. As we sat there, the tent filled up and every single table was full of people. It was absolutely amazing and incredible to see SO many people in one place, everyone happy and drinking and being merry. People from all over the world. Every kind of dirndl and lederhosen you can imagine. I can't describe it here, really. It's something to be experienced to really understand.
After a few hours, we left the Hofbrau and showed Tina, Tim, and Jen some of the other tents since they hadn't been inside any yet. We finally settled down at the Spaten tent, which is the tent where Oktoberfest begins every year. The mayor of Munich comes in and right at the stroke of noon, he taps the first keg. It's a big to-do and happens in the Spaten tent. We got a table and sat there for awhile drinking some more.
After that.....I really can't tell you what we did. (insert sheepish grin) I know we went to another tent, but I can't tell you which one. At one point, Tina and I broke off and went for a ride on one of the carnival rides. It was FUN!!!!! But around 7:30-8pm (I think), we started to head back to our hotel. We could have stayed until it closed, but I needed to pump pretty badly and since we have a VERY big day tomorrow that begins early, we really needed to get some food and get to bed or we'd be sorry.
We said goodbye to our wonderful friends and headed back to our individual sleeping spots. I am very sad that we can't continue the rest of the trip with them - they are such great, fun, warm people and we will miss them. They want us to go to Prague with them, but we really can't. Too much extra money and besides, we have a lot of other things we wan to do and see in Bavaria.
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