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Published: October 3rd 2008
The party begins!
We finally made it. This is what I'd been looking forward to since the beginning of the trip. The mecca for all beer aficionados: Oktoberfest!
Due to our usual lack of preparation the train from Paris to Munich was sold out by the time we got there so we had to hop on a late afternoon run instead. Predictibly that train was late getting to the connection in Stuttgart so we were even further delayed. After finally arriving in Munich we figured out the tram system and made it to our campsite at about 2:00am. We set the tent up in the dark (surprisingly well actually) and finally retired for the night.
Having slept in the next morning, we didn't make it down to the Theresienwiesn (festival grounds) until about noon. Wow what a spectacle! It's much more of a family affair earlier in the day with lots of kids around for the rides and fair atmosphere. The place is all about the beer though. There are about a dozen giant beer tents and another half-dozen outdoors gardens which are far less busy. We sat down outside and sampled our first german beer. It's true what they say ...
Some Bavarian ladies with the beer horses. You can see Jay's hand in the picture
it really is good. The worst part though is that vendors parade around you all the time with everything from giant pretzels to bratwurst to roast chickens. This made it difficult to resist as we were on a budget and eating at the tables was far more expensive than at the stalls outside.
With our first day a success, we spent the next 4 days alternating between the festival and taking in other cultural activities (ie. sleeping and lounging around our campsite). The first full day we spent in the Hippodrom tent which served Spatenbrau beer. We met some good people there but found out later that the Hippodrom is a tent known for business people and higher class folks. The band there was great but we needed to find the tent with the best atmosphere. The next full day we found that tent in the Augustiner tent. They served the most popular beer in Bavaria and the people there were a great mix of locals of all ages and fun tourists like us. We got there at 11:00am but still barely found a seat jammed in with some folks that had met a few hours before on a
Jay with the beer horses. This is the picture I was originally supposed to take.
train into Munich. As the beer started flowing we quickly made friends with everybody and by the end of the night we were all dancing on the benches and having a great time trying to sing along to the music. The bands there constantly play a song that requires you to raise your glass and cheers (prost) all those around you so you get to know people pretty quick.
Sadly now we have to leave as the festival is ending soon and those 8.25 euro steins add up pretty fast! We've decided to head into the Czech Republic from here with our first stop in Plzen before we move on to Prague. Everything over there is so cheap it will be a nice rest from all these expensive places we've been to.
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