My first wiesn! Oktoberfest in Munich

My first wiesn! Oktoberfest in Munich

Plan and Prep

Honestly, I think it took just a hint of a whisper of Oktoberfest, and I knew I was going to go. As a beer guy, this has been on my list since I was 21. I guess actually before then, whenever I first saw European Vacation. I was speaking with Joelle about different Bucket List items, and the wiesn came up for both of us. Perfect. A couple days later, I was talking with my friend Russell, and trying to plan a trip. I kicked the idea of him flying to meet me in Munich… after checking flights, this idea became a reality.

I started researching tables and tents. The whole process seems so confusing as an outsider who has never been. Tables are purchased well ahead for 10 people. Tickets are not sold individually, and you are told to avoid third party dealers, as the tickets might be forgery or fake. I found a lot of good advice from Big Boy Travel. I also relied on my buddy John’s write up about it. He put together an amazing video too. I was pumped

After asking around, I found a company that had a good reputation to get tickets to tents. I know you can walk into tents as they each hold tables open for first come, first serve. But the way I look at it is this: Russell and I are travels thousands of miles. I don’t want to risk it. I don’t want to wake up early and wait in the potential rain and/or cold to maybe get in a tent. I would rather guarantee myself a spot.

For timing, I knew we would be tired from the travel, so I reserved the first day for us to wander around the grounds and take the whole experience in. Then I figured we could just hit one of the local Brauhaus spots. Saturday dinner sitting and Sunday lunch sitting were the time slots we wanted. We decided on Hofbräu Festzelt and Hacker Festhalle. Hofbrau is definitely the most full of tourists and expats. It is also one of the largest. This sounded perfect for a Saturday night party. Hacker seemed to have a beautiful interior. This sounded like exactly what we needed.

As time passed, I helped Russell with some international logistics. I was looking at beer guides for Munich, when I came across a late night tent, The Hippodrom. I don’t think these people understand how to properly use the internet. Their website offers little-to-no real information, and it actually seems contradictory. I read reviews online, and they were terrible. I think this even closed down. The location is north of the train tracks, not even in the Theresienwiese. Seemed Sketchy… but something made me want to give it a shot. I booked a half table, and selected the bottle of champagne and the bottle of vodka (seriously, more vodka? what is this trash?). I figured Russell and I might meet some other travelers there and hang out for the weekend.

We booked the Courtyard Munich City Center because the proximity to the grounds was hard to beat. Ugh the Special Event prices were an absolute bitch, but you know what they say, “location, location, location.” Who is ‘they’ anyway? Whatever.

Being a big guy, I figured I needed to secure my lederhosen ahead of time. I found a website that seemed pretty solid. Their stuff looked pretty cool and they had a ton of sizes. I picked out my outfit. **BE CAREFUL** The sizes in Europe are very different from what you are used to. We figured we would just grab some stuff for Russell once we got in.

Arrival and First Day

I had heard some pretty terrible reviews of Munich’s airport, but I was pleasantly surprised. The visa and customs process was quick and easy. I grabbed my bag and headed downstairs to the shopping area in order to pick up a SIM for my MiFi. Unfortunately, the sales girls had no clue how to activate a data SIM. I guess they don’t care about making sales there. Oh well. Luckily I have T-Mobile Simple Choice. I waited for Russell to land. There was a little Terminal confusion, but once we got it all settled, it was like we hadn’t missed a beat. We opted to grab a quick beer (or two) at Airbräu.

After some refreshment, it was cab time. The airport is a solid 45 minutes away. The cab ended up being like €75. I guess it is a good thing we hit the Geldautomat to pick up cash. We checked in, dropped our bags, and grabbed a quick bite. There are so many döner shops around that area. I kinda felt at home. Next stop was Theresienwiese grounds. This place was magical. It is basically a giant carnival for adults.

This is the outside of Hacker Festhalle.
This is the outside of Hacker Festzelt

The tents are more like buildings towering over the crowds. There are rides and carni games. The smell of friends sweets and nuts wisps through the air intoxicating the senses. The predominant color is definitely blue. But the whole atmosphere is sensory overload. We made sure to see the Bavaria Statue. I figured I needed at least one good structure picture.

Beautiful Bavaria Statue
Beautiful Bavaria Statue

It was definitely time for a nap. I had planned my flight poorly and didn’t get a wink the night before.

Hippodrom

I really didn’t know what to expect here. It was a last minute addition. I just felt like it would be good. I wasn’t clear on arrival time. Ticket said 11 PM, but it said to get there early.

Roose and Craigvor decked out in Lederhosen... ready to take on Munich
Roose and Craigvor decked out in Lederhosen… ready to take on Munich
It is always a good idea to get a good stretch in before entering the late-night party
It is always a good idea to get a good stretch in before entering the late-night party

We arrived at 9:45 PM and planned on waiting. Nope. In we went. We were sat at a table closest to the bar. I guess they knew why we came. This place was decked out like a big circus tent. It was a trip.

View of the ceiling in Hippodrom
View of the ceiling in Hippodrom

We got the Bavarian meat platter. And then turned to meet the guy sitting with us. He introduced himself as Lee (I swear he sounded like Thor, and he was a large man). This was gonna be a fun night indeed. I asked him why he had three plates, and he told me he was with his wife and sister. Okay this could be fun. The More The Merrier, right?

Then Sally and Shelly came back from the dance floor. We started talking and getting to know our fellow fest friends. The night went amazing. I felt like I was meant to come to that tent on that night for some reason. It was all coming together.

Hanging out with Sally
Hanging out with Sally
Hey, you know what? This guy... hmm nevermind. haha
Hey, you know what? This guy… hmm nevermind. haha
Lee and Shelley, Congrats on 10 Years!!!
Lee and Shelly, Congrats on 10 Years!!!

After several delicious maß of German beer, the night was raging along. Dancing and singing occurred. It was pretty fantastic. Turns out that Lee and Shelly were going to take in some history and visit Dachau the next day. So I talked with Sally and invited her to hang out with us. The night was getting quite late, so we parted ways.

Late night selfies with locals
Late night selfies with locals
I ended up with a glass. Nowhere near Sally's count, though
I ended up with a glass. Nowhere near Sally’s count, though

Day 2 Lunch at Hofbräuhaus

After confirming a time with Sally, Roose and I got ready for round two of Oktoberfest. Today we were going to have lunch at Hofbräuhaus then enjoy the dinner sitting at Hofbräu Festzelt. Gonna be a big day. We walked downstairs and there Sally was… in a black dress. I was somewhat confused. Why would any girl choose to not wear a dirndl? These things are perfect. They make almost every girl look even more perfect than they already are. Anyhow, we walked through the city and talked more about life and careers and such. It was cool to learn about her. Plus I always love sharing travel stories with a fellow traveller. The walk was actually farther than it seemed on the map, but I didn’t mind.

Sally in her non-dirndl. It was tough to get any kind of picture with all the people
Sally in her non-dirndl. It was tough to get any kind of picture with all the people

We finally made it. This place was ginormous.

Hofbrauhaus Exterior
Hofbrauhaus Exterior
The ceiling inside. Beautiful
The ceiling inside. Beautiful

we made it through the line to get in… Finding a seat was another ballgame. Then I looked over and saw two girls who looked like they were wrapping up. I couldn’t catch any kind of accent because they were talking quietly. I figured, what the hell. “Can we join you?” Once again, fate was looking out for us. After introductions and the like, we found out they lived in Cali, but they were from St Louis. I guess my triage stories were entertaining because they chose to order another round, while we crushed through some beers and food

What does a guy who lives in Saudi order? Pork Knuckle and a litre of beer. #Haram
What does a guy who lives in Saudi order? Pork Knuckle and a litre of beer. #Haram
Hanging with our cool new friends, Lindsay and Amanda
Hanging with our cool new friends, Lindsay and Amanda

Time was getting short, and we had been warned a lot about getting to the tents on time. So we had to dash out. We dropped Sally off and told her that they should meet us at the tent later… But change into a dirndl, please. Haha. It takes a pretty awesome girl to put up with both me and Russell.

Hofbräu Festzelt Dinner

The taxis in Munich are not the fastest. When you add tourists and festival traffic, we were running a little behind. But we made it. We found our lady with the Sunflower and met the rest of our crew for the night: a school teacher and her husband, a girl from Wisconsin and her friends, a kinda creepy guy who brought his mother to Munich, and a couple others. We snaked through the lines and found our table.

Wait... what does this guy do?
Wait… what does this guy do?
Our table crew
Our table crew

This place had an awesome energy to it. I was so excited. We ordered our first beers and eagerly waited. The whole Beer Voucher things are kinda annoying. They only cover €9.60 but the beer costs €10.20, so you have to find some random euro coins to make the difference then tip. **SIDE NOTE** whoever says that tipping is only in America has not traveled much. I have traveled extensively for 18 months now, and everyone expects tip. I happily give it and hope for better service. /rant

The beers arrive, and I am in my happy place.

We made it. RageChill!!
We made it. RageChill!!
Prost!
Prost! I hope Kelly got a good shot there. 
at Oktoberfest, Age is just a number!
at Oktoberfest, Age is just a number!

The day was going well, but with all this madness and the terrible lines outside, I did not expect to see Sally, Lee and Shelly. Oh well. The night was still going to be a blast. Kelly, Jodi and Michelle were fun people. Then an old lady brought around this vial of white powder. Turns out it is called wiesn koks. It is basically crushed up Altoids. You sniff it, and instantly your head gets a minty rush. haha. In our minty stupor, I looked up, and there they were. They found us!

Shelly doing a dip
Shelly doing a dip
Lee must really love this song. Hey Kelly what does this guy do?
Lee must really love this song. Hey Kelly what does this guy do?
Hanging with Sally, in her Dirndl. Such an awesome choice
Hanging with Sally, in her Dirndl. Such an awesome choice
There are some tall people there
There are some tall people there

The night went on and was amazing. The music got louder and the beers came quicker. We were dancing and singing. It was as rowdy as I had expected. It was perfect. After people started leaving, Sally, Kelly, Michelle, and I decided to hit the streets and find a late night. I am glad I had Sally there to protect me and my hat. We drank some more beers and chatted like old friends.

Alas, it was time for the night to end. We parted ways and headed to our respective hotels. Turns out our hotels were across the street from each other. I am a southerner. It is in my genetics to make sure to make sure ladies get home safely.

Sleep was so nice that night. I ended up purchasing a pretty awesome stein from the tent. {I wonder how I am going to pack these big heavy things… whatever}. I also picked up a pretty sweet feather for my hat.

Day 3, Hacker Festzelt

Waking up was a little tough, but we knew it would be. Red Bulls were already chilling in the fridge. After breakfast, we hiked up our leather shorts and headed back to the grounds. There is no way a lunch sitting could get as crazy as the night before.

We found our table and took a seat. There were two Americans and four Germans sitting with us. This tent was pretty, but way more tame. And that wasn’t a bad thing.

Beer Goggle?
Beer Goggle?
Ein Prosit!
Ein Prosit!
Our table friends
Our table friends
Such a beautiful tent
Such a beautiful tent

After minimal singing and dancing, it was time to head out.

How do you say Ferris Wheel in German?
How do you say Ferris Wheel in German?
The exterior of Paulaner
The exterior of Paulaner

We decided to hit up the Paulaner Bräuhaus nearby. They had an even bigger pork knuckle. Everything was right in the world.

The other places had been gipping me on the knuckle. wtf mate
The other places had been gipping me on the knuckle. wtf mate 

Day 4 Road Trip and Tap House

When I looked at the map, I realized how close we were going to be to Neuschwanstein Castle in south Bavaria. I knew we had to take a day trip. I will write more about that later.

After our road trip, Roose and I finally found some local craft beer in the Tap House. It truly was a fated trip. I got to try local IPAs and Stouts. They even had some barrel-aged selections. It was a great night.

Making a nice bottle wall in Munich
Making a nice bottle wall in Munich
Tap Line and Chalk Boards. I feel like I am at home
Tap Line and Chalk Boards. I feel like I am at home

Final

I am so happy to have taken this trip. Planning and preparation is always a good things. But sometimes it takes leaps of faith and some help from fate to luck into some true greatness. We met some amazing people, had some unforgettable moments, and experienced another bucket list item.  It was so much fun to hang out with Roose again. Maybe our paths will cross in the Big Apple soon. At the airport, I got checked in and headed to the lounge. I had one last radler, then I needed something to start the rehydration process. After a weekend like this, water always wins.

I boarded my plane and headed back to the desert.

As a wanderer, the horizon is my anchor sometimes
As a wanderer, the horizon is my anchor sometimes

Overall, this trip is a must for any beer lover or lover of fun or carnivals or festivals… in fact, just go. It is amazing. It is good to prepare. And yes, it will be an expensive trip. Just be prepared.

2 thoughts on “My first wiesn! Oktoberfest in Munich

    1. Author
      trevor.weichmann Reply

      We went to Hofbrau tent for dinner on Saturday and Hofbrauhaus for lunch on Saturday… It was a big day for Hofbrau. Since we had tickets, it took us maybe 30 minutes to gather the group and go into the tent. We gathered at 5:30 if I am correct. For the restaurant, we lucked out and found a table with two Americans and the three of us joined them. We looked for maybe 15 minutes max. We went at 11:30 or noon. We walked there.

      It was the final weekend, so things were quite busy.

      I really want to go again.

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