Oh boy, oh boy. A large group of students from our ISA program decided to head to Oktoberfest this past weekend in Munich for some food, fun and frenzy and that is exactly what we got.
I ended up camping with six guys from the program and another dozen of our friends were spread all over the city of Munich. The campground was fields and fields of side-by-side two person tents enclosed by larger food tents and campers. It was a sight to be seen, that is for sure. It was chilly at night, but overall a great experience. I had forgotten how much I enjoy camping, especially during fall.
Oktoberfest was insane. There were an insane amount of people in each beer tent, at the carnival and in the streets, which made it that more interesting yet that much more crazy. We met people from all over the world, and a surprising amount of Australians, who knew! The tents were the most enjoyable part of the whole fest, the energy in there was ridiculous.
There was almost constant singing, chanting, boo-ing and cheers-ing. It was like nothing I have ever seen in my life. Some song choices often included “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes and “Hey Baby”. It was hilarious. We probably heard each of these songs at least 30 times a day.
I also enjoyed many fun (and probably not accurate) facts about Oktoberfest this weekend. First, I heard that the beer maidens who deliver the beers make upwards of $25,000 in 3 weeks solely on tips. I have no idea if this is true, but I would definitely believe it. The number of people they see daily is in the thousands. I was also informed that the maidens do not actually work for the tents, but buy the beer and then sell it to the people of the festival. Very interesting! It looks like I’ll have to do some research and get back to you all about that.
These beer maidens were bred for this job. They have the strongest arms and can carry up to six full liters in each of their hands. Some of them even have to wear ace bandages on their wrists. Not to mention they run around the tents blowing whistles and knocking people out of the way. Long story short, they are awesome.
I attempted to be a beer-maiden failed miserably. I could fit 6 empty liters in each hand, but struggled to keep them horizontal because of the weight. I can’t even imagine doing that when they are all full. Lots of respect for those women! Of course there is more to the festival than beer, so all of us headed on some roller coasters, carnival rides and ate some delicious food (strawberry-nutella crepes anyone?).
Oktoberfest itself was something you can not experience anywhere else and something I would be fine never participating in again. I am so, so glad I went and experienced the culture of the fest, the liters of German beer and the overwhelming number of people there, but I think I have seen enough lederhosen to last me for the rest of my life. Looking forward to a relaxing week in Prague!