Day 2: Sat Sept 24 - Die Wiesn! Number one on your list of Oktoberfest Don'ts: Going out drinking the night before. I was hurting a bit this morning, since we woke up at 7:30 am in time to get ready for Oktoberfest--if you want a table you have to be there by 9 am! When we were walking we already saw lines of people outside the tents--they won't be getting in for hours! Silly tourists. Tanya and I got our picture taken by many of these tourists, so we must look legit. That made me feel better about my 65 Euro Dirndl purchase!
We got to the Wiesn, paid 3 euros (vs. the tents which are free but full of tourists and just sloppy--where we were was more traditional) and got some tables outside. Since we got there at about 9 am, we got coffee to start, and unpacked our picnic supplies--they actually let you bring your own food to this part, since they don't start serving food there until much later. It filled up quick, but we held our tables all day long. The weather was incredible--I actually got a sunburn, it was so hot out! Amazing! My shades came in handy and were passed around to just about everyone in attendance. So did my camera--we took more than 750 photos...
About 25 friends from my summers in Switzerland came from all over Germany to be here, which was great. I saw my girls that I lived with this summer in India (Franzi and Izy, my little sisters!), along with some other friends I haven't seen in YEARS. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better day!
In this area, beer is served in huge stone mugs, which is the traditional way. I had an epiphany after these arrived about bier steins (Stein means 'stone' in German, who'da thought?). Everyone starts off with a Radler, however, which is half beer, half lemonade (sounds gross, but is super refreshing).
There were Lederhosen EVERYWHERE--so glad I bought a dirndl, i would've been the only girl without one. It was really funny, from the moment I arrived in Munich, these costumes were everywhere--I mean, it's expected to see them on the Wiesn, but it's somehow hilarious to see some guy just standing on the subway platform in his lederhosen, or in line at the grocery store.
Franzi and I at Die Wiesn (pronounced Dee Veezen for all you Anglophiles) We stayed on the Wiesn from 9 am til 12 midnight--15 hours of Oktoberfest. The toilets were surprisingly good for a public event--kept clean and were a lot nicer than the outhouses I was expecting. (Just thought it's worth mentioning since usually you feel like you've contracted several diseases after using the facilities.)
Oktoberfest is actually a huge carnival--amusement park rides and games everywhere, food stands, etc. It was great fun to walk through all the stalls, see all the traditional food being made (hint: there's a lot of things ending in 'wurst'), and check out the rides. Somehow having everyone dressed up makes everything more fun--it's like Halloween, except everyone is going as the same thing, and every age group is represented--there are six year olds in lederhosen and sixty year olds wearing dirndls.
Such a cool sense of community here--I was saying to my friends, in Canada, because we're so multicultural, we'll have a small Oktoberfest in Kitchener, and a small Chinese New Year, and Caribana, etc. etc. But we never really have huge festivals where EVERYONE in the country is participating. I found that really great to see. It's also the mentality behind the event--the fact that it's a drinking festival--not serving beer in accompaniment to something, but actually as the main activity--that makes it so great.
So part way through our epic outdoor Beer Olympics, our waiter decided to inform us we couldn't bring food in anymore. We suspect this is because he wanted to make more money--if we couldn't bring it in, we'd have to buy it--from him. Our friend Alex, who was the food President of the afternoon, went and talked to the chef, who said it was fine, and relayed this to our waiter. He then begrudgingly allowed our picnic to continue. Shenanigans.
After the tents were closing though, I smoothed things over with Halil (our waiter's name, as it turns out) and even convinced him to join in a few photos. He promised me 4 free beer MaBs if I come back on Monday, so I fully plan on collecting! That's 40 Euros!
Halil (Back row, 2nd from right) as you can tell, is thrilled to be a part of our group
We went on the ferris wheel at the end and what a great way to see the entire Oktoberfest site. Lights twinkling, everybody happy with what a great day we've just had, it was incredible. One of the highlights of my trip for sure.