Road Trippin’ My Ass Off

Well, first off let this Eleven editor apologize for the hiatus. Traveling and going to school in Europe takes up a little time. Now…

According to Wikipedia, the place we get all our important information from, Oktoberfest is a 16 day festival located in the center of Munich. It takes place about a couple weeks before October 1 or 2 and generally ends on the 3rd. It is the biggest festival in the world. Repeat: the biggest festival in the world. It has been my absolute pleasure to attend this “world’s biggest festival” this year and I must say to all who read this article…you must go. You must not wait until you have a good job or have established yourselves…you must go and you must go now. The reason being is that I feel that Oktoberfest must be attended at a certain age. Not too young so you can appreciate the culture and history of the place, for it has been going on since 1818, and not too old so that you can enjoy the drunken debauchery that takes place there. I drove with a few friends in a van, with no hotel awaiting our arrival in Munich, 18 hours across Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Austria to get there. Once we found Thereseinweise Strasse, the street that Oktoberfest is always located at, we decided to find us a hotel. Either that or it was sleep in the van and I have already done that. Not cool. Anyways, we found a hotel three subway stops away from the festival with three beds, one sink, and no toilet or shower. One cannot be choosy when attending the world’s largest festival on such short notice. Once we settled we headed to the tent and people please, take this not as an exaggeration but as God’s honest truth: Oktoberfest is the happiest place on Earth and Disneyland has got nothing on that.

First off, there are only six huge tents that people can really drink in, surprisingly you’re not allowed to walk around outside the tents and drink. The six tents are hosted and setup by the six beer companies that have been supplying the wonderful nectar to Oktoberfestians since the beginning, aka a long ass time. They are known as (any guesses??) the Big Six. The beer companies involved are Spaten, Lowenbrau, Paulaner, Augustiner, Hofbrau, and Hacker-Pschorr. I have personally had Lowenbrau and Paulaner before and they’re great beers but the icing to the cake known as Otkoberfest is Hofbrau. This is where we spent the majority of our time, at one point spending six hours inside without seeing the light of day but enjoying the light-headedness coming from consuming a couple liters of beer every hour or so. I must say though that this place was the most jumping tent out of all that we saw.

Once arriving through pearly gates of Heav…*ahem* of Hofbrau immediately my breath was taken away. Stuffed inside this large tent that could probably accommodate something like 300 people were 400-500 people packed tight light sardines and everywhere you looked, people were standing on tables, chairs, and each other to scream along with the song or start a chant of their own. Every corner of the tent had a different chant/song/bellowing melody that was being shouted by those in the immediate vicinity. Suffice to say, I have never seen anything like it. Ever. The closest I could come to describing it would be to compare it to the people in the stands watching Italy win the World Cup as the referee blew the whistle. Oh and everyone in the stands just happened to be Italian. That is how it felt here, the overwhelming noise, the drunken people, the amazing food, it all just defies description.

Basically how these tents work though is you have to book a year in advance, at least, to get a table to sit at and even then you’ll probably be sharing it with someone else. We must have had a divine hand guiding us because we walked right into the tent on a Friday after at 2 P.M. and got directed by a waitress to the very center of the tent. This part just so happens to be standing room only but we were not about to complain. We were standing in the center of the noise and action and about to order our first beer. Life could not have been better. It only got better because at the time I was there only with one girl who did not share my affinity for beer in the least. This was more of a cool cultural experience for her than it was a pilgrimage to the holiest place on Earth like it was for me. But I quickly forgave her and we made friends with the guys standing, barely, all around us. Here I’d like to throw out a cultural note that I’ve picked up from my travels. Out of everywhere that I’ve gone, all the different cultures that I’ve been immersed in, I have found no one more immediately friendly and helpful than the people I met in Germany. I don’t know what’s in the air really that makes these people so incredibly awesome but I want to bring some of it back to the U.S. Maybe it’s the fact that they’ve been drinking beer since I first realized what alcohol was. Whatever it is, just know that if you want to make friends for life, go to Germany and have a beer with someone. It will be an experience you’ll be glad you had.

What all this dwindles down to though is that I had the time of my life. I cannot suggest more strongly that if you plan on doing something in your life, whether it be to run with the bulls in Pamplona or to go clubbing in Prague, make sure you go to Munich first and reach enlightenment at Oktoberfest. You will never be sorry that you did. That I can guarantee.

By: Ryan Evans – Wine


2 Responses to “Road Trippin’ My Ass Off”

  1. 1 Sal October 23, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Number one on my travel list is Barcelona, your description has put Oktoberfest at number 2.

  1. 1 Road Trippin’ My Ass Off | Eleven Magazine Trackback on October 23, 2008 at 12:07 pm

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