Every September in Munich, Germany people from all over the world descend on Munich with a deep thirst and an insatiable hunger. The hunger is for traditional German fare and the thirst is for an amber colored beverage the German’s have perfected over the last couple hundred years; beer – by the liter.
This year marked the 200th Oktoberfest so it was a particularly special adventure and an immediate and unyielding immersion into German culture.
Admission, to this beer-fueled wonderland is free, but expect to pay to play because the beer comes in a two and a half pound stein filled to the brim, wielded by a dirndl wearing waitress with forearms like a lumberjack and a face as sweet as Christmas morning. Prepare to shell out 9euro a pop for a brewski.
Getting into one of the many massive beer halls is a trial, considering there are about 30 and they each hold upwards of 1,000 people. All of these beer-swillers are sitting on benches at tables and the wait-staff is bustling through the narrow channels between tables. Every hall is different but they all had bands, the locations of which varied. Some were situated dead center of the action, some were right inside the door and yet others set up shop in the corner. These bands play a type of German folk, similar to Polka and they lead the crowd in rousing drinking song after rousing drinking song. Some of the songs have hand motions that usually result in everyone standing on the benches with arms interlocked swaying in time with the high-tempo Polka-esque tunes.
It’s easy to say the beer halls are the nucleus of the celebration, but there are tons of booths set up much like a county or state fair in the United States where merchants peddle souvenirs, food and cigarettes. One of the best ways to gain perspective on Oktoberfest is to hop on the ferris wheel and survey the area from the top. The ferris wheel is one of dozens of rides available for a small fee.
Food options revolve around bratwurst, sauerkraut, bröchten and fries. Bröchten are German rolls they’ve managed to include in almost every meal so long as the ingredients change.
Those who don’t prefer traditional German food aren’t forgotten with roast chicken, pasta dishes and potato dishes served in the beer halls.
Oktoberfest is definitely a must do on a trip to Germany or Europe for more information go to http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/navitem/About+the+Oktoberfest/. It’s a good idea to pay a little bit extra to reserve a spot at a table in a couple different beer halls.