“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” -Ernest Hemingway
Europe’s biggest shit show. And I do mean literally. As I entered the Theresienwiese camp ground, I was greeted by the sight of three grown German men dressed in lederhosen laughing hysterically at their friend who was peeing down his leg. If that didn’t foreshadow the day I was about to have… nothing would.
At Oktoberfest, you have two choices: to camp or not to camp. Obviously, I chose to camp, mainly because it was the cheapest option and with Stoke Travel we got to drink unlimited beer and sangria. Once we got the campsite, we were immediately given a welcome beer, which conveniently came with a string attached to the sides so we could drink AND be hands free.
Stoke has a reputation for being rowdy and Australian (one in the same, really). Between the blasting mix of house music and Red Hot Chili Peppers, the drinking went on well into 5 am. We woke up at 5:30 to a guy puking on the path next to our tent while another was propped up between two trees passed out for the entire night in the pouring, freezing rain.
We got to the grounds of holy Oktoberfest at 6:30 am. The beer couldn’t be served until 12:00, after they had tapped the keg and the Mayor of Munich sipped the first beer. That meant standing in the rain without an umbrella while it was fifty degrees next to husky cigarette smoking Germans. Absolute torture. I have never so seriously considered dying.
We got in to Haufbrauhous early, probably around 10:00 am but I’m not sure, because I blacked out from the misery. By some miracle of God we found our friends and joined them at the Harry Potter style tables. I proceeded to pass out on the table for a good 45 minutes. Around HB there were beer maids selling sodas, sandwiches, schniztel, asiago bread, prezels, cards, small plastic toys, and gingerbread hearts with icing that read ‘your place or mine?’. And the occasional bucket of pickles.
When the beer was finally served a riotous echoing of “PROST!” and “ABROSIAAAA” burst from every table. And not just once, this happened at least every 5 minutes. It was one of the most fun times I’ve had in Europe so far. In the words of my roommate “If you haven’t been to Oktoberfest, THEN YOU HAVE NOT LIVED”.
The beer maids would carry out at least 8 liters of beer and slam them on the table only to be swarmed by people waving Euros. If you don’t tip them, they won’t come back. So everything ends up being about ten Euros in total. Honestly, I don’t know how they carry 8 at a time. I could barely hold one full mug up myself.
Attempting to go to the bathroom might sound easy in normal circumstances, but during Oktoberfest at HB, trying to get to the bathroom with a five-pound beer mug is a feat deemed impossible. This, I did not know. I was twisted and absorbed into the mosh pit of drunk Australians and Germans right before the bathroom. I had no choice but to literally go with the flow. I made it out, went back to my table, chugged my beer, and tried to break through the jungle of drunks and beermaids carrying pork knuckles and baby chickens. Once I made it past the wall of rough Hell’s Angels looking security guards, things moved quickly. Surprisingly, it was the fastest line for the bathroom I’ve ever waited in considering how many girls had to pee.
Let me warn you: One litre beer at Oktoberfest really packs at least three to four strong normal sized beers. I ended up drinking almost three litres. All I can say is, on my way out I proceeded to spend seventeen euros on roasted nuts and purchased a child sized Oktoberfest t-shirt.