I meant to write this post months ago and forgot about it. Three months late is better than never, right?
We didn’t know much about Oktoberfest before-hand, except that people all over the world try to copy this amazing party but that nothing compares to the original, in Munich. We knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we couldn’t miss. Even though it meant being on the road almost the entire first month of our time here (Paris and Marburg took up the rest of the time). The ‘Wiesn’ was first celebrated in the early 1800’s when a Prince and Princess were married and invited the people of the city of Munich to help celebrate the wedding. They have continued the celebration every year since, eventually adding rides, games, and of course, beer tents. These tents are basically large (football-field sized) wooden structures owned mostly by the beer companies. You have to get reservations year(s) in advance and many times people come back year after year, becoming quite close to other people sitting around them. You must have a seat at a table to be served so it’s a big deal to have a reservation. There is live music, dancing on tables, waitreses in dirndls carrying an extraordinary amount of beer mugs. Everyone dresses up. It’s basically the biggest, happiest party on the planet — apparently 5.9 million people came this year. It was something worth remembering and I think we are both very glad we went. In a perfect world it would be the kind of thing you went to with a bunch of friends (and a bunch of babysitters) but none-the-less, we had a great time with our little (16 month-old) traveler.
This is a biergarten on a merry-go-round. This you did not need reservations for but, we were not too excited about smushing in there with a bunch of drunk people with a baby strapped to my back. We did a lot more watching than participating.
Mark was super excited to take James down the slide for the first time. He took it pretty seriously until the very end when a little smile finally peaked through.
The beer halls are closed to kids in the evening but we were able to sneak in right before the doors closed and a security guard let me take a quick picture from above. I don’t think it completely captures the size accurately. It’s huuuuge. The sound from all those people talking was just one extremely loud roar. I can’t imagine how cool it must be when everyone starts singing in unison!
I really really wanted a dirndl but I just couldn’t find something I loved that wasn’t 300+ euros. So I got a flower crown and braided my hair as a consolation prize. I’m disappointed but I still have a small glimmer of hope I’ll find the perfect one at a second hand shop somewhere along the way.
One of the many bier “tents”. They were themed with such unique displays. It was fun to see how different they all were. This one is actually quite dull compared to some of them. Do you see the greenery covering the ceiling inside though? It was gorgeous.
Goodbye Munich. You threw quite a party and we were very happy to be there to witness a part of it. Thanks for welcoming our little family of three.