Oktoberfest. Munich, Germany.

I meant to write this post months ago and forgot about it.  Three months late is better than never, right?

DSC00692We 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.

Upon walking through the gates for the first time this is what we saw. Someone wearing lederhosen, passed out drunk under the ferris wheel. An honest introduction…
DSC00421_2DSC00422The people. Oh the people!

DSC00432 DSC00436DSC00455DSC00465_2DSC00484DSC00485DSC00504DSC00513DSC00537These two below nailed it. I want their outfits. Her shoes and lace bodice, his hat and sweater.

DSC00538DSC00542DSC00550DSC00552DSC00577DSC00602_2DSC00621DSC00622DSC00787See what I mean? The people watching was excellent.

DSC00450This 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.

DSC00472DSC00499Mark 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.

DSC00758DSC00759DSC00760DSC00761DSC00762DSC00763DSC00460DSC00482 DSC00483DSC00498DSC00503DSC00539
DSC00521 DSC00522 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!

DSC00525DSC00540DSC00544We found something for the little one!

DSC00553I 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.

IMG_8326IMG_8872DSC00564One 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.

DSC00575DSC00580Do you see the cheering, dancing, and singing?! It was hard to not feel a little jealous of all those merry, party-goers.

DSC00600IMG_8832DSC00607IMG_8836 DSC00608 DSC00614DSC00802The next day we went to the old, gated Ocktoberfest grounds. It was much calmer and child-friendly. A welcome change after the party we witness (and didn’t participate in the night before).

DSC00635 DSC00637 DSC00641 DSC00642 DSC00644 DSC00647 DSC00658 DSC00686Mark was picked from the crowd to participate in a wonky bike riding competition.

DSC00713James watched his papa with awe.

DSC00704DSC00715DSC00718He won! I’m not sure what the exact criteria was but everyone cheered loudest for him so he won a lebkuchen heart cookie. That’s my man!

DSC00725DSC00727DSC00731DSC00738IMG_8292IMG_8863DSC00782The next day we explored a bit of Munich before boarding our train back north.

IMG_8849A lucky lady, apparently.

DSC00817I would have loved one of these!! High end designers make dirndls and they are gorgeous. Too bad that means they are designer prices…

IMG_8330IMG_8332DSC00813DSC00815I loved walking along the beautiful stores with Mark while James slept in the carrier. It almost felt like we were on a date! I love baby-wearing and traveling.

IMG_8903We stopped to have lunch with some friends (another Fulbright/Princeton family, actually), before getting back on the train for home. It was good to see some familiar faces (this is not them)!

DSC00818Ugh. Time. What a baby face compared to now!

IMG_8340Goodbye 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.



The Dixons


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