We’ve always been planning to begin our trip in New Zealand and end it in Oktoberfest. I don’t remember how we came up with this idea, but as soon as we did, I knew it was perfect. The world’s largest beer festival would be a fitting way to end our year-long escapades. That we actually stuck to our plan and made it here is pretty hard to believe.
We spent two days at Oktoberfest. The first time we went was on Friday night and it was wild. The grounds were so packed we could barely walk around. In our first ten minutes there, we saw dozens of people passed out or puking in the grass. After that, we saw a bouncer beat up some guy that was trying to sneak into a tent. You can only get beer if you’re sitting in a tent, and the tents were all packed. Instead of an orderly line waiting to get in, there were just masses of people crowding around the door, occasionally getting pushed back by the security guards. It was all a little too rough for our tastes.
Eventually we found a small, mellow beer garden with room for us, so we sat down and met a group of people from New York (one of them grew up with Wisconsin basketball player Trevon Hughes) and an older German guy named Peter. Peter teaches English in Germany and has traveled extensively, including hitchhiking through America in the 80′s. He went backpacking through ??Tahiti on his latest trip. He was a cool guy and we ended up hanging out with him the rest of the night. Later on we managed to get inside the??Schottenhamel tent, which is the oldest and largest one. It seats 10,000 people and is where the mayor taps the first keg each year. While we were there, we stood on a table with a group of young people from Munich. They explained to us that ten years ago, nobody wore the traditional??lederhosen or??dirndl, but in more recent years it’s become cool again and now everybody wears it.
We spent most of Saturday recovering and on Sunday we did some sightseeing in Munich. We watched the surfers in a man-made wave in the??Isar River, relaxed in the beer garden under the Chinese pagoda in the English Garden, and saw the central square and cathedral. Before we went back to the Oktoberfest grounds on Monday, Brad decided he wanted to get into the spirit of the party, so he bought his own lederhosen, checkered shirt, and wool socks.
Oktoberfest on Monday was much calmer than it had been on Friday night. We looked inside all the big tents and ate some incredible food. There are stands with rows and rows of rotisserie chicken. I had the best currywurst I’ve had yet. Then we checked out the massive carnival part of the grounds. It’s about the size of several football fields and includes some pretty intense rides. After spending the afternoon there, we went straight to the airport and boarded our plane. However, before we went home, we enjoyed a little bonus time in Dublin…