AS WE sat outside in the pouring rain, our meal of sausages was slowly drowning, our raincoats were gradually failing and our spirits were becoming increasingly disheartened. We sat and heard the remnants of the opening day parade as some mumbled how they wanted to go home. Yet all was to rapidly change. All over the festival grounds, canon blasts were heard – it had begun.
Instantaneously our voluptuous Frauline heaved 10 steins of beer onto our table which was received by a huge cheer amongst the group and as if by magic, the clouds opened and glorious sunshine spread over Munich.
I have just returned from the Making History Society trip to the original ‘Oktoberfest’ in Munich. For those of you who have not heard of its fame, ‘Oktoberfest’ is an annual beer festival that attracts around seven million people a year and has been running since the nineteenth century.
The core of the festival are the fourteen beer halls that seat up to ten-thousand each. Each hall is created by a different local brewery and all have different themes and focuses. The rest of the festival is full of smaller beer halls, scrumptious, traditional food stalls and a huge fairground.
‘Oktoberfest’ is fantastic because it just oozes Bavarian culture. It is near enough obligatory to dress up in traditional garb; lederhosen for the men and dirndl for the women, I only made my outfit but I reckon I would have stood out if I had not of bothered at all. The food is sublime and I practically had sausages coming out of my ears by the end of the weekend.
My favourite dishes were raclette which was glorified cheese on toast, and pork knuckle. I agree, it sounds foul but it was beautifully tender and like any meat off the bone, super flavoursome. I must admit, although vegetarian options are available, I would think it could get difficult at times simply because their traditional foods is pretty much pure meat.
One of the fantastic parts of the festival was that there were no half measures, literally. You could only order a masse which is a litre. I could barely lift a full one with two hands so it is quite something seeing the waitresses walk around with ten. These were about ten euros each and considering there is about three pints in each, it isn’t too expensive.
One important point to note is that you have to be seated to order a beer, you are more than welcome to loiter in the tents to soak up the atmosphere but there isn’t any chance of you being served unless you have a table. As we were there on the opening day, seats were like gold dust, thankfully we got lucky. You are able to book tables online but these are sometimes booked a year in advance!
The society have already planned another trip to Prague for Easter time next year. Click here for more information.