Guiding you through our first time at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest 2017… well, what can I say. It’s one of the best festivals I’ve been to thus far in my 25 years of existence and I can confidently say that all the people who I spoke to over the 4 days would feel the same.

Ok, so let’s rewind a few steps.

Firstly, for years my mum would tell stories about how much fun she once had at Oktoberfest and how she met some of her best friends who are still close to our family today. Standing on tables, cheers-ing, singing and drinking beer.

“Ok mum that sounds fun” I would say…but really thinking, ‘I’ve stood on plenty tables drinking beer, it can’t be that special.

Secondly, Oktoberfest is actually in September. Rumor has it, Oktoberfest started in October, 1810. Which is how bloody long ago?! So cool! Basically a Prince was marrying a Princess and the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the celebrations…now known as Oktoberfest. Because the temperatures are a bit chilly in October, they just moved it forward a month. Interesting right?

Coming in hot with the crew, our first mission was to find and purchase our outfits for the event. If you’ve ever seen photos or Oktoberfest, or know of the event, then you’ll know that most people wear the traditional German Bavarian outfits. “Lederhosen” for the male and “Dirndil” for the female. These make anyone look on top of the world happy.

Leah, Josh, Fil and I got ours at the main train station in Munich Called Hauptbahnhof. Check out this store if you’re in need an outfit, it’s easy to get to, they speak English and the price ranges from 80 – 110Euro for men and 39 – 89Euro for the ladies.  While trying mine on, I look in the mirror and say quietly, “the hell am I wearing?! It’s so uncomfortable.” Naturally the German lady asks if it is a good fit and I obviously reply with “perfect”…no time to be fussy. Just note, it’ll feel tight and a bit constricting at first, but give it an hour and a few steins & you’ll be right.

Arriving Thursday afternoon meant we had time to organise ourselves, so after we were all outfit ready, seven of us jumped on the train and headed 15 minutes out of town to find our accommodation. Met by an old German fullah, we say hey and drop our shit. Our apartment was classic. Imagine your grandma’s house, flower wallpaper, flower light fittings, flower bed linen, it even had flower body wash. Anyway you get the picture, it was crack up. We literally laughed our way back out the front door, back to the train station and headed for dinner. Seriously though, accomodation is super easy to find in Munich using either of our favs Booking.com, HostelWorld or Airbnb (Get $50NZ off your next trip by signing up HERE)

The Munich Hofbräuhaus. Keen for a crew dinner & a few warm up steins before kick off tomorrow, we arrived at the Munich Hofbräuhaus. Already feeling the atmosphere, we drank steins and had an epic feed. Pork belly, pork knuckle, roast chicken and chicken schnitzel to name a few. Heaven. I fully recommend this wether you’re in Munich for Oktoberfest or not, the whole place was pumping, especially when Hoppo, one of the crew, sculled his beer with his shorts round his ankles on the table. Yep, he was evicted pretty quickly.

FRIDAY – DAY 1
10:00am, headed for the festival. Meeting the rest of our crew on the train, there’s now 13 of us looking like tourists, lederhosen’s on, ready to rumble. We pass through the gates and holy cow, this place is incredible. Ever been to Disneyland? Well nope, neither have I, but this is what I imagine adult Disneyland looks like. Left and right, beer tents, roller coasters, gypsy fair games and thousands of people dressed up, ready to drink liters of beer and with that, we all joined in.

Straight to Hofbräuhaus (where all the rowdy Aussies & Kiwis are at), we walk in, twenty minutes past 10am and there’s already people standing on tables, sculling their steins. We find ourselves a spot and get amoungst the crazy antics. This goes on for most of the day, or what feels like ages but it’s really just a few hours. Seeing friends from all over the world, time flies when your having fun…or smashed from drinking beer.

Midday (ish) but who really knows and Leah and I find ourselves in line for the “fearfall” ride with some friends from NZ. It seems like such a great idea at the time and trust me, it was, but for some reason I kicked my shoes off at the top of the ride and watched them land roof of the tents below, how we managed to find them…I couldn’t really tell ya.

By now we’re all steaming and continuing on with whatever we did. Turns out Leah had been having a mojito high tea with Brooke, Tyler and Em at the old persons tent and for me…well again, I couldn’t really tell ya.

Few more hours go by and I was kicked out of Hofbräuhaus. Not wanting to leave I went back around the front door, snuck in and jumped straight on the table to sing and cheers my beers. Bad move, I’m now evicted from the whole festival, broken phone and no idea where I am. Luckily for me, the rest of the gang came to the rescue and found me somewhere, miles from the festival…whoops.

What a night, we head home and I kid you not, Leah thinks its starting to get light.

“Whats the time?” she asks.

“7:30” Em replies and Leah thinks its 7:30 am not pm…

“wait what?!” Leah says, “its just getting dark, not getting light?!?!” total confusion and disorientation, day 1 got us good.

SATURDAY – DAY 2
8am, the phone rings and I sit up out of bed. Bodies on the floor, everyone’s still sleeping and I yell “Ben’s here.”

Oh shit, it’s all on again. Thankfully, for some reason, we all wake up hangover free. Word on the street, the beer is made without preservatives and doesn’t make you feel like shit…whatever it is, I feel a million bucks, ready, set, go!!!

On the train again 10am, new recruit Bots is ready to meet the mayhem. This time we head to the Löwenbräu tent where we happen to find some more familiar faces from NZ. Johnny and crew, it’s like a Westlake reunion. They’re already two deep, so we kick into gear. Ben calls me out for a shoey (where you scull a beer out of your shoe for you old-timers), so I kick it off, fill up my right foot Nike janoski and scull. Now I’m good to go. Next minute I’m on Johnny’s shoulders singing Robbie Williams along with a few thousand others.

It soon gets out of hand which is the best part, everyone’s soaked in beer from doing straight arm sculls (look it up), broken steins are everywhere and everyones singing, yelling and chaaaaa whoooooing. The best thing about this place is that there’s so much to do. You can go from this tent to that, have a few steins, dance on some tables or go on the rides.

After another full day of beer and pork knuckles, we make it home again…this time by 9pm.

SUNDAY – DAY 3

Up same time today but with no plans to head to Oktoberfest. The crew sets sail for town, in the direction or the famous river wave. For the few of us who like to catch a wave or two, we were excited to see this for real and it was definitely very cool. About 12 different guys taking turns surfing the man made river wave, with about 100 people watching. Intimidating if you ask me but it looked fun for sure.

Feeling semi average, Fil and Bots on the train home, we head back the the apartment for a nap. Hoppo & Tim mention the word Oktoberfest and nek minute we’re all back there, singing, standing on the tables and getting shit faced…here we go again!

This time it’s later in the day so the stamina is good and we’re all loving life, even though the plan was to have a rest day, you just can’t deny the Oktoberfest spirit.  Next minute Josh disappears and Robbie Williams comes on. He’s requested the song, everyone’s up, arms around each other singing “AND AFTER ALL HE OFFERS ME PROTECTION, A LOT OF LOVE AND AFFECTION WETHER I’M RIGHT OR WRONG.” Beer everywhere, hugs everywhere, strange dance moves everywhere and a whole lot of fun. Day 3 – you were the winner.

To wrap this up, the best thing you can do is get involved next year. You’ll hands down experience one of the best things you’ve ever done. Mum, you were right!

Check out our top tips below and get yourself excited for 2018!!!

1. Dont stress if you haven’t brought your outfit on arrival. Grab one at the Huffelpuff train station when you get to Munich and you’ll be good to go.

2. BOOK EARLY – flights & accomodation are expensive if you leave it to the last minute. We booked our flights through skyscanner.com and our accom through booking.com

3. When booking accom, look at how far the place is from a train station and how easy that train station gets you to Oktoberfest. You don’t want to have to catch 2 trains and a tram just to get there.

4. CASH ONLY – so get some out before you go, the lines are huge there.

5. The event runs everyday for 3 weeks, so make sure you time yourselves up with any mates from around the world that you wanna catch up with. We choose the middle weekend.

6. Get there early each day to make sure you get a table. These fill up real quick.

7. Try the food at some of the tents – our fav the pork knuckle

8. Trains are the easiest/cheapest way to get around the city and to Oktoberfest.

9. The festival is safe and fun for the whole family, it’s not only a piss up for young drunk Kiwis.

10. Make sure you hit some of the rides, they’re fun AF!

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