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My birthday is this month and I turned 50, so wanting to do something I always I want to do I headed over the Munich, Germany for the famous Oktoberfest. Contrary to what you might think, it starts in mid September and goes into the first week of October.
It was part of a larger trip that I will write about another time. We got into Munich on the Friday before it started and planned on going to the opening ceremonies. Honestly we had not done a whole lot of research before going so we had a lot to learn.
Which brings me to my first lesson, if you want to actually sit down inside a tent and have a beer, you should reserve a seat. However, you need to do that about a YEAR in advance. Well obviously we didn’t do that so we had to just show up. Luckily we changed our minds and decided to go day two.
Lesson two; if you don’t reserve in advance go during the week, preferably in the morning. We went about noon on Sunday, we were however very fortunate. It was a lousy rainy day, this was a GOOD thing. Why, you ask?
Well, it kept away a lot of the crowds. We were able to get into all the major tents before they closed. Yes, the “tents” close and you then cannot get in, maybe for the rest of the day. Side note, why they are called “tents” is beyond me, there is nothing tentlike about them. They are huge buildings, basically decorated warehouses with might have been a fabric roof.
Lesson three; if you want to drink a beer, you need to be SEATED in a tent. You cannot get served just standing around, and that’s all we were able to do. You also cannot drink outside of the tents! There are no “beer stands” anywhere. If you’re not in a tent, seated, no drinking for you!
Luckily, there was some outside seating that was covered and we were able to secure a seat there and get our liters of beer.
Lesson four, you cannot be shy, you will have to ask people if you can sit at their tables. You are never going to just find an open table.
Lesson five; bring cash, there are no credit cards accepted anywhere that I saw. Not even the souvenir stands where I bought a stein and a shirt.
Lesson six; bring Tylenol or your favorite headache medicine, I had the worst hangover the next morning - something about that draft beer!
It was a fun time and I highly recommend it, just do some planning and learn from my mistakes.