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Ah Oktoberfest, We Meet Again


View World Tour 2022 on Glichez's travel map.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

I was up early this morning so I could finish packing my bags and getting ready to depart from Santiago. I had time to grab breakfast, so I went to a nearby cafe to have some coffee and a final slice of Santiago cake. It was a quite and peaceful way to wrap up my time in Spain.

I planned to take the bus from the city to the airport as it was quite cheap (1 EUR), so I left the hotel at 10:00 to walk over to a bus stop. The main bus terminal was a 15-minute walk from the hotel, but I found a stop that was much closer and waited there for the bus. The bus itself arrived at 10:30 and was very crowded, but I managed to store my bag and stand in the rear of the bus. The ride lasted around 40 minutes and was a miserable ride: it was overly crowded and very hot inside the bus. The bus did retrace many of the paths that we had walked from Lebacolla to Santiago, which was somewhat amusing. Needless to say, I was very happy to finally get off the bus at the airport.

Everything at the airport was smooth and easy. As I was boarding the plane, I noticed there was a small grass fire near to one of the runways, but no one seemed alarmed by it (I assume it was a controlled burn?). I laughed at the thought that it was the start of my group burning Spain to the ground – it had begun! I had a short layover in Madrid, where I grabbed a quick bite to eat before catching my flight to Munich.

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I landed in Munich just after 19:00 and unfortunately it took ages for our bags to reach baggage claim. It wasn't until after 20:00 that I was on board the S-Bahn train into the city center. Munich's public transport is so efficient and pleasant to ride; I found a seat and relaxed during the 40-minute trip to the main train station. Once there, I found the above-ground tram station and took the tram over to my hotel.

I had luckily managed to book a hotel nearly a year ago for this weekend at a reasonable rate – hostels and other places were now going for well over 150EUR per night during Oktoberfest! The hotel had contactless check-in, which was easier than I had anticipated. The room itself was very nice and much larger than expected: there was a small kitchenette, two desks, a small twin bed, and a spacious bathroom. It would be perfect for my stay in Munich!

It was nearly 22:00 by the time I got settled into the hotel room, so I just relaxed for the evening by watching some Netflix before going to bed. It was going to be a busy and eventful weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2022

Today I didn't have much planned for the morning. My friend Julian, who I had met back in June in Central America, was taking the train in from Switzerland this afternoon, so I had a few hours until he arrived. I took the tram back into the city center, where I planned to do some reading. Before getting coffee, I stopped at a bakery at the train station to buy two butter pretzels – my favorite breakfast in Germany! The pretzels are the perfect size, sliced in half, and a good amount of butter spread between the halves. It is one of the things that I look forward to most whenever I visit Bavaria.

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With breakfast finished, I did a short walk around the city center: admiring the beautiful Neues Rathaus and Marienplatz, before walking over to the nearby Sankt-Jakobs-Platz. It was here that I found a Camino shell on the side of the church in the square – yes, one of the many Camino routes begins in Munich! I have walked through this square numerous times over the years, but never noticed the shell.

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For the next several hours, I worked on my blog and did some reading while having some coffee. I was a total basic bitch and at a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, quite unapologetic about it as well. The PSL is one of the highlights of fall for me: I love this time of year and anything pumpkin related brings me joy.

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At 14:30, I left the Starbucks and walked to a coffee shop close to the main train station, where I was to meet Julian. The entrance to the train station was under construction and I thought meeting at the coffee shop would be the easiest place. Julian arrived just after 15:00 and I was so happy to see him again! We have been chatting a lot since the end of our trip in Central America and I had been eagerly awaiting our reunion.

This was Julian's first visit to Munich, so I decided to take him on a brief tour of the city center area before dinner. We walked through Marienplatz and stopped to have a quick beer before the glockenspiel show. It was wonderful getting to catch up with Julian and to discuss everything that we've been up to over the past few months. At 17:00, we returned to the Marienplatz to watch the glockenspiel show. It's a simple show of a wedding celebration, but it is still impressive to watch (especially the jousting knights).

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Afterwards, we walked over to Odeonsplatz, where I showed him the Feldhernhalle army monument. While it is a beautiful monument to the Bavarian army with many statues, it does have a dark connection to the Nazi party. It was in this square that World War One was announced and there is a famous picture of Hitler among the crowd on that day. It was also here that the 1923 Nazi Beer Hall Putsch was stopped. Once they gained power, the Nazis erected a memorial to the Nazis who died in 1923 and all citizens who passed by that side of the Feldhernhalle were required to give the Nazi salute. To avoid doing this, many people would walk down a small alley behind the Feldhernhalle and then walk along the other side of the Feldhernhalle. There is a train of bronze bricks in the alley to commemorate this small resistance to the Nazis.

I then took Julian over to the Hofbrauhaus, where we hoped to stop for dinner. I typically avoid this particular beer hall because it is always packed with people (especially tourists), and today was no exception. We were unable to find any open seats inside, so we chose to go to a different beer hall for dinner en route back to the hotel.

We took the tram out toward the hotel and stopped off at the Lowenbraukeller for dinner. It was far less busy and we had no trouble getting a table. We each ordered a beer (which came in the traditional 1L glass mugs) and also ordered the meal for two, which came with pork, sauerkraut, and dumplings. It was all delicious, but it was more food than we could finish. The band played throughout dinner and Julian was treated to his first exposure to the drinking song “Ein Prosit” which I told him we'd hear a lot of at the Oktoberfest tomorrow. The band even played “God Save the King/Queen” at one point, which I assume was requested by a British patron.

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With dinner done, we walked the rest of the way back to the hotel. I felt bad for Julian as I only had the floor to offer as a place to sleep, but I had forewarned him of this well in advance. He brought a sleeping bag and a small air mattress to sleep on, but I still felt bad for him because I couldn't imagine how it would be comfortable. We got settled in and soon went to bed so we could be up early for Oktoberfest!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Julian and I were up at 08:00 this morning so we could get ready for the day. Our only plan: Oktoberfest!

Since this was the first Oktoberfest to be held since the Covid-19 pandemic, we anticipated that it would be more crowded than usual, especially since this was a weekend. The beer tents opened at 09:00 and we planned to arrive around then as well to make sure that we would have a spot at one of the tables. We walked over to the nearby U-Bahn station and took the metro to the Theresienwiese, where Oktoberfest was held each year. There were so many obnoxious tourists on the train and walking into the 'Wiesen, that we were worried they would ruin the event for us. Luckily this did not turn out to be the case.

Once inside, we did a short walk around the fairgrounds so Julian could get a true feel for the event. The size and number of beer tents, I think, surprised him and we soon decided it was time to get our first mass (liter of beer) of the day. We settled on the Spaten tent, which was mercifully quite empty and grabbed some seats at one of the long tables. We bought two pretzels, two beers (now priced at 13.60 EUR each!), and hung out while we ate and drank. As we drank our first beer, the tent began to fill up and soon we were joined at our table by numerous other guests (mostly Germans).

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When we finished our first drinks, we decided to order a second mass and split another pretzel. The band finally arrived and began to play during our second round of drinks. As predicted, “Ein Prosit” was played quite frequently, and we sang along to it each time, toasting and drinking at the end. I had forgotten that the second weekend of Oktoberfest was known as “Italian weekend” because so many Italians visit over this particular weekend (why, I do not know); they were everywhere. Some German football fans began singing football songs, which was fun, but they soon got annoyingly loud and obnoxious.

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We finished our second beers and then went back out to have a proper walk around the 'Weisen. The tents line one side of the fairgrounds, with various food stalls dotted around selling all manner of German fast-food. The other side of the fairgrounds are filled with amusement park rides, making it the more family-friendly side of Oktoberfest. The crowd was getting bigger now that the day had properly begun (it was 12:30 by this point).

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I had the crazy (and drunk) idea to ride one of the rollecoasters and Julian agreed. We picked the Olympia coaster, which is themed after the Olympics, and it has five loops in it (one for each of the Olympic rings). The price was rather steep at 12EUR, but we were tipsy and happily paid. We grabbed the second row seat in the car and the ride began. It was a lot of fun, with some steep falls, but it was the numerous inversion loops that made me think this wasn't such a good idea. Luckily, the ride ended before it made me sick, but I vowed to never do a ride like that after having two beers again.

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We did a little more walking around and I bought a commemorative mug for the 2022 Oktoberfest. I have bought one each time I have visited the official Oktoberfest, so I needed one from this year to join the collection. To my disappointment, I didn't see any of the traditional glass mugs with the 2022 logo on them; the stalls only had ceramic mugs with this year's logo. The stall we went to only had one mug remaining, but it had a small chip on the base of it; the man agreed to sell it to me for a reduced price and I agreed (the chip wouldn't even be noticeable when it was sitting on a shelf).

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I then stopped to get a half-meter long bratwurst to eat as I was getting rather hungry. Despite looking rather... um, well, you know... it tasted delicious! I ate it quite quickly so we could find another tent to have one final drink. It had started to lightly rain as we had walked around, but we were lucky that it was only a drizzle and not a downpour.

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The nearby Hacker-Pschorr was busy, but we decided to check out the outdoor balcony seating. It was packed with people, but we managed to find two spots at one of the benches. We ordered our third (and final) mass of the day. As we drank, we chatted a lot more, especially about personal things, which was rather nice to be able to bond more. Julian is a really funny, insightful, and intelligent guy; I told him that I was so incredibly happy that he could join me for Oktoberfest!

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With our third beers finished, it was time to head out and back to the hotel (it was 15:30 at this point – we'd been at Oktoberfest for over 6 hours!). I was pretty tipsy/drunk by this point, but we'd had a great time together. We snapped a few final photos from around the fairgrounds before leaving, and then we headed for the exit. We skipped taking the U-Bahn this time and opted to walk back to the main train station, where we took the tram back to the hotel.

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Julian was planning to take the train back to Switzerland this evening, so we didn't have a lot of time to spend hanging out. He packed the rest of his things and then we caught the tram back to the train station. His train was departing at 17:00 and we made it to his train with about 10 minutes to spare. We hugged goodbye and I promised to come visit him in Switzerland sometime soon. I was sad to see him go, especially since we'd had such an amazing 24 hours together. I cannot wait to see him again, next time in his home country!

I went back to my hotel to relax for the night, with no plans on heading out since I was still tipsy from the beer. My friend Christian, who I had met six years ago on my safari trip in southern Africa, messaged me to see if I was available for dinner tonight. Since he was super busy these days with work, I knew this would be our one chance to meet up, so I said I would meet him out at the airport at 20:00 for dinner. He works at the airport and lives nearby, so it would have been a huge hassle for him to come into the city center; since I didn't have anything else going on, I didn't mind going out to meet him.

Christian and I met at a restaurant in the airport terminal; it was amazing getting to see him again! He hadn't changed a bit: still the same upbeat, happy, and extremely friendly schatz that I had met all those years ago. It had been over three years since we last met up and we had a lot of catching up to do! When we'd met in Africa, he was traveling with his then-girlfriend Svenja, who was also amazing, and they were still together when last we'd met. However, they'd since broken up... and now Christian was married and had a two-month old daughter! He showed me some pictures of his new family and his daughter is so incredibly cute. I was so glad to hear how well things had been going for Christian over the past few years. We spent a few hours chatting, having drinks, and eating dinner; I had a really great time with him. The restaurant closed at 23:00 and Christian had to work early in the morning, so we got the bill so we could leave. Christian insisted on paying for everything since I had come all the way out to see him, which was very kind and generous of him (I tried to insist that I pay for my portion, but he refused). I left to catch the train back to the city and we hoped that it wouldn't be another three years before we meet up again!

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I got back to the hotel around midnight and went straight to bed – I was exhausted after a long and fun-filled day with my friends!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

I woke up this morning at 08:00 and decided to have a bit of a lazy morning around the hotel. I needed to repack my bags now that I'd bought the Oktoberfest mug (my suitcase was already packed full, but I somehow managed to get everything inside).

My main plan for today was to meet my friend Matthias, who I had met on the Camino, and his girlfriend at Oktoberfest in the afternoon. Before that, I decided to head into the city and do some reading for a couple of hours. It was a nice way to recover from yesterday and prepare for another day at the 'Wiesen.

I arrived at Oktoberfest just before 14:00 and quickly found Matthias and Sina outside of the Marstall tent. It was amazing to see Matthias again (awwww!) and he looked very handsome in his lederhosen (GOSH!). He introduced me to Sina, who I had heard about a lot during our days walking the Camino. She is a lovely woman and very friendly; I was glad to finally meet her!

We walked over to the Paulaner beer hall, where we were able to get some seats in the outdoor beer garden area. Matthias bought us a pretzel to share and then we ordered a round of drinks (I had a beer, while Matthias and Sina shared a Radler and a non-alocholic beer). We spent the next couple of hours just chatting away and I really enjoyed getting to know Sina. They are a very good couple and I could instantly see the excellent chemistry between them.

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Matthias's company had made reservations at the Spaten beer hall for this afternoon at 16:00, so I had planned on just having the one drink with them before they had to meet his coworkers. However, Matthias invited me to join them at the Spaten tent, which I was surprised to learn was possible since I thought all of the spaces were reserved. When we met his group outside of the text, they still had some of their tickets available and Matthias very kindly bought me one (and wouldn't let me pay for it – he just charged me three hugs – awwww, GOSH!). The entry ticket came with two drink vouchers and a voucher for a meal; I just had to pay the tip for the drinks and then any price different between the food voucher and the cost of the meal. It was a great deal!

Wristbands on, we entered the Spaten tent and found our table in row 13 (“unlucky for some...” as Belinda Blumenthal would say... if you know, you know). I met several of his coworkers, who were all so friendly and welcoming; it soon felt like we were all old friends just enjoying drinks together. The tent was absolutely packed with people and the band was playing some fun oompah music to keep the mood lively. And yes, “Ein Prosit” was played ad nauseam.

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I remarked to Matthias and Sina that so many of the waitstaff this year were men; on my previous visits to Oktoberfest, the waitstaff had been primarily women. They were surprised as well. Sina told us that the staff can make around 10,000 EUR during the Oktoberfest and the jobs are highly sought after. Apparently, the waiters pay for the beers themselves when they order at the counter and then they keep the money from the customers. However they do it, they are efficient and attentive, which is amazing. Keep the beer flowing!

Our table had two very handsome (dare I say, sexy?) waiters: Felix and Tobias. Felix had a good sense of humor and would joke around with us a lot whenever he came by to take some orders. I ordered a beer from him, while several other people order Radlers. It was difficult to hear the people at the end of the table, so Felix made a hand gesture like pedals on a bicycle to indicate Radlers (Matthias explained the meaning to me later, but it became a joke for us). Tobias was the more attractive of the two, especially since his lederhosen really showed off his ass-ets. Matthias even joked that we would just called him Tobi-ass from now on. I was talking with one of Matthias's coworkers at some point and Tobias came by and joined the conversation in perfect English. I joked that I had to be careful what I say in Germany since everyone speaks such good English!

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With the first round of drinks delivered, I decided to order my dinner. Matthias and Sina were delighted to find a small selection of vegan options on the menu, which I had noticed yesterday when Julian and I were in the same tent. I ordered a pork dish with dumpling; it was so good, especially the crispy pork skin! I could have happily eaten another serving!

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Around this time, another coworker named Benny joined the table. Matthias had told me that he can drink a lot of beer at each Oktoberfest and that he was a fun drunk. He was very friendly and very funny; we spent the rest of the evening chatting and joking around. Another coworker, named Ben, sat next to me and we spent a long time talking as well. As I said, everyone there was so incredibly kind, particularly to me since they had to speak English with me.

I ordered another drink with my second drink ticket (this being my overall third beer of the afternoon) and then the real party began. The lights flipped from normal to blue ones and the band began to play some fun pop songs, including ABBA. We all stood up on the benches to dance around and sing along to the music

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At some point, I ordered yet another beer, bringing my total for the day to four – that's four liters of beer in roughly the space of six hours. I somehow also got another pretzel, though my recollection of ordered this mystery pretzel remains... fuzzy. I was having a wonderful time hanging out with Matthias, Sina, Benny, and Ben. We were all very drunk (well, except for Matthias and Sina, who had to drive home this evening). The singing and dancing atop the benches continued for a couple of hours. This was, by far, the best time that I've had at Oktoberfest!

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Around 20:30 the group began to break up and head home or to other tents. Benny left at some point, though I honestly have no memory of him leaving. When it was time for Matthias and Sina to leave, I left the tent with them; we snapped a few last pictures together before saying goodbye. Then... everything gets pretty fuzzy for me.

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I had come with the intent of having just one beer today and had ended up having four, so yeah, I was drunk. Very drunk. I recall walking (stumbling?) out of the fairgrounds and over to the train station, though how I found the correct tram stop is beyond me. I also have a brief memory of getting off the tram at the correct stop, though I only knew it was the correct stop because of the help of Google Maps. Just before returning to the hotel, I went inside the nearby convenience store to get a Coke... and I think the cashier was trying to close up when I walked in... I don't know. Does it matter?

I was in my bed and passed out by 21:30, thoroughly drunk, but it was all worth it. This was the perfect way to celebrate Oktoberfest – and to truly celebrate finishing the Camino! Prost!

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Posted by Glichez 07:36 Archived in Germany

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