Well it did for teenage Sadie. I used to watch the Travel Channel profusely as a kid, and almost every day I was adding another destination to my list of places to go once I had made enough money to actually travel.
Marti Gras, Carnival, New Years in Times Square, Full Moon Party, we’ve all heard of them. These are the parties that bring in 1000s of people from all over the world. They have huge parades and people are extravagantly dressed. The crowds are carefree and everyone has a great time, or so it would seem.
I wanted to experience this so badly!
My freshman year of college I was lucky enough to make friends with a girl from New Orleans. If you know someone from New Orleans, you know they have a lot of pride in their city, and Marti Gras is a big deal, so it wasn’t long before I found myself walking amongst the crowd on Bourbon Street.
This year I found myself in Germany at the time of Oktoberfest, so why not partake in the festivities! Especially since my sister and brother-in-law said they would fly over and join Alan and me.
We stayed outside of Munich in the town of Stuttgart. One thing I have learned is not to stay in the heart of the party. I made this mistake when I was in Koh Phangan and vowed never to do it again.
It was only a short train ride to the Munich anyway and we weren’t planning on going to Oktoberfest everyday we were there.
We took some time and walked around the city before going to the actual festival.
Families were dressed in their dirndls and lederhosen. We got there just in time to catch the parade marching its way through the city.
The German comradery was strong, and I was so excited to get to join in the festivities.
Our first stop was the original Hofbrauhaus, and it was my favorite part of the day. This beer hall is full of history. It’s one of the few places in the city that made it through the war, and Hitler gave a famous speech there. As bad as he was, he is a prominent figure in history, and it’s a weird feeling being in the same place that he was so many years ago.
The place was packed, but we were able to find a seat within a few minutes. Hofbrauhaus was what I expected a traditional German beer hall to look and feel like. They had a band playing, and the crowd was full of enthusiastic energy. Groups of people would start singing together and swaying their beer steins. It was a lot of fun!
We were at Hofbrauhaus for a couple of hours drinking beer and eating some fresh made pretzels before making our way to the actual festival.
I didn’t realize that Oktoberfest was a full on carnival. We walked through the gates to see people all over the places and rides everywhere. Some for the kids, but most of them were for adult thrill seekers, which made me more than happy. I love roller coasters, and was ready to jump on one of the extreme rides, but that didn’t happen.
We started to get in line and noticed the price. 8 euro for one ride! That’s insane to me. Most of the rides last for what 20 seconds at the most. No way was I going to pay that kind of money.
Since we weren’t going to enjoy the thrills of the carnival, we made our way to one of the beer tents.
There was a line out the door, and the wait was going to be a good hour or more. I know you can prebook tickets to get in, but I didn’t think it was going to be that crazy.
They did have seats at some of the tables outside, so we plopped down at the Lowenbrau tent and ordered a couple of beers.
The only way I can describe the crowd is obnoxious. As we were sitting there, I was looking around and so many people were beligerant, and it was only 1:30 in the afternoon!
Maybe it’s because I’m not an early 20 something anymore, but I was more annoyed by the crowd than wanting to join in. The guy behind my sister was passed out on the table with a broken stein next to him. His friends (if you can call them that) were pouring beer on his head and slapping him.
The group behind me kept flailing around and hitting my back. I tried to show that I was annoyed, but only provoked them to grab me and try to get me to join them.
The girls looked like they were competing in a sexy Halloween contest rather than trying to embrace the culture by wearing the traditional garb. I know how a dirndl is supposed to look and in no way are your stomach and ass cheeks supposed to show.
After a couple of beers, we had had our fill of the festival and were ready to leave.
I can’t say that visiting Oktoberfest was a horrible experience because, for the most part, the day was enjoyable. I just wish we had stuck to visiting the local beer halls with more civilized crowds rather than going to the actual festival.