02 October 2007

Bad Oktoberfest tips

let me in

So last weekend a few friends and I hit the road to see what all the Oktoberfest fuss is about.  I can recommend not following these really bad tips:

1)  Assume there will be no traffic thereby experiencing a nice surprise when the journey takes 10hrs rather than the under 7 that you were hoping.

2)  Drive the whole way yourself, thus preventing you from sleeping on arrival as your brain is still running at 200kmph.

3)  Arrive later than the campsite is open to engage in local dialect with the campsite security staff.

4)  Eat only snacks during the journey and for breakfast so that you have a completely empty stomach once the driking commences.

5)  Wake up early enough so that you don't have a good nights sleep but late enough so that there aren't any free tables at the festival.

If you follow these above tips you'll end up like me, face down on the table asleep as darkness falls.  Luckily for me, I was amongst great company who dragged my dead weight back to the campsite in one piece before the scary men in leather shorts and beards abused me.  Up until I performed the "Jimbob", I had an amazing time.  Just checkout these pictures:

the first of many

table from above

my view

In 2005, nearly 6 million people visited the Oktoberfest which runs for about 2 weeks and just over 6 million litres of beer are consumed, half a million roasted chickens and 80+ oxon devoured.  I've seen reports that over a million people visited the opening weekend of this years Oktoberfest.  That's quite nutts considering the entire population of host city Munich is just a fraction more at about 1.3 million.


The volume of people is like nothing else I have experienced.  The closest thing I can describe it to is like a music festival but without the music, crap beer or paper cups.  We were lucky to get a table after some cheeky flirting skills by the girls and the generousity of some Germans who helped us order some beers from their table.  But once the crowds really picked up it was a full on rugby scrum to get to the toilets only 20m away - just like being at the front of a Prodigy concert.  Thankfully all beer is served at the tables so the only movement is back and forth to the tiolets.  (Perhaps I should've also made movements to the eating places then maybe I would've been able to last longer than a 40yr old virgin in a brothel but hey)

The German table friends

The tents open at 9am and are full by 9:15.  By tents, I mean aircraft hangers.  Most where bigger than I've seen at the Leeds or V music festivals.  There is a reservation system but I believe it's way in advance and pot luck anyway.  So we were told to queue really early and hope for the best.  We got there at 10am after travelling from the out of town campsite and had to settle for sitting on the many benches outside the tents.  By no means is this a compromise as the singing, dancing and general carnage is experienced throughout the site.

Hofbrauhaus lunch

Surprisingly, Sunday was quite painless.  Probably cos I barfed out any nasty chemicals left in my body on the way back from the bus to my tent on Saturday night.  However, I very much doubt I was the only one.  We cruised into Munich city centre to enjoy some more sights and sun before heading back on the road home.  By chance we stumbled accross the Hofbrauhaus and popped in to witness more crazy German drinking carnage and scran a large portion of pork and potato to bind our empty stomachs.

someone stole my trousers

Whilst travelling home, the offer of shared driving was much appreciated and we all crusied home dozing in the back of my car or insulting my iPod contents.  There was still some horrible traffic but we made it home in a bearable 9 hours.  The festival pro's far outweighed the journey cons and I will be back for sure...albeit a little more physically prepared ;-)

Before I go, I quote from an opening weekend report:

<The Red Cross ambulance service counted only 60 so-called "beer corpses" -- people who had drunk themselves into unconsciousness -- on Saturday, half as many as last year, but a spokeswoman for the Munich police had her doubts about the figure. "I can't imagine it was so few," she told SPIEGEL ONLINE, adding that the police attended to 112 incidents over the weekend and detained 53 people for a variety of offenses>

Just imagine a million Brits drinking in one place and how many offenses you think there would be?!  The vibe at Oktoberfest was genuinly awesome :-)

All my pictures can be seen here or in slideshow format here.  Kerry also has a nice selection of photos on her Facebook account here


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