The leaves are changing colour, the weather is getting cooler, the month is October, and that can mean only one thing….. This blog will take you all to Bavaria in the south of Germany to a large city called Munich. It will take you to a legendary German festival; one that some can argue is the main stereotype of Germany: Oktoberfest.
Before I jump into my experiences, I must first explain a little bit about myself and a reason for going down there (and actually learning the German language). My grandparents are German immigrants and moved to Canada in the late 50’s. My Opa (grandpa) comes from Bavaria and there is still much family who live there. I visited them, all who live in different towns, but all of which are in the vicinity of Munich.
So Oktoberfest. How can I possibly describe this “bucket-list” event? Think of it as Toronto’s Exhibition at the CNE, but rather with traditional Bavarian clothing, bigger, more excitement, and of course beer. There are tens of thousands of people, live music, amusement rides, shows, food stands, carnival games, souvenir shops, and then there are the beer tents. These tents are MASSIVE. I would guess that a couple thousand people could easily fit within them at any one time. I was in the Paulaner München tent, one of the biggest. They only serve 1 litre beers, which is refreshing and cold from the tap. The food is very appetizing as well. Just a few traditional Bavarian examples are Schweinshaxe (tender pig leg), Weißwurst (white sausages), Knödel (dumplings) and gravy, Brezel (pretzels), Kartoffelsalat (potato salad) and Apfelstrudel (an apple pastry).
When I flew to Germany in August, I visited my relatives first and I wanted to buy a pair of Lederhosen (the traditional Bavarian clothing for men. A woman wears a dress called a Dirndl). I have some Bavarian blood in me, so it only made sense to feel a part of the customs. Oktoberfest is very touristic, but it still seemed like almost everyone wore one. The songs they sing during the festivities are great. The songs are very jolly, loud and when everyone knows the lyrics and sings them proudly, it can send shivers down your spine. When the partying is at its peak, no one ever sits down. Everyone is standing on the benches, arms slung around each other swinging back and forth, big beers in hand and singing along.
To conclude, whoever wants to visit Germany one day, try to make it for the end of September or the beginning of October just to experience this event in Munich. And book everything early- I heard that hotels and hostels get booked super early only because of the mass amounts of visitors at this time of year.
I just hope that whatever my future job is, they will let me take time off in October because I want to go back Munich and visit the Oktoberfest often!