Fourth Week – Peach Week: Part One – Oktoberfest

So yes, because this internship happens to be a Fall Internship and I’m here in Germany, I decided to take a weekend trip to Munich to catch the 200th Anniversary of Oktoberfest”. Hopefully through this report I can show you the do’s and don’t’s of off-handed weekend trips that you will probably take on your foreign (or even domestic) internship.

If you’re in Europe, your weekend trip will probably involve a train-and that’s awesome! Because Trains are convienent and cheap; they also can be painless if you know what you’re doing. For instance, is very easy to understand and they have discount tickets for weekends. A Schoenes-Wochenende ticket is good for all of Germany for one day for any of the trains except the fast/international ones (ICE and IC trains).
Make sure you have time in between your stops because rushing to a train is not fun and I’ve had to do it before on more than one occasion due to my train being late.

Getting there was really cool, but since the awesome guy in the Lederhosen offered me two beers in the train (keep in mind this is German beer), I was already feeling quite ‘good’ if you know what I’m saying.

Getting there was easy, but it’s always smart to bring a map. Sounds obvious but I was the only person there with one. However for Oktoberfest specifically you honestly don’t need one to get to the event since you just follow the crowd.

Believe it or not it’s a lot like Ocean City, MD in a lot of ways. There are carnival rides everywhere, beer tents which basically look like huge German style warehouses where they serve beer, game booths, and Chachkis shops with souvenirs and these heart cookies called Lebkuchenherz that you can give to your loved ones. As far as analogies go, Salt Water Taffy is to Ocean City as Lebkuchenherz is to Oktoberfest, Thrashers is to Ocean City as Pretzels are to Oktoberfest, and Fischer’s Popcorn is to Ocean City as Roasted Nuts are to Oktoberfest. Like OC, this place looks like it was modeled for families with the rides, shops, music and fun they have there. So there were many families there, however there were more drunk people than families.

This is the Hofbräuhaus Beer Tent – the most famous Beer tent in all of Oktoberfest due the fact that they have the best beer in Germany. Subsequently, it’s the hardest to get it.

General Advice for Oktoberfest – Beer Tents are awesome, but if you want to get in one you’re going to have to put up with at least something whether that be (rightfully)angry ass guards who have been putting up with drunken idiots all day or the drunken idiots themselves who will be shoving and screaming to get in front of the mosh pit. For me it was a combination of both, because you can’t get into a beer tent (especially this one) by pushing you’re way through, or else someone who was waiting in front of you will punch your face in (everyone is drunk). So you have to let the guards essentially do it for you. By this time I was a little more sober so while the guards were pushing everyone back, I stood my place like you would do in the ocean. When a wave crashes in front of you, the water pushes you back but if you stand in the same place it’ll just go around you.

That is how I eventually got up front with the rest of my friends. The guards could see that I was obviously well-mannered and not drunk, so I could talk to them normally and politely. This is how I got in – which is a FEAT to do because usually you can’t get into this beer tent unless you wait from 5am.

But beer tents aside, Munich is amazing. When I wasn’t in Theresienwiese for Oktoberfest I went to Marienplatz to do some sightseeing. In the morning during the weekdays there is an amazing market around the corner where I met Martha Stewart back in 2008 (picture available on my Facebook). So if she likes the food there, I guess you should too.

When I was done sightseeing I bought My Dirndl Dress and then went back to Frankfurt with the rest of my group who just happen to be from a city around there. This was a very successful trip and I learned many invaluable lessons ranging from knowing my alcohol limits, whether or not I should trust my gut about something, and that things never truly appear to be how they seem.

To point out the most valuable lesson I learned, the number one lesson of this blog post is to always travel with a group of friends -whether you be male or female (although, unfortunately, this lesson is more pertinent towards women). As I mentioned in my last post, I went on this trip alone and luckily I was able to meet a great group of people to travel with. But you may not always be so lucky. No one truly has a “good judge of character” as I learned this weekend. To keep it short, in the group there were many different guys from different places, and the one guy I thought was the nicest of them all turned out not to be, but the guy I was initially intimidated by turned out to be the genuine, nice, friendly, and very well-grounded person of the group. He and I found out we had a lot in common and became really good friends. Sometimes your gut is all you have in these situations, but sometimes even your gut can be wrong. When this happens, re-evaluate your situation, contact someone you can trust, and make a well thought out plan about where to go or what you should do to get to somewhere or someone you feel comfortable around. If you don’t have the means of contacting someone, remove yourself from the situation at all costs and get to a phone. Luckily my situation didn’t call for such drastic measures, but it could have very easily. Yet all that matters now is that I’m safe, I had a great time, I learned a lot-

And I got my Dirndl Dress.

All pictures belong to Theresa Stromberg and may not be used outside of this blog without permission.