After spending a fairytale-like day at Neuschwanstein the day before, it was time to visit my very first Oktoberfest! I’m not a beer person; in fact I don’t enjoy the taste of beer. Beer is really an acquired taste and I suppose that it is possible to get used to the taste over time, but I’m not exactly striving to attain that position! Haha. Anyway, I was excited about visiting Oktoberfest, not just for the beer, but also to soak up the atmosphere.
There were many beer tents to choose from (14 in total) and each tent had its own unique selling position. One tent was renowned for its beautiful sky-themed ceiling, one tent for its pork knuckles, etc. etc. We went into a tent that was famous for being large and attracting the largest number of international tourists (LOL?). I think it was tent 3 if I recall correctly. This was what the tent looked like from the outside.
And this is a photo of what the tent looked like inside!
Getting into the tent was a real headache. Because we visited Oktoberfest on a Saturday, it was especially crowded! The tent was scheduled to open at 9am and there was already a long queue by 8.30am. We wound up waiting outside what we initially thought was the main entrance to the tent! Take a look at just how many security guards were ‘defending’ the doors!
Alternatively, we could also sit outside but eventually we decided against it as it would be too cold to enjoy our drinks! There were many benches outside though.
Remember how I said that we thought we were waiting at the entrance of the tent? Well, we thought wrong! The actual entrance was actually at the SIDE of the tent. We had to walk past rows of benches outside the side of the tent before we could enter.
It was an uncomfortable and unpleasant wait outside the tent. Besides being squeezed like sardines in a can, we were also periodically harassed by leering Caucasians who obviously decided to get drunk even before they entered the beer tent. They kept calling out “konnichiwa?” even though we were not Japanese. I guess to them, any Asian in Europe must be a Japanese tourist. But come to think of it, I would rather people address us in pseudo-Japanese than in Chinese with ‘ni-hao?’! Somehow, despite being ethnically Chinese, we Singaporean Chinese prefer to dissociate ourselves from our PRC Chinese counterparts and we get offended when people think we are from China.
After finally getting a table in the tent, we ordered several beers to share. A beer mug is 1 litre and there is no smaller portion. As I was not exactly wild about beers, I wanted to share one with a friend. However, the waitress wasn’t very pleased about it and for good reason too, as the beer servers earn very generous tips for every litre of beer they sell. The actual price of the beer was around 9 euros or so, but most customers pay with a 10 euro note. Do not expect to get back any change as that would go into the waitresses’ pockets as tips. Rumours have it that the average earnings of a beer server during Oktoberfest can be around 150 euros a day, and that they chase out consumers who are slow drinkers or sharing beers. The waitress was ready to chase us out, so we decided to order food to appease her!
Our litre-full beer mug!
Pork knuckles. It was pretty average for the price that we were paying.
We left the tents shortly after noon as we had finished drinking and eating and therefore had no more reason to linger around. We then wandered around the festival grounds, marvelling at the nausea-inducing theme park rides and breathing in the delicious smells of food wafting in the air.
The photo below is of the main attraction of the theme park, which is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest portable roller-coaster in the world.
As the rides were expensive (around 4-8 euros per ride), we didn’t sit on any even though I would like to if they were cheaper. Because it was virtually impossible to enter any more tents at that time of the day, we decided to leave Oktoberfest and walk around the city centre of Munich.