Friday, 7 October 2011

The World Looks At Munich

The Oktoberfest is one of the most well known events in Munich. This year it ran from 17th September to 3rd October. The first and last weekend is always the highlight, as there are fireworks and everyone is excited to start or end the event. People from all over the world come to Munich, sometimes even just for 2 days, from as far away as the United States. Bavarians usually dress up traditionally, but nowadays a lot of tourists come in traditional dress as well, so it gets hard to differentiate them from the locals. Every beer garden owner has their own tent at the Oktoberfest and they are always overloaded. Between all the tents are roller coasters and little stands with food, games, like at a funfair.

In most of the tents you can only buy beer for 10 Euros, but in a few you can get Radler which is a mix of beer and lemon or a simple Spezi which is a mix of lemon and coke.
The meals consist, of course traditional Bavarian dishes like Bretzl, dumpling "Knödel", Schweinshax, Hendl "chicken" or Kaiserschmarrn. Most people get into the tents early, so that they get a table. Usually the rule is to drink enough to withstand the atmosphere and the smell of drunk and sweaty people. Traditional music is played by the chapel and everyone sings along to the songs. Each year they play the same songs like "Ein Prosit", "Hände zum Himmel" or "Hey baby" so that the citizens and all others who often come to the event, know them off by heart.

The worst part about Oktoberfest is getting to the restroom.
This picture shows how long it can take to get your turn. All in all the event is one of the most exciting things to do in Munich. Everyone is friendly to each other, everyone loves each other and all the usual social barriers seem to disappear for three weeks. You meet people randomly on the streets and everything seems so normal and easy. It is like a loud, international and joyful parade for three weeks. This excitement disappears as fast as it comes once everyone gets back into their daily routine, but everyone keeps the images in their mind, looking forward to next year, and another three weeks of happiness.