Oktoberfest tips for introverts and agoraphobes

Oktoberfest tips

Heading into our fifth (and final) Oktoberfest as locals, I’m starting to feel like quite the reluctant expert. Although I’ve had tons of fun at the festival each year, I’ve also had a couple of panic attacks (and more than a couple near-panic-attacks) at the wiesn. I absolutely hate crowds. With more than 7 million people attending Oktoberfest each year, it can be kind of tricky to avoid them. Over time I’ve learned how avoid the parts I hate, and enjoy the parts I like.  Continue reading

Oktoberfest: getting your weißbier on

drinking weissbier at Oktoberfest

You may have heard that you need to be sitting inside (or on the terrace of) a tent to be served beer at Oktoberfest. This is mostly true. Indeed, it is the only way you’ll be able to get your hands on a big old maß (liter) of special Oktoberfest brew. But if you don’t mind drinking weißbier (wheat beer) in small vessels (only half liter), head for one of the many outdoor stands that serve it up. You’ll need to drink your weißbier in the general vicinity of where you bought it, but these little areas are often quite pleasant places to hang out. I tend to prefer them to the hot, loud, sweaty insides of a tent, especially on a beautiful sunny day. Continue reading

Oktoberfest 2011: same procedure as every year

upstairs at the Ochsenbraterei

This is our fourth Oktoberfest as locals. Since leaving my parents’ house at 18, I’ve never lived anywhere else for more than three years, so this is kind of weird for me. I’m not used to doing things for a fourth time.

But here I am, getting out the dirndl (paired with sensible shoes for dancing on wooden benches) for Oktoberfest number four. Conversations with friends all include an exchange of details about which tents we will be in on which nights. The guest room is booked for almost a month straight with various configurations of friends and family. Continue reading

The real dance moves you need for Oktoberfest

No matter what lazy travel writers want you to believe, there’s no Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest in Munich. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, stop taking their travel advice immediately, lest you start looking like an arm-flapping fool everywhere you go. Instead, spend your Oktoberfest prep time (only a week to go!) learning these dances, which are sure to come in handy in each and every tent. Continue reading

Historisches Wiesn: Oktoberfest’s 200th anniversary celebration

UPDATE: The historical section of Oktoberfest was such a hit that it will be back in 2011, rebranded as the Oide Wiesn. Nostalgia and beer for everyone!

Entrance to Oktoberfest in general is free, but this year, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the first Oktoberfest, visitors were offered the privilege of paying for entry to a small section of the wiesn. This section promised something special: old-timey fun. Continue reading

Mad Schuhplattler

Schuhplattler at 200th anniversary Oktoberfest from zurika on Vimeo.

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest, a historical area has been set up next to the regular old tents and rides. It costs €4 to get into the historical area, but that €4 includes all kinds of entertainment, such as fancy historical whip-cracking and fancy historical dancing. And a nifty souvenir pin.

Judging from the looks of this dance, I’m guessing that Bavarian women living 200 years ago did not have any inner ear fluid.

Is there anyone who watched this video without thinking of Chevy Chase?

Oktoberfest: where to pee

This blog has been getting an amusingly high number of hits this week from people googling phrases such as “where to pee Oktoberfest” (second only to those searching for “Oktoberfest sex”). Don’t let your fear of inadequate toilets keep you away, folks: there are plenty of places to pee at Oktoberfest. Continue reading

What your dirndl is telling the world

Soon after acquiring my dirndl, I was taught the rules for tying the apron. The strings are long, and usually you wrap them all the way around your waist and then tie them in a bow in the front. But not just anywhere in the front. No, no, no, this is important stuff, so listen up. If you tie the bow on the left, it means you’re available; on the right it means you’re taken. Beyond that the rules get a little hazy, depending on who you’re talking to. I’ve heard that a bow tied in the center means either you’re “open” or that you’re a virgin. But given that we’re in very Catholic Bavaria, being a virgin and being available should practically mean the same thing, right? (Snicker, snicker.) A bow in the back means you’re a widow, or possibly a waitress.

This whole apron-tying nonsense seems a little too middle school to be taken seriously. But, if tying my apron on the right means fewer sloppy drunk boys will try to hit on me at Oktoberfest, then by all means I’m following the rule. Which reminds me, it’s about time to tie on that apron and head out for our opening-day tent reservation. O’zapft is!

How do you tie your dirndl apron?

Eating Oktoberfest: a vegetarian survival guide

If there’s one thing you don’t see very often at Oktoberfest, it’s a vegetable.

Navigating the menu at an Oktoberfest tent is not always easy for vegetarians. In here, a plate of sliced-up sausage qualifies as a salad. But even at those tents named after the animal they are best at cooking, one can find at least a couple of meatless dishes. Bavarian vegetarian food is heavy, creamy, cheesy, and infinitely starchy: actually, not such bad attributes for a meal that’s accompanying many liters of beer. Now that you’ve found a seat in one of the tents, here are some of the vegetarian dishes you are most likely to find on the menu: Continue reading

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