Don your dirndl and lace up your lederhosen
Oktoberfest: Two days of beer, food, and friends new and old
Having a chance to attend Oktoberfest was the impetus for planning our entire trip to Germany, but it may surprise you to hear that Dain and I were only planning to spend one afternoon at the festival. Our thinking was, let's keep our schedule open to see if we find something more fun to do or if we get sick of drinking beer. Man, how wrong we were on both accounts!
A must-have on our list was the traditional clothes. The dirndl for the women, complete with a corset-style dress and apron tied on the left for singles and right for taken women, and the lederhosen for men, leather overalls with folk-style stitching.
When we got to the grounds, we found ourselves in a massive adult carnival playground. There were rides, games, and tons of stands selling gingerbread cookie necklaces (of which I bought and ate two) and sausages. As a vegetarian, I'm somewhat limited by what German food I can eat so I subsisted entirely off of beer, giant pretzels, and spaetzele.
There are about 12 beer tents, and tent is such an understatement. They're massive beer halls sponsored each by a German beer like Lowenbrau and Hofbrau that seat thousands at communal tables, and most have outdoor biergartens as well. We didn't have reservations at any tent but since we got to the grounds around 10am and on a weekday, we didn't have any trouble finding spots.
Everyone was in a jubilant, festive mood, as it's really hard not to be. We met so many people from all over the world: UK, Germany, Switzerland, US, Australia, etc. It was such a unique experience to get to know such a variety of people in intimate ways so quickly; it doesn't take long after you've prost'd several times before you're inviting everyone to come visit you back in SF.
One of the most epic "I-can't-believe-I'm-here" moments of the trip for me was running into my former roommates and good friends. We've all known each other since college and were in the same sorority, so it's only fitting that we lead our table in the drinking songs from our days at Cal. It felt surreal to bring a piece of my past across thousands of miles and many years to the massive and iconic Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest in a nutshell: tons of beer, tons of food, and a unique camaraderie that you just cannot recreate in any other setting. Just a few short weeks after and I'm already itching to return.