On September 19, 2009 I departed Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) for Oktoberfest in Munich Germany (MUC). I flew direct from Washington to Munich on Lufthansa. This was hands down the best flight I’ve ever had. I actually enjoyed myself on a flight for the first time in 10 years. The flight was roughly nine hours, the staff was awesome and I had a meal. How timed have changed.
When I arrived in Germany, Ludus Tours (the tour company I was using) had arranged transportation from the airport to my hotel in Munich. The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was about 35 minutes.
I stayed at a hotel named Hotel Kraft. I liked the hotel despite the fact that it was located in the red light district. Who can complain about shady late night Turkish pizzerias shaving slabs of meat and strippers standing in the streets? I would recommend this hotel to anyone. The room wasn’t fancy, it was very small. But who cares, It was Oktoberfest, I didn’t go there for a fancy hotel, I went for beer, German food and German strippers . . . just kidding. The hotel offered breakfast every morning which was . . . how can I say this . . . beyond lovely. If you ever want to ruin your ability to appreciate an American continental breakfast, stay in a hotel in Germany. The hotel was around 4 blocks from the Oktoberfest fairground. If you are thinking of going to Munich check out Hotel Kraft, the breakfast is worth it.
After getting settled in the hotel, Ludus Tours had a dinner setup for everyone that night at Weisses Brauhaus. Below is a picture of my first meal in Germany, Weiner Schnitzel, with fried potatoes and cranberries. They have around 9 Schneider Weisse beers on their menu, no wonder I liked the place. They have decent food and beer, but it is rather touristy.
The following day I took a bike tour around Munich. I got to see all of the typical places like Marienplatz, Neues Rathaus (nee town hall), Englischer Garten and Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower).
Oktoberfest is a 16 day festival celebrating beer held annually. It began in 1810 when Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig married Theresa of Saxony. The townsfolk held a party in a field outside of town to celebrate. The same field has hosted Oktoberfest ever since. Oktoberfest also known as Theresienwiese is the largest festival in the world drawing six million visitors. This was the purpose of the entire trip. I was in Munich for Oktoberfest, in the middle of it all.
I’m not entirely sure why the establishments at Oktoberfest are called beer tents. They are actually permanent structures. The pictures below do not give you a good idea of how large they are, my camera simply couldn’t capture it all. If I were to estimate their size I would guess the size of a football field. I was only in Munich for a week but somehow I survived 3 beer tents. Below are the three tents that I spent quality time at:
- Hippodrom – This is one of the larger tents. It is one of the first tents seen when entering the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. This is a more trendy tent and attracts many celebrities. I walked into this tent early and landed a seat. However, I was removed (kicked out) of the establishment later in the evening because people who had reserved their table a year in advance were on their way. Probably a good thing I left, it was a long day.
- Schottenhamel – This is a popular tent because this is where it all starts on the opening day when the mayor taps the first keg. This is very popular for the younger crowd.
- Ammer Huhner & Entenbraterei – This tent is WAY smaller than the Hippodrom and Schottenhamel. This was my very first beer tent. This tent was started by a poultry dealer who setup the worlds first chicken roastery in a small booth at Oktoberfest in 1885.
I also took a few pictures of Armbrustschutzenzelt, Hacker-Festzelt, Wildstuben and Able’s Kalbs-Kuchl.
Food and Drink
As I mentioned above, the breakfast at the hotel was awesome. I didn’t expect much because American continental breakfasts are pretty bad. One of my favorite meals I had while in Munich was at the Weisse Brauhaus. I got Weiner Schnitzel with fried potatoes and cranberries. I also had pretzels, obatzda (cheese), and a half chicken at Ammer Huhner & Entenbraterei. I also had weisswurst, an occasional sausage, some roasted nuts and some Ritter Sport chocolate.
Oktoberfest at Night
I had no clue that Oktoberfest had rides. For some reason I thought that Oktoberfest was nothing but a big beer drinking festival. It is actually very family friendly. At night, the Oktoberfest fairgrounds are lively, with roller coaster (Olympia Loopimg), a ferris wheel (Riesenrad), haunted house (Schloss Dracula Haunted House), and many other rides. Below are a few pictures of the Oktoberfest fairgrounds at night:
While in Munich, I took a short train ride to Dachau. Dachau is located about ten miles northwest of Munich. Dachau was the first Nazi concemtration camp opened in Germany. Dachau was an experience like no other that I will never forget. I intentionally did not take my camera, so I have no photographs to share. It was not something worth sharing. If you find yourself in Munich during Oktoberfest, do not go to Dachau. It is a very depressing place