When I left off with my Paris recap, I had just gotten in a run while Pat rested with a worsening cold. Next on the agenda was a long day of travel. A 3 hour train ride to Stuttgart and then a short wait before a two hour train ride to Munich. Luckily both train rides when pretty smooth (and we even got to sit in first class for the second one) and we got to Munich in time for a late dinner. Since we were both exhausted and Pat wasn’t feeling great we checked into our hotel across from the train station and then just headed back there to grab food and drinks. I stocked us up on water, juice, and yogurt for the next morning and we grabbed a pretzel, a veggie sandwich, and a sausage sandwich. As one might have guessed the train station food wasn’t overwhelmingly amazing but it got the job done. We headed to bed early hoping to explore Munich more the next day.
I woke up early and grabbed some breakfast before heading off to the gym in the Aloft hotel we were staying in. Probably the best hotel gym I had seen the whole trip but the German on the treadmill and the weights in kilograms certainly made for an interesting workout. I headed back and showered and Pat was still sound asleep. I decided it probably would be best to take it easy all morning so he would be feeling better when we met up with friends that afternoon (and of course for Oktoberfest the next day). So I read, watched some Parenthood episodes on my kindle and just relaxed. I grabbed us some lunch from a shop across the street when Pat finally woke up. He was feeling better so once our friends Bear (nickname) and Liz arrived we headed out to explore Munich.
Luckily we were in great company that had visited the area in previous years so Bear acted as sort of a tour guide. We check out shops, and important buildings around the city including the famous glockenspiel. Although we missed the show, I was really impressed by this building.
Many of the people in the area (tourists and locals) were dressed in the traditional Oktoberfest garb- the lederhosen and dirndl. The group grabbed a snack and viewed a few more of the city sites including the gardens. It was a beautiful 68 degree day and it felt great to walk around in the sunshine for a bit.
Next we had to hit up the most famous beer hall- Das Original Hofbrauhaus. The atmosphere was amazing, there was an authentic German band playing and people every downing their liters. We were able to grab a spot at the outside courtyard and partake in our first drinks in Germany. I should mention Pats mother was born, raised, and lived in Germany half of her life so Pat had visited many times as a kid but hadn’t been in years. The German heritage definitely was very meaningful for him to experience firsthand after hearing about it.
The group hit up a couple of authentic German clothing shops before grabbing dinner at Haxnbauer. Pat being Pat was all about tasting the local favorites and delicacies. I was less than excited about German food (too meat and potatoes for me) but Liz recommended the Queso Spaetzle (aka cheese noodles) and cucumber salad which sounded right up my alley. OMG those noodles were amazing!!! It really made me a German food convert. I also tried Pat’s pork knuckle and some beef goulash- fyi not a huge fan. We all shared apple fritters flambéed in Grand Marnier and some plum dumplings for dessert.
Of course before heading back to the hotel Pat insisted in purchased lederhosen to wear for Oktoberfest the next day. Since Bear and Liz have been in years past they already had their gear and under their encouragement (and unofficial stat that approximately 95% of people that would be in attendance at Oktoberfest would be wearing the traditional garments) I caved and purchased a dirndl myself.
The next day was unbelievable. Oktoberfest cannot be described- it needs to be experienced. It was a beautiful day (a Friday) on the last weekend of the festival so we arrived on the earlier side and grabbed some food (I had a Nutella crepe). It looked like an amusement park with rides, food stands, and of course beer tents!!!!!!!!
The first brewery we hit up was the Hacker Pschorr Munich Gold. It was beautiful. When people described Oktoberfest as different breweries in tents I was picturing boring white circus style tents. They were not tents- they were wonderfully decorated buildings. We enjoyed our first liter together and then headed out to check out another tent!
We decided to the Hofbrauhaus tent next since it’s dubbed more of a party tent we didn’t want to deal with too much craziness later in the evening. It was definitely a mostly younger crowd and we stood a table for a couple ours and met 3-4 different groups of people from all over the world. That’s honestly one of my favorite parts of travel- meeting people from other countries and just chatting about daily life. A Belgian gentleman on a bachelor party was particularly friendly, but they were such a fun group.
The next tent we visited was the Augustiner. After a drink inside where Pat met a guy that was from Pats mothers small hometown we headed to another tent. We were trying to visit as many as possible to check them out and I was enthralled with how each one was decorated so nicely.
On our way to Spatenbrau tent the boys stopped to get their ladies the traditional German cookie necklace. I think mine says little darling or love or something. We were definitely feeling pretty good at this point and enjoying all the Oktoberfest beers. Liz and I started sharing them so we didn’t keep up with the boys. Fortunately Bear and Pat met in a fraternity so they could handle a bit more than us.
Finally at Lowenbrau tent we had some food. This was basically our dinner and I ordered more queso spaetzle and pretzel since I was starving by this time. The rest of the night is a bit blurry… it was starting to get difficult to get into tents (they were packed!) so we ended up grabbing some desserts and drinks at an outside café where it quickly became dark.
Before leaving for the night we caught a peak (no drinks) at the Paulander tent and then follow the crowds out. We definitely lasted a lot longer than I thought we would so I was ready to climb into bed. It was such a fun and memorable day- I don’t think I’ve ever experienced any festival that amazing and I can’t wait to go back!
Have you ever been to Germany?? Would you want to go to Oktoberfest???