Monday, October 22, 2012


In late September, I met three work colleagues early in the morning at Heathrow airport, we flew to Munich, met up with another colleague and then spent the rest of the day & night eating potato salad, drinking beer and dancing on tables at Oktoberfest.  We called it a "team offsite".  Yes, you can hate me now.  We did drag ourselves into the office the next day if that counts for anything.

It was my first time to Oktoberfest and I was seriously blown away.  I thought it was all about drinking but it was actually so much more. There’s an entire carnival that takes two months to build – it’s basically a state fair with a German twist. There were huge rollercoasters, spinny rides, games played for stuffed animals, greasy food (lots of heart-shaped cookies, sausages & pretzels), and special Oktoberfest brew  – the whole works.  You could easily spot the tourists – they’re the ones wearing jeans (myself included).  All the locals dress up in traditional Bavarian gear.

I loved the mix of people too. The families stay outside at the fair for most of the day and the adults eventually make their way into a tent for food & drinks.  Inside the tent, you see people ranging in age from 16 to 106. And because you usually can’t get served unless you’re seated, the tables are crammed with a crazy mix of people who just met.

Our night was a nice progression: First, dinner at a table we shared with an English couple and her parents.  When the parents left, a crew of young German guys rammed in. Next up: to a tent without seating, tons of people singing to a band who played sing-alongs, ranging from traditional German songs to Dirty Dancing!  We hung out with an American guy from California and an Aussie guy who just moved to Ireland who had just met each other that day in a hostel.  Final stop: Party in full swing at a tent where everyone was standing on wooden benches, singing, dancing, swaying and of course drinking huge steins of beer. 

Good German fun and highly recommended as one of those experiences you do at least once.

 A typical "tent"

Inside - they're really beautiful!

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