Autumn sun, live music, friendly (and very attractive) people, traditional costumes, litres of good, cold beer, scrumptious food…sounding good? Well, it’s all happening right now at the largest, most famous beer festival in the world; the 180th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
A wise man once told me that if there was only one thing I could afford to do in Europe, it should be Oktoberfest. I took his advice seriously and with my very first few pounds, I booked a plane ticket and a spot in a camp site for three days. My best friend and I left our more than average jobs in London and set off for the beer festival with our sleeping bags, high hopes and not much else.We were not in the least bit disappointed.
The beer festival in October holds special place in Bavarian culture and history. The Bavarian people are such fun and so welcoming. Over six million people from around the world descend on their two-week festival every year. We made friends with Italian, Swedish, American, Spanish, Australian and German festival-goers to name but a few. The Bavarian people are so proud of their history and traditions too. Over the festival, you will see many locals and visitors alike sporting ‘lederhosen’ (for men) and ‘dirndl’dresses (for women). Oktoberfest is for young and old; there are amusement rides, tombola games and hundreds of food stalls.
Beer prices have certainly gone up since we were visiting. A litre of beer will cost you nearly ten euros in a tent this year. But remember that it’s the very best quality beer and you are at one of the most famous festivals in the world. And when you feel you need a breakfrom the beer, there are endless food options to choose from at the market food stalls or in the tents; potato pancakes and fried potatoes, giant pretzels, roast pork, half chicken, a flavor array of wurst (German sausage), candy and sweets.The music in the tents adds to the electric atmosphere as much as the beer does. Each tent has its own band and there are no rules as to what they have to play. The traditional tunes and classics certainly get people on their feet and dancing. But each year, it is interesting to see which new pop song or latest hit gets played the most.
If you have the chance to get to Oktoberfest, you won’t be disappointed. Have a Lowenbrau for me! Those three days still stand out as the best of all my travels. But if you aren’t quite able to make it all the way to Munich this year, don’t forget that Oktoberfests, modeled on the original in Germany,happen all over the world, including many cities in South Africa. There might be a festival happening close to you. Don’t miss it!
By: Philippa Francis