A month into term and I’m finally travelling again! All those oats and potatoes are feeling pretty good now that I’m spending money on my main priority this year. On my second day back in Reims, we turned a drunk agreement to go to Oktoberfest together into a spontaneous booking two days later.
Dirndl ordered, seven person teepee booked and a ten hour overnight bus looming, the beginning of the week was a bit of a blur. On Thursday, I packed my bag and grabbed a couple of snacks for the ride before meeting Arthur, Alice, Nick and Morgan for our midnight bus. Surprisingly, when you have the window seat and arrive two hours early, a ten hour bus goes pretty fast. All too soon, we were stumbling off the bus in desperate need of breakfast and a lie down.
Bacon and eggs found, and a two hour lie down in the Englischer Garten later we headed to the campsite for check in time. Let me tell you, nothing can prepare you (especially not a bad night’s bus sleep) for Stoke Travel’s Oktoberfest. The moment we were in the check in line, we were handed a pretzel and a cup of sangria by some (definitely intoxicated) staffies before being shown to our tent. That night, fuelled by free glitter, €10 unlimited booze and a live music set, we fell into bed at 10pm a lot less sober than we’d started but definitely more content.
I definitely had a twinge of regret the next morning as I battled a hangover, but turns out it was nothing a litre of water and a bacon and (slightly grey but still good) egg roll couldn’t fix. The time had finally come to put our dirndls on and follow the crowds to Oktoberfest. Despite having to wait an hour until beer service started (and making the mistake of ordering water for €5 a glass while we waited), we were soon counting ourselves pretty lucky that we’d managed to get a table in one of the beer halls at the fest.
Honest opinion: Oktoberfest is worth it if you like beer (or if you’re weak and like Radlers like me), have a bit of money to spend and make the most of the beer halls. Everything outside of the tents is pretty kitsch-y, designed more like a funfair than a beer festival. Carnival rides, fairy floss and tacky souvenir shops mean there isn’t much to look around outside of the beer tents, and if you don’t get there early you’re struggling with the crowds to get a table thanks to the no table, no drinks service rule. Don’t get me wrong, once you’re in, the atmosphere is electric, and even though the beers are €11,40 per stein, there’s definitely more than enough.
My recommendation? If you’re on a budget (like me), the Stoke Travel campsite is worth it. For 140 euros we got a place to sleep, two meals a day and a campsite party with unlimited booze from 9am-10pm. This meant that once I’d spent the money on Stoke, the only other costs were the dirndl (which I have zero regrets about and managed to sell on afterwards), a beer in the beer hall for the experience and lunch both days (I got pretzels or went to grocery stores). Oktoberfest itself is free, and most public transport is easy to hop on and off with the Oktoberfest crowds without buying tickets.
On our last day, after we checked out from the campsite, we headed to Dachau to visit the Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Sounds a little bit of a weird place to go on an Oktoberfest trip, but it was a nice break from the crowded beer halls and constant campsite party. If you get the chance, I’d recommend going. By 5.30pm that day we were back on the bus, bellies full of Maccas and ready for another poor night’s sleep. I made it home at 4.30am in the freezing cold this morning and went straight to bed.
Its still too early to tell how sick I’ve made myself from a weekend of drinking and poor sleep, but I’m pretty hopeful at the fact that I’ve been somewhat functional today. Its off to class with me for now before a very early bedtime so I’ll leave you with some pics from Oktoberfest. If you want to see my favourite pics of Munich, check out my Photo Diary from this weekend!