Beer for Breakfast: Oktoberfest!

We went to Munich in mid-September to eat, drink, and be merry during the famed Oktoberfest, or The Wiesn as locals refer to it. Held in Munich every year since 1810, it is as Bavarian as beer and pretzels.

That’s so Bavarian!

And yes, we said September: if you’re looking to celebrate in October, you’re too late. The original event celebrated Princess Theresa’s wedding to King Ludwig I, and today’s celebration is still held on the festival grounds bearing the princess’s name (Theresenweise, also giving rise to “The Wiesn“).

It was on this trip that Dreamer discovered her all-time favorite breakfast.

You can have beer and sausage for breakfast?!
Most important meal of the day.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, especially with us in those outfits above. Before diving into the festivities, we started with a tour of the city itself: first by climbing the tower at Town Hall, and then by taking a free walking tour.

We saw the famous mechanized animated clock known as a glockenspiel in Marienplatz (the main square) when it struck 11 a.m.

Our tour also took us by a bronze statue one can rub for luck. Interesting which part the Trumps of the world choose to rub most frequently, though…

München is German for monks, which shows in the city’s coat of arms.

Emblazoned on the front of a subway car.
Monk at the New Town Hall.

After the tour, the main reason for our visit: off we went to the Wiesn!

Entrance is free, but you will definitely pay once you are inside. 10€ for a stein of beer, just to start. Cash only!


Inside of of the beer tents.

And how do they keep up with all that demand for product?

But let’s be honest: we were kind of there for the food.

Giant pretzel!
Smoked fish!

Dreamer wanted to try all the sausages!
Sausage for your dog!
Bread dumpling with sweet-sour veal lung! (Doer admits this is perhaps not for everyone)

Poffertjes in an edible boat!

After our first day at the Wiesn, we couldn’t help but be swept up in the merriment. They say traditional dress is making a comeback for the young people, and we felt the urge just to pop in a store and see what it might look like on us.

Even though it’s not in our culture, so to speak, we couldn’t resist and certainly blended right in. We fit in better, in fact, once we broke down and bought the duds, or what Spanish people would refer to as tiroles!

Lederhosen are pretty easy to buy: either they fit or they don’t. Stuff for the ladies, maybe not so much. Luckily, Bavaria is a region that understands a guy’s needs while his lady shops.

Free beer and pretzels while my wife shops? Don’t mind if I do.

And finally: we had a matching set.

Nice dirndl.
Just one small problem with this traditional dress for the man of the couple.

Comfortable in our new skins, back we went to drink and be merry again…

Eating that pork knuckle you saw roasting above… mmm.
“Stop right there and let me take your picture – they’re playing kandama like BroLaw Gatherer!”
Beef tafelspitz – thanks, Phil, for introducing us!

Back to the Wiesn. Each of the major sponsor breweries has its own tent, reconstructed every year since this is a temporary fairgrounds. That said, they seem pretty permanent to us. There are also other “tents” devoted to countless other businesses, like this one that just serves dessert and sweets.

In particular, these guys are famous for a local dish of cut up pancakes known as kaiserschmarnn. You can guess who was all over that.

Each tent also has its own band to entertain guests while they eat and drink. Joining in is encouraged, of course.

The Café Kaiserschmarnn house band, ladies and gentlemen.

Here is a more typical look at a band in the Augustiner tent.

Tradition is obviously an important part of Oktoberfest. This is especially evident in “Oide Wiesn,” an area that emphasizes the history and heritage of the festival.

Old Oktoberfest posters.

One tent featured traditional dances.

There was even a band in here playing on a merry-go-round – probably just because they could!

Check out those old-school ride controls!

Check out those ride controls!

Honestly, this place is like a state or county fair, only on a much bigger scale.

There are rides galore . . .

. . . Carnival games . . .

OK, maybe this one’s just a little bit racist?

Not to mention animated characters.

Corn, of course.

The Korny Corner

Heck, you can even play the lottery.

Finally, a lottery vendor honest about what they’re selling.

There is no shortage of fun things to see, eat, and do in Munich, and that’s a good thing when the Wiesn is on. We started out attending the festival on weekdays, but once the weekend hit it was clear we didn’t want to fight that beer-drinking, lederhosen- and dirndl-wearing crowd.

Check out that crowd getting off the metro, still a half mile from the fairgrounds!

So these two introverts said “auf wiedersehen!” to the Wiesn and headed toward the less crowded parts of Munich.

Hey, who’s that guy getting on the metro?

Luckily, we remembered there are tons of beer halls and biergartens in Munich, not to mention parks to be enjoyed on a lovely fall day.

Court Garden.
English Garden.
Biergarten in the English Garden.

Somewhere between all the beer and sausage – out of nowhere – Dreamer asked Doer a question he just didn’t want to answer.

And speaking of beautiful parks, Munich played host to the Olympics in the 70’s.

Olympic Park

Memorial to the Israeli victims of the Munich Olympic bombings.

Like many former Olympic host cities, it seems Munich is still trying to make good use of all this space after the events. The former Olympic Village for the athletes serves as low-income housing now, which is a stark contrast at the edge of the area.

Back in the city proper, one can visit famous, historic beer halls, like Hofbräuhaus.

Simply strolling through the old town of Munich was a pleasure on its own as well.

Doer’s cutest Apple photo ever.

New Town Hall.

All in all, we had a great time in Munich. Bavaria as a whole is charming, and we certainly hope to be back someday. We’ll let these street musicians play us out to capture some of the magic we felt walking through the center one night…

Just kidding, we’re still here! After returning to Madrid, we decided to go to a Spanish imitation of Oktoberfest a week later. Let’s just say we’re glad we experienced the real thing!

A woman spoke to us in German on the Madrid metro on the way to the event.
Damn, we look good. So good, in fact, that a bachelorette party demanded that they take a picture with us!
Hey, we’re used to being the first ones at a Spanish party, but that damn room never filled up!

And maybe we’re becoming hard of hearing, but this musical act doesn’t sound very Bavarian to us. What do you think?

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