Oktoberfest. A mecca for college-educated, horny, backpack-donning, hostel-loving, white kids.
German beer, legally, can have only water, barley, and hops. Adding any additional ingredients means the beer has to be labeled as “craft” and cannot be found at the fair. Rye and wheat are much more efficient in making bread than beer, so in a time of scarcity, the government mandated the regulation, and it’s stuck.
Our Oktoberfest adventure was made possible by a car full of four Minnesotans and one, very patient, Austrian. Ben’s college roommate, Salty to anyone who knew him at St. John’s, and Nicholas to anyone who no longer drinks Beer 30, lives with his girlfriend, Babsi (short for Barbara), in Innsbruck.
The two welcomed us into their flat (for a second time) where we ate and drank like royalty: wild rice/pomegranate/spinach/turkey/mushroom salad, homemade ginger wine, Penang curry, and homebrewed moonshine.
Ben made friends with an artist in the bathroom of an open-mic, we knocked on the very locked door of a local synagogue for Yom Kippur, found ourselves unreasonably out of breath after five minutes of hiking up an Austrian mountain, and just like that, it was time to road-trip to Munich.
Salty and Babsi not only found us Lederhosen and Dirndl, but the clothes fit like a glove. Salty secured an Audi from work, we added Erik to our caravan, and sat back as we watched the speedometer climb to 180 k/h on the Audobon.
Oktoberfest in Munich is an exhilarating sensory overload. There are 14 enormous tents
That’s pretty much it. You alternate between drinking and talking to random people/eating/enjoying fair activities.
As a complete sidebar, we weren’t able to visit Salzburg because trains to and from the city were temporarily closed due to the refugee crisis, but my friend Martha, who lived there for a year, gave us some wonderful advice that I don’t want to go to waste:
These are a few of my favorite things 🙂
When coming from the train station, you can take the bus – OR It’s a pretty small city and beautiful to roam around.
The city is cut into two parts by the Salzach (the main river). One side is the old city (I think!) where the Getreidegasse is – the most popular street to walk. The old city is ALSO where the BEST Christmas market is.
My advice: head to the Getreidegasse (EVERYone knows where that is and most everyone speaks english). From there, roam around.
Pretzels, Kaiserkrainer (cheesy sausage) or Bosna are the best foods. You can NOT go wrong with food/drinks 🙂
On the other side of the river is Linzergasse (‘gasse’ means street basically) where a lot of good roaming can be had as well. Also touristy, but less chi-chi as the old city. I would recommend using the river as your guide and roam to and fro!
Festungsfestspielhaus: Check out that area as well! It connects to the Grünmarkt (Green Market), which is a local, everyday market in the city.
Festungspielhaus is a cool place to roam around and maybe even find the path to the mountain or through the tunnel (I lived DIRECTLY on the other side of the tunnel on Neutorstrasse!)
Once you’ve roamed the city, try to hit up:
• Augustiner Brauerei!!! AMAZING. from Augustiner, you can walk up the Mönchsberg (berg means mountain). It’s this sweet little mountain that frames the city. You can walk up in starting in the city OR starting at Augustiner Brauerei. If you do it during the day, you can pass the Museum de Moderne which is a beautiful modern museum on the top of Mönchsberg. Go in! If that doesn’t work out – stop into their restaurant (M32) to have a coffee (verlängerter is the best equivalent to an Americano.) It’s my favorite spot!!
• Check out Leopoldskron! It’s the lake where The Sound of Music took place. Beautiful. I spent my WHOLE summer at the pool next door. It’s a teensy bit out of the city to walk, but if you by chance had bikes….or the Sound of Music tour bus….
Sidenote: Red Bull is FROM Salzburg, so you will see lots of cool stuff relating to it smile emoticon Try Afro Cafe!! It’s owned by the same guy 🙂
• Steigl brewery is also a wonderful place to check out. There’s one IN the city (below the Festung – the castle) and the Brauwelt (Brew-world) where it’s a huge beer hall. All the breweries are neat. Although, Augustiner is my favorite.
MAKE SURE you eat a Kebap as well. YUM. Most great after a night of drinking…my favorite spot is the hole in the wall Trojan Kepab window near Linzergasse – facing the Salzach.
Love you so much,