For those of you that don't already know, Oktoberfest is a 3 week long celebration that goes on during the month of September until the first weekend of October in Munich. Definitely something to put on your bucket list (as it was on mine ever since I knew about it!)
So what can you expect from such a celebration? Thousands of people drunk out of their minds? Basically, but that's not all.
Oktoberfest is essentially a giant fair with a ferris wheel, mini roller coasters, games, the works. The combination of the two (drunk people and rides) calls for one big, adult playground. I've never seen anything quite like it. It basically takes over the city of Munich, because everywhere you look there's somebody in a lederhosen or a dirndl. By the way, did you know "lederhosen" literally translates to leather (leder) pants (hosen).
Walking to Oktoberfest from the metro station, you already start seeing the damage. My first day walking there, I was greeted by a man, in the Oktoberfest ensemble, laying in a fetal position around a tree with his pants pissed. Yep, that's basically what awaits you. As you walk in, you immediately get lost in this constantly moving crowd. There are a few tents that you want to get to, like the Paulaner and the Leuwenbrau tents, which are the bigger party tents you mostly see in pictures of Oktoberfest. There's a tent for each of the big, German breweries, so those two, I'd say, are the main ones. There is only one entrance for each tent and another for their biergartens, so the line gets so big it's not even a line anymore. More of a crowd pushing from all sides to get in. When it's busiest, entry is one in, one out. Therefore, it's wise to get there early. According to a local, early means around 11:30AM.
Once you're inside, you get sat at a long table (possibly with strangers if your group is small) and you basically make friends with everyone around you. The best part about Oktoberfest is the diversity of it, which is what I fell in love with. I am a very social person, especially if I can learn something new. So, this was my shining moment! In just the biergarten beside the tent, the demographics were dramatic as can be. If you were to ask each person at the end of each table what country they were from, it would sound something like this: "Australia, Chile, Switzerland, Kenya, Germany, England, China, USA, Italy" Like.... WOW. I was in social and international heaven.
I exchanged countless Facebook invites, phone numbers, snapchats, everything. Take advantage of these potential connections around the world! Not only was it interesting that they come from all over the world to this one place, but everyone there was so cultured and international, as people. I am trilingual (almost quadrilingual), but I rarely meet anyone like me. At just my table, I met someone who was Albanian, grew up in Italy, studied in Germany and speaks 4 languages. There were many more with stories just as diverse. These are the kinds of people I've wanted to surround myself with my entire life.
So onto the fun part, the BIER!! So the beers in Oktoberfest are more high in alcohol content than usual (6%, while the regular is 4%) and also more expensive. Each beer is a liter and it costs about 11 Euro. But if you think about how big it is and the experience you're getting for FREE, it's so worth it. You really don't need more than 2 or 3 beers to get drunk. The environment is ideal, as well. People singing drinking songs from all around the world, Sweet Caroline, Country Road, and every song you would think would be suitable for a drinking holiday in Europe -- you'll hear it.
Inside of the tents, everybody is standing on all the tables and the chairs. It is absolutely insane to walk through. There was a gazebo in the center of the tent with a band playing and basically all the thousands of drunk people surrounding it, drinking and dancing. People will run up to you and feed you beer as you walk through or maybe grab your hand and pull you in for a dance! It was a very fulfilling experience.
Overall, I think Oktoberfest is a must see life experience! Even if you don't drink, you can feel the love in the environment and all the friendships being formed, that would never get the chance to happen if they did not make the spontaneous decision to go to this crazy event. Amazing!!