“I’m in a theme park, and the theme is beer. Where am I?”
If you’re bored of hearing about Oktoberfest then turn off now. Trying to describe this weekend is going to be hard. Partly because after the weekend I’ve had, typing itself is a stretch, but also because it was the best weekend of my life…so far. So much happened in so few hours. I’m not really sure what could top it. Bungee-jumping off Mount Everest? Taking an easyRocket to the moon. Going back in time? As we know, all good things must come to an end, eventually. But not before a lot of beer, banter and babes had been enjoyed.
Friday night. Right. Let’s start from the top. Having completed a necessary resupply at LIDL (including enough Nachos to feed the Mexican army), I was anticipating the arrival of my guests. Simon & Scouse would be the first to turn up, travelling from Stuttgart and Tübingen respectively. They arrived at Westpark and without any fuss hopped straight on the U-Bahn and were with me in the early evening. They came bearing gifts! A fantastic retro Stein which is now standing proudly on the mantlepiece. We had a bite to eat and started a Peep Show marathon which would take us later than expected into the night. Our next arrival was the lionhearted Nonie the Nomad, who has recently moved to Berlin to start her Year Abroad. She gets the most points this weekend because of her sheer spontaneity. She had been in Germany less than a week. So why was she so determined to come to Munich? Her reasoning was that she might not get a better excuse to come to Munich’s universally recognised beer festival in the future. You only live abroad once (#yolao) etc. On Thursday night she decided she was coming. I gave her my address, thinking she wouldn’t actually get round to sorting out transport and dirndl etc. How wrong I was. Sure enough she was heading to Munich at 200kmph on Friday evening. Great effort, especially as she knew her predicament. Staying in a room with six lads. Four of whom she had never met. A brave girl to say the least.
Simon, Scouse and Nonie were here. So that was three down, three to go. The cheeky chappies Adam & Euan are a bad influence on each other at the best of times, and with a combination of spite and sheer excitement (what you could call “exspitement“), they defied my warning of “peaking too soon” and of course got mildly merry on the train journey from Magdeburg (their nearest big town). But to be fair they had five changes (don’t get us started on Deutsche Bahn!) so they had a pretty good excuse. Euan sort of gave himself away when I answered his call. As soon as I’d picked up, he simply blurted out “FABIAN. OKTOBERFEST. HAUPTBAHNHOF” with Adam giggling in the background. I rolled my eyes at Si and Scouse – from then on we knew these two tipsy lads – armed to the teeth with Burger King – would be a force to be reckoned with.
Some hours later…
When Adam and Euan finally got in at around 01:30, they were pretty lively and got us all a bit too fired up. Their childishness rubbed off on all of us and before we knew it we were all rolling around on the floor laughing so much we needn’t do a core workout for some time. All the while we were getting updates from Sam who was travelling in from Hamburg. His journey had started off with a minor delay which then turned out to be a more major delay. Because of previous cancellations he was on a particularly crowded train and at some point the driver decided that actually he didn’t want to be a train driver any longer but that in actual fact his calling in life was to be a taxi driver. Unfortunately for Sam, this wasn’t only a change in career path but also a change in his path to Munich. The train stopped at Hanover then went backwards. Then, once it had got back on track, it stopped at every village on the way down to Bavaria, dropping off induviduals whose trains had been cancelled. Sam’s ETA had changed from 01:00 to around 05:30. He held out and eventually somehow made it to mine, despite the uncivilised hour. What was even more impressive was that even though he must have been absolutely shattered the following morning but he was a real trooper and showed no signs of weakness. Well, sort of.
Saturday day. Having attempted to cook a full English, we were ready and on our way to the Theresienwiese. Radishes and bananas at the ready. We met everyone at the Schottenhammel tent including Greggers, his housemate and Kirstie, and managed eventually to get into the outside seating area, but not into the tent itself. Had the weather not been perfect, we might have been dissappointed, but as it stood we were more than happy to sip our Steins in the sun.
So there we sat the entire day. Initially I was worried that – radishes or no radishes – we would all be in a horrific way by the end of the day. As it turned out we paced ourselves really well and throughout the day only sunk around five or six Maß (Steins) each. We made sure we ate throughout the day, popular choices being traditional Bavarian “Hendl” which is a succulent roast chicken. Some “tactical naps” were taken by Sam and Vinnie along the way. And apart from a rather troubling episode involving Adam getting molested by a creepy man called Tobias whilst on the phone to his girlfriend, everyone made it through to the evening without a problem. He seemed to be adopting a “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it approach” which was dangerous to say the least. Needless to say he is on the road to recovery and I’m sure after a few months of intensive counselling and therapy should sort him out. Seriously though, he assures us he is fine.
Having stayed around the tent for most of the day, there came a time in the evening when we decided to head off around the park. At around seven or eight we were stumbling around the festival enjoying the weekend to the max and I think we were just genuinely happy to be reunited, even if only for a while. We went on as many roller coasters and dodgems (whilst wearing colour-filtered glasses – try it!) as we could until we realised we were either broke or lost. Going on rides and rollercoasters whilst drunk has got to be one of the most exhilarating things ever, i can definitely recommend it.
But wait! Where were Scouse and Adam?
Absolutely shattered and with Adam and Scouse nowhere to be seen, and since their phones were either dead or out of credit, we decided there was no option other than to crash out at home. We eventually made it to our respective homes Saturday night which is exactly what we did ready to go straight to bed. Our concerns about the Liverpudlian and the Leicesterian were short lived and they were home before midnight which was even earlier than predicted.
Sunday. My favourite quote of the weekend came from Euan. Having got out of the shower he delcared: “Marcus. I’m really sorry, but I’ve accidentally turned your bathroom into Bangladesh”. Unfortunately, the weather continued in much the same vein and it was a drizzly day. However, we braved the town and went for a fantastic five-star Schnitzel at the Augustiner Bräu just off Marienplatz. Afterwards it absolutely poured it down but we nipped on the U-Bahn one stop to Hauptbahnhof. We were accompanying Adam, Euan, Simon, Scouse and Nonie to the main train station so they could meet their various connections on time. So after all this who was left? Sam and I, obviously dressed for the second time in Lederhosen. As well as Angus, Miles, Vinnie and Kat who were flying out in the evening. Did they have time to come to the final day of the festival? Of course they did. And inside the Armbrustschützenzelt the atmosphere was unbelievable. We soaked up the last few house of carefree fun and learnt a few Italian drinking songs. My GCSE Italian proving to be almost useless apart from the brilliant phrase “Ci sono molte da fare qui” which can be used little or often in any context, because all it means is “There’s lots to do here”.
As I fell asleep last night my ears were ringing with “Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit”. Robbie Williams hits were going round and round in my head. I’m slightly glad it’s over, because another week of Oktoberfest definitely would not have been good, both fiscally or physically. It’s been an amazing couple of weeks and I can’t thank everyone enough for making the effort and braving the journey to Munich and putting up with the accommodation. I am please to report that everyone got home safely. Now to plan our next trip…