Oktoberfest in Munich was nothing like I’ve seen back home. There was so much more to Oktoberfest than beer. Oktoberfest in Malaysia was like a ‘child’s play’ … ZE and I were glad that we made it to Munich for Oktoberfest, and Gun Salute Closing Ceremony to boot!
When we arrived in Munich on Day 20 evening, the festival can be felt at Munchen Hbf station already. People were all dressed up in German traditional clothes, lederhosen (for men) and dirndl (for women). And there was a real festive feel to the city.
On Day 21, we followed advice on internet and took a train to Goetheplatz station (instead of Theresienwiese station, the closest station). At Goetheplatz station, walking out from the station, we just followed the ‘crowd’, and true enough, they were all heading towards the main festival site at Theresienwiese.
The first thing we learnt at Oktoberfest was there are ‘deposit’ charges for bottles , and also later on plates. We had to pay additional €1 for our drinking water’s bottle … Looking for the stall later on was a challenge, but we found it and got out deposit back.
I wasn’t expecting a mega fun fair, but that was the first thing I saw. ZE went gaga over the whole thing. Well .. if I were at her age, I would probably have gone bonkers as well. It was epic!
My prudent niece didn’t want any of the rides .. so much self-control that little angel.
She did buy one thing: an Oktoberfest gingerbread heart cookies necklace.
We tried going in to a beer tent, but were ‘rejected’ due to our daypack .. no big-sized bag allowed, we were told.
As we arrived 11ish, we then headed straight to the Bavaria statue, where the “Böllerschießen” (handheld canon salute) was held.
A band was playing, and they played till before the ceremony. We thought we got a good spot for the ceremony, till the band moved and stood right in front of us. We decided to move to a different spot, as ZE’s view was completely blocked!
We walked to the another area, and a kind German gentleman made way for ZE to move up to the front.
The Gun Salute closing ceremony was massive! It was the highlight of the festival for us.
We also saw horse-drawn beer wagons of German breweries.
After the ceremony, we went looking for foods. I was happy with my choice, matjessemmel, €4.00. Just like I was back in Amsterdam!
According to Wikipedia, Matjes is an especially mild salt herring, which is made from young immature herrings. The herrings are ripened for a couple of days in oak barrels in a salty solution, or brine. The pancreatic enzymes which support the ripening make this version of salt herring especially mild and soft.
As it was drizzling, we left the festival ground not long after our lunch, and headed back to our Airbnb apartment rental.
We wanted to buy some ingredients to cook our dinner, and that was when we found out that some supermarkets are closed on Sundays in Germany. A quick search on Google, revealed that Germany has “Shop Closing Law” that forbids supermarkets, especially the smaller ones to operate on Sundays. And they close by 8pm, from Monday to Saturday.
Left without choice, we ended up cooking macaroni with just garlic and butter.
Oktoberfest in its home country, an experience that both ZE and I will remember forever.