Year two. This time, we were on our own. No German friends to trail behind or hang onto like security blankets. This time, we were the “knowledgeable” ones trusted with getting ourselves and four friends some beer, some rides and a train ride home. Eek.
At 8am Monday morning, following a day of race track fun, we were all shimmying back into the lederhosen and dirndls. The lederhosen, it seems, are quite comfortable. Leather pants, leather suspenders and a normal button-up shirt. There’s even a front flap for…taking care of business. The dirndl on the other hand, seemed a bit…constricting. Either that or it’s too small. Perhaps buying on clearance last season wasn’t a perfect choice.
Nonetheless, we got ourselves sorted out and on the first possible train to Munich. Despite delays being fairly common, Deutsch Bahn does have a good system going for small groups. For 28 Euro, up to five people can travel anywhere within one state (Bavaria, Baden Wuerttemburg, etc) for one day (plus a pair of other rules). Either way, it’s perfect for getting to Oktoberfest.
After a couple hours and a short walk following the crowds, we successfully made it. The tents on a Monday were still full but unlike a weekend, it was still possible to find a spot.
Given that it was midday on a Monday, most everyone was from out of town. Actually, most everyone was from out of country. I think I heard more English than German being spoken.
Most of the people we’ve met in Ulm complain that Oktoberfest is too expensive. And a surprising number have never even been at all. Of course, this is also a country where a half liter of beer rarely costs more than $5 so paying the equivalent of $13 for a liter at Oktoberfest is a bit pricey. It’s still nothing compared to the cost of a tiny beer at a Seahawks game, though.
Another benefit to this Monday adventure was that with the low crowds, the rides were empty as well. Which meant our two-drop drop tower ride turned into 15 minutes of dropping. Which sort of felt…excessive. However, the 85 (!) year old woman next to me seemed to enjoy herself, so I don’t really feel I have a right to complain.
As evening approached, we made our way back into the tent to sample a few more beers and enjoy the live band. Dancing and singing are most definitely encouraged inside the tent, including on the tippy, wooden benches. Step foot onto the table however, and a cranky server will be shouting at you within seconds. Despite appearances, there are most certainly a few rules to follow at Oktoberfest.