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Oktoberfest, Germany

Upon arriving in Munich we headed straight for the caravan park we stayed at last time, crossing our fingers that there would be space for us. As we neared our destination we noticed more and more campervans parked out on the street, and our hope diminished with each van we passed. When we rolled up to the entrance we could see security staff everywhere, giving out strict orders of what, where and when we could do anything. To our amazement there was room for us, despite the thousands of tents set up around the place (most of which were part of tour groups). Vans were entering and leaving continuously, so generally there was a spare spot when a new car turned up. Our only answer to the large number of campervans out on the street was that they were searching for somewhere a little quieter. And we didn't blame them - almost all the campers in the park were in their 20s, the majority were Australian or British and they were here to party 24/7. We didn't like our chances of getting much sleep.

After a bit of housekeeping we walked to the station and caught the train into the city. Our first port of call was an Irish pub to see if they were showing the AFL tomorrow. It turned out they were connected to an Australian pub, who were definitely showing the game. Perfect. With that sorted it was time to check out Oktoberfest.

My first impression was that Oktoberfest was a mega-sized, drunken carnival, which is exactly what it's meant to be. Amusement rides, bright lights, deep-fried foods, thousands of people and of course, alcohol. It was reminiscent of Tivoli, only there were humongous beer tents lining the outer edges, plus wine and beer bars scattered about. Roughly 80% of the women were dressed as beer maids and 50% of the men were in lederhosen - we almost felt out of place in our regular street clothes. We wandered through a few tents, all of which were excessively decorated and deafeningly loud. Most of the tables were reserved, making it virtually impossible to find a seat. Instead we left the boisterous crowds and sat in one of the quieter beer gardens, where it possible to not only sit down but also have a conversation. We ended up chatting to a middle-aged German man and his elderly father (dressed in lederhosen), who attend the event every year and shared a few stories with us. Over the next hour or two with our new friends, Danny managed to make his way through two litres of beer. As the beer gardens only serve beer and no other alcohol, it meant I was on water for the afternoon. I'm certain that time passed by much more slowly for me than it did Danny.

 

With Danny's belly full of beer we took a stroll around the site, eating bratwurst and deciding which rides looked the best (which was none after bratwurst). We found a wine bar where I could finally have a drink (Danny didn't say no either), and watch the site transform as day turned into night. Everything at the festival was expensive, as you would expect, and after a couple of glasses we thought it would be better to continue eating and drinking outside the grounds. Overall it was a fun and lively experience, and surprisingly not all about beer. We knew we would be back.

First stop the next morning was the Ned Kelly bar to watch Danny's team, Collingwood, in the AFL preliminary final. By the time the game started the place was packed, with about 90% of patrons being male and 80% supporting the opposing team, Hawthorn. I quickly realised that Hawthorn supporters are just as infuriating and arrogant here as they are in Melbourne, and Collingwood fans are still bogans. I had ruled Collingwood out by three quarter time, but apparently you can win a final with just one good quarter. Unfortunately there weren't enough Collingwood supporters to rub it in to the Hawthorn crowd at the end. 

For lunch we headed over to the central open market area and chowed down on bratwurst again. This was becoming a staple for us, mostly because they were relatively cheap. Danny also celebrated his win with a beer in the beer garden.

 

Walking through the surrounding streets we bought a few postcards and naturally enquired about stamps. We were informed that there was a stamp vending machine nearby, much closer than the post office. It was a fantastic idea, but nowhere on the machine did it state how much it cost to send a postcard overseas. In the end we had to locate the Information Centre, find out the mailing price, then return to the vending machine to buy the stamps. The other downside was that we couldn't receive change in coins, only in stamps, which was useless to us. 

Back at our noisy campsite Danny made a fantastic spag bol for dinner. We were going to join the masses outside but discovered it was so crowded there was no way of reaching the onsite bar, let alone find a place to sit. Instead we opted for the comfort of the van, eating Brie while watching TV.

The racket outside lasted until 4 a.m., and started again fairly early. It was a no-brainer for us - we were leaving the campsite and parking on the street. We dropped off the car, caught the train to the city, ate a cheap lunch then made our way over to Oktoberfest. It was soon obvious that Saturday was definitely the wrong day to be at a beer festival. It was congested to the point that we could barely move. There were insanely long lines (over an hour) for the beer tents, beer gardens, bars, rides - it wasn't a pleasant experience. We made the easy decision to leave not long after arriving. We knew tomorrow would be the same, so we called it quits on Oktoberfest and instead drove on to our next destination.