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Munich, Germany - Oktoberfest!

Hey, hey, hey!  Just me over here, adjusting to being back in the real world.  

I wish every vacation was to places where only airplane mode exists.  Maybe 3 days a week...every week?  I love to disconnect.  Only wifi and only at night.  We did actually plan to use Mike's phone and got a European plan for the few days we were there and it didn't work.  While it was a bit frustrating for 20 minutes, it was absolutely okay!  As soon as we got back and Mike would not look up from his phone until we got off the eL at our stop in Chicago.  I kept giving him side eye glances. ;)  


Anyway, we left last Tuesday night for a bit of an impromptu visit to Munich and got back Sunday evening.  Yes, it was a whirlwind, but the flights were $600.  $600 to Europe!



my size pretzel

We also ended up staying in an Airbnb, which was a student dorm for $350 for the 4 nights we were there.  Considering most hotels (and hostels!) were $200+/night this was definitely a budget trip.  :) 


Where do I start?  We loved Munich.  According to our tour guide, on our free tour (neweuropetours.eu/munich), southern Germans are much more laid back than their northern neighbors.  Our tour guide mentioned they identify more with Italian and Austrian culture than northern German culture.  And people did seem really laid back.  We barely received any heavy sighs when we butchered German or just went straight to English.  Thank you, Munich!

yes, i ate many pretzels

The city was so nice!  From the very comprehensive subway system to the clean streets and nice people.  It was just such a nice trip.  Towards the end, Mike & I were talking about how much money we spent in total and really it wasn't a whole lot.  Oktoberfest was expensive, but we only sat down to maybe 3 meals.  However, things are just more expensive there.  And as we talked about it, that's how their stuff is so much nicer.  Taxes, people, it's a thing.  Good things can come from taxes.  We did spend around $75 on public transit for 3 days (for both of us, so $37 each), but we didn't take any other transportation, that was all we needed. And it was amazing (even if it was expensive).


On to the trip...we ended up spending a lot of time in Olympic Village, running, walking, exploring.  Our Airbnb was so close, which is why we went for a run there.  BMW (museum & welt) was right on the outer edge so we walked through to get there.  And going up in the Olympiaturm where we met the nicest, old Munich couple.  They still use all the buildings built for the 1972 Olympics, which was held in Munich.


The Glockenspiel in Marienplatz (Munich's main square) was fun.  Our tour guide said it's one of the biggest tourist disappointments, but I still think it's worth seeing.


I feel like I should split Oktoberfest into day 1 and 2 because we had such different experiences between the days.

Day 1
We arrived around 3:00 after hanging out for awhile downtown and found a seat in the first hall we walked in and almost immediately when we sat down someone asked us to scoot over.  So we did and before we knew it we were crammed into the middle of a bench, the worst place to be.  (Note: the benches are right next to each other, people who get out from the middle often just stand up on the bench and walk between the two sides of the benches.)  It is also very challenging to get service.  Somehow, finally, Mike got a waitress's attention, we had a beer and left.  Then we started walking, tent to tent to tent to tent, etc.  (I'm not exaggerating.) My feet started hurting (it was a poor shoe choice).  There wasn't any room.  It was not fun.  Finally, we left.  
Augustiner's hall



Day 2
New strategy.  We got there around 12:30.  We easily found a seat at a table that was reserved later in the day.  We had a beer, Mike had 1/2 a chicken (which is a thing there), the waitress was very nice.  We saw people using an app to translate the menu (which Mike downloaded that night).  It was very enjoyable.  We decided to go to one more tent before leaving.  We found another seat at another table that was reserved for later in the day, decided we had "plenty of time", enjoyed a beer, had a lovely chat with the waiter.  I will note, the hall was starting to become more crowded.  Before we knew it the reservation was starting.  We finished our beers and left.  (Did I note all these beers are 1 liter?  There is no ordering of size or kind, just quantity.)  Then we enjoyed the festivities of Oktoberfest, it really is one big festival.  We rode a roller coaster, bought traditional gingerbread cookies (which you wear as a necklace), hung out on a hill where a big group was sitting.  And then we left.  And it was so much fun.




Some notes on Oktoberfest.  I already mentioned it's really more of a festival than anything else.  There are rides and games and food and the beer halls.  All the beer served at the Oktoberfest comes from six Munich breweries.  75% of people there (and honestly 50% all around Munich) were wearing traditional German clothing.  The gingerbread cookies with sayings are everywhere.  People start standing on all the benches towards the evening.  The beer halls are huge, they range in size, but the largest holds 10,000.  In one tent.  And they were all full.  To be fair, they range in size, but the smallest was 2,900.  And supposedly attendance was down this year.  Hofbrau is known to be all tourists.  We did not go to that tent.  Mike wanted to see the original so we went to their brewery in Old Town, but not their tent.  Girls tie their skirts on the left hip if they're single, right hip if they're in a relationship and in the back if they're a tourist or widow.


Fancy cars. To be fair, I would likely never notice cars in an area on my own, but Mike was very excited and usually points some out to me.  His general observations were that Germans like nice cars and it may be a result of stricter emissions requirements.  I did overhear a couple Brits talking about a car at the BMW Welt and their curiosity over who would use a car so large until one said, "Americans."

Mike's style car | My style car: the original copper pony

So we spent "Mike's Day" looking at cars.  We started at BMW Welt (basically a showroom of existing cars) then we went to their museum.  And let me tell you, I read almost every bit of information there...because Mike was moving quite slowly.  I read everything and then still waited for him at the end of each room.  Guys, I wish I was exaggerating, everyone passed us in the museum.  We passed no one.  And I had plenty of time to observe.  So if you have any questions about BMW, hit me up.  


this was my favorite car
 Mike brought home two souvenirs, his German hat and this t-shirt.  Yes, it's a BMW.

We rented a car and drove to the Alps, which was pretty amazing.  We drove on the autobahn, which, honestly, most people probably drove around 80 mph.  But some drove very, very fast.  Everyone is good about staying in the right hand lane for sure.  And everyone slowed down for the very slow city area speed limits.  It was just so interesting to see speed limit signs with no speed limit.  But really, driving to the Alps was so beautiful, we even took a tunnel under one.  And we had dinner in a ski town where you just looked up at the Alps like it wasn't a big deal at all.  It was amazing.


If you are still reading, I have a story for you as a treat.  One night, Mike "woke me up" to tell me he couldn't sleep.  Apparently I replied, "Close your eyes. Close your mouth. And think about gingerbread cookies."  I do not remember this conversation.  Ha.


P.S. My dreams of Oktoberfest last year when I had zero idea I would get to experience the real thing!

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