Munich

I fly all the time but I hate flying. I don’t like planes. Well, maybe that’s not fair. Maybe I love planes. I love the idea of business class and first class. I love the idea of having a food and drink menu while you travel. I love the idea of a pre flight lounge and the cool camaraderie you can find while getting drunk at the airport bar (even though I find those “restaurants” to be woefully short on creativity, inventory, service, style, and general competence…though if you work at one of them and are reading this, I obviously do not mean you). Hell, I even love the physics of flying itself. I think the fact that we have mastered flying through the air is almost magical. Maybe what I don’t like is death, and my assumption that it would be only natural to die while flying through the air at 600 miles an hour in what could best be described as a metal coffin. Surely this isn’t the way god intended it. In any case, god if you are up there, I have always hoped for one thing, when that fireball finally rushes through the oxygen infused pressurized cabin that I’m in, let it happen on my return flight. Don’t leave me hanging with what my trip might have been.

Anyway, I think I had a point, oh yes, Munich. So while I had a large and somewhat modern plane, a very nice seat, and plenty to drink, I still didn’t sleep much on my overnight flight from DC. I arrive in Munich exhausted but also positively motivated. My agenda is quick…beer, sausage, maybe some sort of an oompah band, then try to catch up on this looming jet lag problem. My hotel is perfectly located next to the Marien-platz so I set off immediately. Beer gardens are everywhere and I’m actually surprised at how different they are from the states. We call a picnic table on a patio a “beer garden”, they call it a giant space filled with communal tables, multiple beer and food vendors, waiters everywhere, and sometimes some live music. It’s pretty perfect. So I grab my liter of beer, I buy some white sausage, I embrace the scene, and then I hit the hardest brick wall ever. A case of red bull could not have saved me. My iron covered mattress was no match for this desire…

My coma is short lived however, I get up and race out to get drunk in this city where I am most definitely supposed to get drunk in. I find myself at the Hofbrau House after some vodkas at a slightly too-trendy-for-what-I-want-to-be-Munich bar. Hofbrau is amazing. Huge and festive and the beer was great. They only had the late night menu available so I had to randomly choose from a small selection. Sausage salad sounded just about perfect, speaking from a “want to be German” perspective. Gross as shit though. Bowl of oil, some radish, and different types of sausage swimming around. I fight through though cause the waiter recommended it…but maybe he just thought I was an asshole. Anyway, a few liters later I’m feeling rather capital, so as I’m walking around I find what appears to be a German gentleman’s club. The man at the door says the magic words…”no cover”, so I’m in before he got the “r” out.

I am not the biggest fan of strip clubs mind you, but there are worse places in the world to spend an hour than watching beautiful naked women. I wouldn’t exactly call this a strip club though, more like a stripper lounge where they hit you up for what has to be the most expensive stripper drink I have ever seen. The cheapest one, no lie, was 70 dollars, I was actually quite baffled. Needless to say they didn’t fawn over me that night. I did somehow make friends with some Romanian dudes and since I was near enough to Austria at that point, I thought shots of Jager were in order…and I hate Jager. I suspected I might have been living the beginning of the movie Hostel, but luckily I did not wind up in a torture room on that particular evening.

Summary is…I had a fantastic time, but it was a tough city to do on the first day of this trip. Sausages, beer, good people, and an amazing pedestrian road filled with anything and everything, including some of the oldest buildings in Germany with astounding architecture. I would go back, but probably only for Oktoberfest.

Yup…I went back for Oktoberfest….so here goes.

You have never been to anything like Oktoberfest in munich. The sheer size of it all is simply amazing. The amount of people is simply amazing. The amount of beer and food and women! is simply amazing. I mean it is sort of indescribable. But in any case, don’t be me. You need to plan, at least a little bit. Get some reservations. It will help tremendously, unless you are still able to drink from 8am to 8pm, which I seem to always fail at ever since I turned 30. A reservation can get you in to the night session (which are way more fun) and at a certain time. No waiting in line forever to not even get a seat.

Oktoberfest is basically the biggest carnival you have ever seen with gigantic beer tents all around the grounds. You can only get beer inside the grounds of one of these tents. It is not true that you need a seat to get a beer, that is only true inside the tent, but outside they have giant unreserved areas that you can mill around in (prior to the big bouncers at the entrance of every tent) and get a beer, or 5. Speaking of which, liters are hard as shit to hold on to for any significant period of time. Maybe that’s why a seat is so desirable! They are huge, and heavy, and you drink much faster to make them lighter.

Around the grounds they also have a variety of wine bar stands. You can get a couple liquors and a few wines, but it is not a full bar by any stretch of the imagination. I did meet many cool people at these wine spots. You are just standing there, but they are great for people watching while you move from tent to tent.

Be careful when you go. The first day/night of Oktoberfest was madness. Madness. Once they shoot off those cannons and the crushing crowd you are already inside of lurches forward (the kegs don’t get tapped until the cannons sound) you will really understand how many people there really are. I mean it was hard to get anywhere, and there are a lot of places you will want to get.

It truly was an amazing time. Tons of beer, tons of women, more singing and cheering and hugging and patting and shaking than you have ever seen in one place. It’s the most festive feeling that I’ve ever seen or felt. I mean everyone is happy, what more do you want.

Notes to self:

-Did I mention giant pretzels!


Hotels

Hotel Schlicker (Oct. 2013)

Le Meridien (Sep. 2015)

Aloft (Sep. 2015)