Munich is the largest city as well as the capital of the state of Bavaria in Germany. The city is situated north of the Bavarian Alps on the river Isar. The city gets its name from the founders of the city who were monks of the Benedictine order. The city served as the seat of Bavarian Dukes. Munich has a rich cultural heritage and is a major attraction for architecture and cultural fanatics. The city is an education hub and also has a number of museums and theatres that encourage performing arts. It has been a home to various great composers including Mozart, Richard Wagner and writers such as Max Helbe and Paul Heyse. The motto of the city is München magdich meaning Munich loves you. In the eys of this motto Munich has served as the host of the 1972 Summer Olympics and continues to host the biggest world-wide festival-The Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is the largest fair held in the world. The sixteen day long festival extends from late September to the first week of October. The inhabitants of Munich call it ‘Wiesn.’ The Oktoberfest is imbibed into the culture of Bavaria and is being held since 1810. The festival derives its history from the royal marriage ceremony of Crown Prince Ludwig who later became Kind Ludwig I to the Princess Therese. The fields of the celebration were hence named Theresienwiese meaning Theresa’s Meadow. Horse races marked the final event of the ceremony. It was decided to have the horse races every year which gave birth to the tradition of Oktoberfest. With the progression of time agricultural shows were added and carnival booths appeared. The horse races ended in 1960 and since that year Oktoberfest turned into a worldwide fair. The event has a traditional opening with a twelve gun salute and tapping of the first keg of the Oktoberfest beer.
The event always begins on a Saturday. The opening week is considered the best time to visit as it is less crowded which means a lesser number of drunken people around. The ground is a vast 100 acres and includes rides, games, displays and a large number of food and beer stalls. There are family oriented attractions such as the circus, carnival games and various live performances. So it is possible to have good time without having to enter a beer-tent. All the alcohol flowing around doesn’t interrupt the smooth functioning of the event.
Beer in large quantities amounting to around seven million litres is served during the festival. However it is not just any beer that can be served during Oktoberfest. Beer conforming to Reinheitsgebot that is a minimum of 6% alcohol by volume is only fit to be served. This beer is termed as Oktoberfest beer and is a trademark of the Club of Munich Brewers. A special beer called Maerzen is being brewed now at the Oktoberfest. It is a full-bodied, malty flavored beer and has a dry but clean finish.
However not every one of us is going to go to a festival to drink beer. The festival has various other attractions in the form of amusement rides, side-stalls and games. If you have a thing for the adrenaline rush that comes out of a ride then you can explore a range of rides from like the ancient “Krinoline,” “the Ferris wheel,” and the “Top Spin.” There are also a number of children rides with fairy tale characters and spooky ghosts. There are a bunch of other rides such as the Wall of Death, the Power Tower, The Munich Slide, The Haunted Castle, and the Free fall. A must try ride is The Weissbier Carousel which moves at quite a pace while a guy serves weissbier that is wheat beer, so if you can handle scary ride while your stomach is full of a liquid that can make you a little tipsy then this will make for a good experience.
While you are visiting Germany you can’t leave it without exploring the culinary culture of it. Oktoberfest provides the perfect opportunity as the place serves traditional dishes such as:
Food at the Market
There are junk food available such as potato pancakes, mushrooms cooked in wines, pretzels etc.
Candy and sweets
Traditional candies are served at Oktoberfest such as Gebrannte Mandeln (sugared almonds), Black Forrest cakes and Apfelstrudel.
Proper traditional meals such as Bratwurst and Weisswurst are served. Some other famous dishes served are Sauerbraten and Schwienebraten.
Some of the key-points that need to be taken care of if you are going to visit Oktoberfest are:-
- Accommodation is very sparse as most rooms have been booked for up to a month so make sure to make your reservations well in advance. You can also try private renting as various people rent their spare rooms.
- Make sure to hit the grounds early so that you can get a table in the beer tents as an initiative of the silent Oktoberfest drinks and food are served only to people who have a table. If you don’t have a table reserved you can associate with someone who has a table.
- Take care of your belongings as there are lots of people and lots of mayhem.
- Visit on Tuesdays as the prices are quite low being the family day.
Oktoberfest is something that everyone should have on their bucket list and must visit once in their lifetime.