Day 2- Saturday, September 22, 2001


We were both feeling much better after a good night's sleep, however we did wake up at about 2:00am for a while but managed to get back to sleep until about 8:00.

Breakfast was at the hotel restaurant and it was a buffet. They had all sorts of smoked meats (bacon, ham, sausages, salami, salmon), cheeses, and bread/rolls, as well as more traditional American food like scrambled eggs.

Today was the first day of Oktoberfest. We learned that the U-Bahn had a station at the fairgrounds where the Oktoberfest would be held, but we weren't sure where it was. We figure that if we got to the Marienplatz station and looked for someone dressed in the traditional clothing that looked like they were going there we would have no trouble. We did find a young lady all dressed up in the traditional clothing and asked her if she was going there and if we could follow her. She agreed, and we kept a close eye on her on the train. At the right stop, she tapped me on the shoulder and said "Here" and then she disappeared into the crowd.

We followed the signs and the crowd and got to the fairgrounds about 11:00. It was still raining, foggy, cool, and not very pleasant. The crowds were still sparse as it didn't officially open until noon. There seemed to be more security here than at the airports. We walked around and poked our heads into a few of the beer halls and they were already packed. We walked around some more watching the horse-drawn wagons, all sponsored by the breweries, looking like the Budweiser Clydesdale wagons on a bit smaller scale. The horses were all decked out in silver harnesses and all sorts of other decorations.

Shortly after 12:30 we decided that we had done enough looking and it was time for a beer. We knew that since we didn't have a reservation our chances of finding a place to sit were slim to none. We stood off to the side out of the way watching the crowd. We made our way to one of the areas that looked like a gift shop, and you could get a beer. We ordered 2 1-liter mugs of beer for DM 19. They also sold radishes. While we were waiting for the beer, they gave us some radishes to eat. It went very well with the beer. This is part of the tradition of Oktoberfest. Much like the hot-dog vendors at the baseball stadiums, vendors there were walking around with plates of sliced radishes and large pretzels for sale.

I think that beer is one of the recognized religions in Germany- at least in the Munich area, and certainly at Oktoberfest (Our Lady of the Suds, I think). We tried out a few more beer halls and, of course, some more beer. In the last one that we went to we were standing by the wall near a section of the reserved tables (actually there were precious few that were not reserved with most people making their reservations a year in advance), and a man asked us if we would like to sit down at his table. We asked him about the open spots and the others that might be expecting a place to sit and he said not to worry about it, that we would be gone before they got there. "Sit" he said, and we did. We thanked him profusely. He said that his name was John but that was all the information that I could get from him because it was so noisy in the hall. We ordered another beer and enjoyed the people and the atmosphere.

John eventually left and another couple sat down at the table. We never did figure out if John's reservation had expired or if he simply left. The new people invited us to stay and bought us another beer. We had a nice conversation with them and discovered that they were from Northern Germany and come every year to the Oktoberfest. We finished our beer and departed. I tried to give the man a few marks to pay for our beer but he was very insistent that we not even think of doing that.

We were both very hungry and I wanted some real bratwurst and sauerkraut. We found a small restaurant (brathaus) close to the last beer hall that we were in and went inside. We were directed to a small upstairs area that had about 5 long tables. There was a small 3-man band providing live music. Since the tables were long and the room was very narrow there were no private tables. At our back was a table with some Asian people (Japanese or Chinese, we couldn't tell) and they were very polluted. One of the men was puking all over the table. Very shortly someone from security was there asking them to leave, which they did. Shortly thereafter a young couple was seated at our table. We exchanged pleasantries and discovered that they spoke very good English. We had a very good time talking to them and sharing the table.

My bratwurst and sauerkraut were excellent. Barb had a tenderloin of beef which she declared excellent as well. After the meal, the waiter appeared at our table wearing a 'necklace' of plastic sausages. Inside each sausage was a small bottle of plum liqueur. We initially bought a few of them but ended up buying enough to make a decent necklace for her too. I bought a small bottle of some sort of liqueur that was said to go with the sausages. It was very strong stuff but tasted wonderful. It may have been just a 'tourist thing' but we both enjoyed it very much. We were both wobbling a bit when we left. By this time, the sun had come out and it turned out to be a pretty day.

We went walking again, visiting a few more beer halls. As I mentioned before, security was quite evident. Our bags were searched at several of the beer halls and everyone also had to take off their hats. There were no incidents that we were aware of even with all of the beer that was flowing like water. People were very well behaved and very happy.

We found the U-Bahn station at the fairgrounds and started back to the hotel about 5:30, changing trains at the Marienplatz station. We then went to dinner at the hotel restaurant. Barb had the usual chicken sandwich and I had more bratwurst and sauerkraut along with a glass of good German wine. We were both worn out from the 6 hours of walking and the good food and beer. We got things ready to go for the next day and hit the sack.

Oktoberfest before the crowds
Going to Oktoberfest
The Grand Parade
The Hofbrauhaus Wagon
Inside the Hofbrauhaus Beer Garden
Beermaids keeping the suds flowing
Radishes at Oktoberfest
Inside the Lowenbrau Haus
The Lowenbrau Tower
The Hippodrom Beer Hall
Lowenbrau Haus
Inside the Hippodrom
Band at restaurant

Hofbrauhaus Parade Horses

Spatenbrau Bierhaus
Forward to Vienna
More Oktoberfest Pictures