Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oktoberfest Review Guide: Part 1

One thing you'll notice when you start to plan your Oktoberfest trip is that hotels are full and/or have high rates, and hostels are already full of drunken Australians.  So, whats one to do to insure you have a place to stay?  Well, aside from booking real early or sleeping in the train station, look outside of Munich.  Personally I stayed in Augsburg.  A nice city only about half an hour away by train, and trains are frequent. 

My morning starts off at the Augsburg train station where already I am greeted with friendly guten morgens from germans dressed in lederhosen and dirndls.  This is at about 8am.  On a Tuesday.  Don't they work?  I haven't even arrived yet, and it is clear that these Germans are ready to down a few beers.  I board the train only to find more ethnically dressed locals.  Suddenly I feel out of place in my otherwise "normal" clothes, but I can already see that this is going to be a good day. 

Deserted Oktoberfest?
If you are arriving in Munich for the first time.  Don't worry.  Though its a sizeable city and the capital of Bavaria, the sea of leather pants flowing out of the train station will all lead you to your desired destination.  One needn't worry about getting lost on this day (at least not on the way to Oktoberfest...).  On weekdays, Oktoberfest opens at 9am, and shortly thereafter, we arrived.  Clearly, though people were making their way over, some still needed time to recover from the previous night.  We, on the other hand, were in need of some refreshment.  As mentioned in the previous post, each of the 6 brewers have at least one big tent.  So we decided to focus on those.  I'm going to be providing a brief review and rating for each of those visited.

Tent #1:  Armbrustschutzenzelt.   Associated Beer:  Paulaner
heading towards tent #1

Apparently that mess of letters the germans try and pass off as a word means "Crossbowman's Tent" or something like that.  But that's not really important.  Walking in you are greeted with green and white streamers overhead and boar and deer head trophy's along the walls.  I guess the crossbowman name is fitting.  It's big and can hold almost 6000 people, but when we entered at about 9:30 am, it was practically empty.  This was not the atmosphere I had been hoping for, but as it was early I fully understood and was glad I could find a spot to sit.  It would be a good way to ease into Oktoberfest.  To order a beer, one can either walk up and get it themselves or call into service one of the many beer maids making the rounds.  However, to our shock and surprise, no one came to our assistance!  and on top of that, when we tried to buy a beer, they weren't being served!  C'mon, this is Oktoberfest!  Walking into a beer tent, at Oktoberfest, I expect to be able to buy a beer.  I don't care if it is 9:30 on a Tuesday.  Shame on you Paulaner.  Shame on you crossbowmen.  In our disappointed we walked out of there, in a straight line no less, and looked for another tent to wet our whistles...

Armbrustschutzenzelt Interior
Paulaner's Tent Rating:  -5 beer steins.  No beer? for shame...

to be continued...

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