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What to see in Germany - The Munich Oktoberfest.


Oktoberfest Has become famous across the world - so famous that communities in the U.S. and elsewhere have fashioned fall festivals after it. Munich's is a combination of a Bavarian beer festival and fair.  
As you heard will have heard about it, you will want to go. Do you know what to expect?
If you are planning to go in October, you're likely going to miss it completely, or most of it.  Oktoberfest commences on the third Saturday in September and is over by early October, lasting for 16-18 days.

The Munich Oktoberfest originated as a wedding feast for Prince Ludwig of Bavaria in 1810, and was such a success that it became an annual event..  The first day commences with a colorful parade through town to the fairgrounds, the Theresienwiese (called the Wies'n for short).  The Wiesenwirten, the breweries, have oompah bands and horsedrawn carts laden with beer barrels. The beer wagons and the draft horses are colourfully decorated, with the city's citizens marching and dancing along in traditional dress.  If you are there at the start of festivities, then you can join in to dance along behind the parade and follow them to the Wies'n. 
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Facilities, do's and don'ts at the Munich Oktoberfest.
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The breweries currently set up fourteen big beer tents at the Munich Oktoberfest . Most festival goers choose their tent by beer preference if possible; but it is such a well attended event that many are thankful they are lucky enough to get a seat!

Entrance into the Wies'n grounds is free of charge, with food and rides paid as you go... and of course the beer.
Finding your way to the fairgrounds is easy as public transport is available from behind the Hauptbahnhof (the central train station).  Just follow the crowds!  Most of the beer tents open at 10:30 in the morning... a little early to start drinking, but  you are advised to grab a seat by this time and enjoy the atmosphere in the meantime as it's harder to find a seat should you arrive much later. Be aware that there are company tables/reserved tables. Apart from these reserved tables. don't be shy, but squeeze in where you can and get friendly as you need to be seated before being served a beer at Oktoberfest.

Don't worry if you can't get into a beer tent.  Each of them has tables outside, and it can be easier to get a seat there.  You can probably hear the bands from outside. 

Oktoberfest beer is potent stuff.  8 percent alcohol.  AND it comes in those LITRE beer mugs. 

You will need to have plenty of cash on you, those beer maids don't want to stop to swipe your credit card!  There are ATMs at the Weis'n, but you will be held up for a long time in que's.

With drinking that beer out of litre beer mugs, you will soon be in need of a toilet.  Americans have the habit of looking for "restrooms", but instead you should look for "WC" or "toiletten".  If you have a seat in one of the tents, you should leave a friend behind to keep it reserved for you so that you won't lose your seat while you are out. 

Walk around and see the rides and the rest of the fair.  There are plenty of food stalls outside of the tents, and lots of carnival type rides, both new and old style. 

The Weis'n is a big fairground.  The ground is uneven, and if you wander to see all the rides, you'll be walking a long way.  You'll be walking to get to the the subway too, so wear comfortable shoes.

It's very crowded, and you will probably get a little tipsy, so leave your valuables locked in a safe in your hotel.  By all means take your camera, but keep track of it.  All the caveats about watching out for pickpockets apply, but when you're going to something like this, you should know that!

The Munich Oktoberfest closes each night at 11:00 pm or midnight, but they stop serving beer earlier than that....  Giving you enough time to drink that whole liter!  If you should remain until closing time, you will find yourslef within a mass exodus to the subway (U-Bahn or S-Bahn).... but you will discover that the crowd consists mostly of  friendly drunks.

Regarding accommodation for the Oktoberfest, you should reserve your room well in advance.  Rooms will be more expensive during the festival and bookings fill up quickly..

If you know what to expect and you do a little advance planning, that September holiday to Oktoberfest should be lots of fun.
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Munich Oktoberfest.

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