Germany: From September to Oktober(fest) (Week 6)

Updated: Jan 31

Ended our fall break travels with a trip to Munich, where we spent one day touring the city and the following day participating in the biggest annual beer festival in the world: Oktoberfest. We all felt that it was great way to kick off the month of October—well, at least those of us who remember what happened, that is. 

September 29-30th – Munich

Impressions: 

  1. The most beautiful trees in the world. Every possible shade of fall I could possibly imagine, sometimes all on one branch. Some trees looked like they were on fire, from the lightest yellow to the deepest red. The scarlet, magenta, and red wine-colored leaves were the most stunning of all.

  1. Finally, all the sauerkraut, sweet mustard, bratwurst, currywurst, schnitzel, and pretzels I wanted. What a glorious trip for my stomach. (Oh, and beer, too. Not the biggest fan of this drink in general, but make sure you try Cola and lemon beer here.)

  1. Lederhosen and dirndl everywhere! So colorful, festive, and fun. Wish I had had more time to pick out a traditional outfit for myself.

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  1. Very modern, contemporary architecture in some of the neighborhoods. Lots of open space and parks. Cute cafés. Friendly locals. Incredibly fresh air.

  1. Oktoberfest was like the German version of the Houston Rodeo. Carnivals, crowds, colorful chaos. Except instead of huge tents for livestock shows, auctions, and concerts, there were huge tents for all the German beer breweries. GIANT, MASSIVE tents–all for drinking liter beers at (or on top of) long wooden tables and devouring endless platters of food and singing off-tune to festive renditions of American and German folk songs. I have never seen so much drunk merry-making in my life. It was glorious.

  2. Was also able to meet up with friends from NYU Madrid and NYU Florence! Sandra, Geenie, Mike, Aidan, Josh, Sarah, Connie, and more.

Highlights:

Our Airbnb. The cutest, most aesthetically decorated apartment I have yet to stay in during my time in Europe. Our host was classy and sweet. She even left us marzipan pretzels and two bottles of Oktoberfest beer as a house-warming gift.

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Schinder-Peter’s. A neighborhood restaurant with incredibly friendly staff. My first taste of Germany: currywurst, bratwurst, sauerkraut, and more.

Marienplatz – Town Square. The sunny weather made Munich’s town square and all of its impressive buildings all the more enjoyable. Every major city in Europe seems to have one of these city centers that makes you stop with only one comment to make: “wow.”

Ralph Kiefer. A solo pianist who somehow moved me to tears in the middle of Marienplatz. Decided to buy his album Imaginarium (here is the opening song if you want to listen). Then decided to dance with him in the streets.

Coincidentally, the song I danced to was inspired by a little girl dancing in the rain. He told me it would be part of his new album, which pays homage to the things he sees in everyday life.

“My new album will be called Momentum. Because it is all about living in the moment, you see?”

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Viktualienmarkt – The Marketplace. Another marketplace that sent me to foodie and souvenir shopping heaven. All the mustard and cheese and jam and pesto tastings in the world.

English Gardens. It’s official. Gardens and parks are my favorite places to visit in Europe. Spent over four hours here with Wes just…existing. I can still smell the crisp fall air and hear the crunch of bronze leaves and see the streaks of sunset colors stretch across an endless sky.

Andy’s Krabelgarten. All you need to know is that their pork schnitzel is infinitely better than the famous one we had in Vienna, which had already set the bar high. And that my friends went back 3 nights in a row for it.

Oktoberfest. See opening for accurate description. Incredibly fun and chaotic; culturally immersive in the craziest, loudest, most colorful ways, and filled with all the liter-beers, half-meter bratwurst sandwiches, 2-foot pretzels, and ketchup-mustard-mayonnaise loaded schnitzel buns you could ever want.

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Truly the merry-making festival of a lifetime, and one to remember forever–if one can still recall it, that is. Unfortunately, most of my friends gloriously and hilariously died before noon. I made sure they got back to an Airbnb to sleep off their regrets before I continued eating my day away. When I met up with them again in the evening, I found out that, apparently, German beer hangovers are the absolute *wurst.* HA. (Ok I’ll see myself out now.)

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