Oktoberfest… not actually in October

Recently, I have come to realize how much Pittsburgh is liked around the world. At the gym, I saw a guy with a Steelers shirt on. Apparently, he has family living in Detroit, but he is a major Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Also, I saw an advertisement with a girl wearing a Steelers hoodie. Some people who we have run into have been excited to hear that I am from Pittsburgh because they are fans. Most people are not as excited to hear that my roommate is from Philadelphia. Some Germans have told us that the NFL has become more popular in Europe in recent years. Also, I have seen a few Pittsburgh Pirates hats walking around Vienna.  

I also attended the Rapid Wien vs. Salzburg game for 21 euros. The game was pretty intense and I have never seen a fan group so committed to a game. They have people who lead the fan group with megaphones and the fan group is SO into the game. They have flags waving for the duration of the game. Their section also doesn’t even have seats so they stand for the entire game. We were seated near that section. Rapid Wien ended up losing in overtime. One of the IES kids actually cried about the loss, which is very surprising because I doubt any of the IES kids were really that invested into the game. 

Vienna and I tried this all-you-can-eat sushi buffet. It was around 7 euros, which was super cheap for everything. They did not restock the sushi bar, so that was kind of upsetting, but we got our moneys worth. 

Clarie, Maddie, Elise, and I went to the Burgtheater to see the play, The Party. It was all in German, but I could understand a good bit of it. However we were tired and falling asleep during it. After the show, we went to Addicted to Rock and I got the Moscow Muel of the Month and the Ganz Wien Muel. Claire and I shared an appetizer platter and it was super good. The platter had sweet potato fries, regular fries, mozzarellas cheese sticks that looked like fries, and onion rings. Addicted to Rock is probably one of my favorite places. 

After German class on Friday, I went to the gym then checked out the Flohmarkt. I bought 2 pairs of bamboo socks for the winter for 12 euros. 

Maddie, Elise, and I went to this conveyor belt sushi place. It was quite pricey, but still good. I would probably opt for the cheaper sushi options because conveyor belt sushi was not that exciting, especially because I was seated on the other side of the table, so I had to ask the others to grab the food for me. I packed for Oktoberfest and took a long walk to kill some time and get some exercise. I also took a brief nap because our bus was leaving late for Munich and was scheduled to arrive at 5AM. 

I slept for the majority of the bus trip to Munich. We were stopped around 3 or 4 AM for a passport check. The first police man was questioning every person, but then another police man arrived on the bus from the door in the middle and flew through his section of the passport check. When we got to Munich, it was around 5:45 AM and was raining. The rain was not too bad, so we walked to the München  Hauptbahnhof. I have been to the bahnhof in high school, so it was cool to be back to see it again. I found 2 lucky coins on our way to the U-Bahn (located inside the train station). It was easy to figure out how to get to the campground from the U-bahn since I saved the directions to my phone from GP Tents. We arrived to the campground around 8:30 and were able to check-in early and receive our tents. The payment for the tents could only be done in cash, so it was a good thing that I read the check-in information beforehand. We got ready and left for Oktoberfest around 9:40. 

Oktoberfest was wild. It was so extremely packed. This was surprising since the Oktoberfest fair grounds was so large. We first walked around and looked at some of the shops. I bought a pin with my name burned into it for 4 euros. Maddie and Claire bought hats that look like the Harry Potter sorting hat. Shortly after we saw the Hofbräuhaus tent and decided to go in. It was a good thing to go see, but the tent was way too packed for our comfort. It is one of the most well-known places, so it wasn’t that surprising, but still. Also, one of the waitresses got mad because she tried to serve us beer (we decided that we didn’t want any yet since we wanted to find food and a more comfortable place to be since we were smooshed in like sardines). We decided to keep looking and we found a tent called Augustiner Bräu. At first it was hard to find a seat and people were not willing to let us sit in their open seats (it is all bench seating so they are bound to sit with strangers anyways). We ended up getting lucky and some Germans and Colombians allowed us to sit with them. We stayed there for awhile and ate lunch and got some beer. Vienna and I shared one because we knew it was going to be a long day and we were not comfortable drinking too much with the large crowd. Claire and Maddie drank a bit more. My lunch was really good. I got the “1 Stück geräuchertes Forellenfilet (aus dem Voralpenland) auf Sauerrahm-Schnittlauchsauce mit Brot” for 10.50 euros. The Germans who we sat with were quite entertaining. Two of them were named Andreas and one of the Andreas thought we said Jaguar wrong (I guess it was an observation he made through other Americans because we were not talking about Jaguar). He kept telling us to repeat after him, “Jag-uar.” They also really seemed to be in favor of Pittsburgh because of the NFL and the one didn’t realize Pittsburgh was in Pennsylvania and said he would have to Google it (except he said google like “Goooogle” which we all thought was hilarious). They also referred to drinking as “Saffn.” 

When we finally left the tent, we went shopping for some snacks from the booths. I got candied pecans which were amazing. Of course, I purchased a official Oktoberfest 2019 beer stein and Lebkuchenhertz (gingerbread heart which I will hopefully be able to keep forever as decoration). Vienna and I kept the bunch in line since it was so extremely crowded. Eventually we went to wait to try to get into another tent for dinner, but it was taking awhile and one of our travel companions was not feeling too well. I suggested we walk toward the Rathaus and find something to eat there. We ended up eating at a place called Hofer. I got an egg, spinach, and potato dish with some white wine which was delicious. After that, we left for the tents. On the U-Bahn we talked to some Germans who live near Cologne, Germany. One of them is going to be moving to Cleveland, Ohio for 2 years for work. They sang on the U-Bahn and got others to sing along, so it was pretty funny.

Sleeping in the tent was actually really nice. They had mattresses over the gravel ground. The duvet was the most comfortable duvet I have ever seen yet. It was not too cold either, only a little chilly. So, sleeping with my leggings, socks, coat, and ear warmers kept me at perfect temperature. I suggested we wake up at 7, but the others did not favor that idea. I woke everyone up around 7:40 so we could checkout, eat breakfast, and start exploring. I did not want to waste the day sleeping! GP tents provided breakfast of sandwiches (ham and cheese, but I requested just cheese since I don’t eat meat). I added some tomatoes and put it in the panini machine. It was surprisingly super good and unexpected for a breakfast at a campground. We talked about things that we could do for the day, but did not find too much to do in Munich for a morning before our bus departure. I suggested we walk to the bus station because we would pass through the city center, we could get some exercise, and it could kill time. The walk was supposed to take 2 hours and 30 minutes, but the crew was not walking very fast and got tired, so it took a bit longer. We also stopped to see some things along the way. We saw a cute little garden, a super nice looking cemetery, some cute dogs, and an oddly placed Michael Jackson memorial. We stopped at a botanical garden near the bus station since Vienna and Claire were scheduled for different busses than Maddie and I. Maddie and I panicked a little when we saw that our bus was not on the departure screen and none of the platforms were labeled for our destination. We did find our bus, but it was scheduled to stop somewhere else first, so the sign did not say Vienna (our tickets did not inform us of this). I slept most of the way home. 

Oktoberfest was definitely an experience that I would recommend everyone participate in, but it is not something that I would recommend doing all the time. I feel as though the little German restaurants are just as satisfying, if not more satisfying than being among the wildness of Oktoberfest. There was lots of puke everywhere, it was hard to walk around since there were so many people, and some tourists were just rude (some Germans too, but it can be expected when all these tourists rush into your country). I did enjoy the pretzels, candied pecans, my half of the beer, my food, and sleeping in the tent (I am sure if it were colder, I would not have viewed the tent as favorably, but the weather was perfect). 

I cannot believe we are already into October. This month will be busy with the Styria trip, Mauthausen trip, midterms, mandatory fall break trip, and independent fall break trip. This semester is flying by so quickly. I have to finish up my fall break trip plans, and start planning for trips in November.

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