If you’re reading this I bet you’re having a heart attack. But yes, we’re back and yes, it’s a new blog. It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since we last posted. Lots has happened and hopefully now I have some time to update everyone back home on the last year of our European adventure. This blog comes at an appropriate time as Oktoberfest is right around the corner. Being the most famous of all German festivals we figured we had to go at least once, so one (unfortunately rainy) Saturday we set off for Munich to experience the real, the first, the largest, and the original Oktoberfest!
For those not familiar with German beer festivals, they are setup like any other fair or festival with carnival rides and food booths but in addition to that they have several different beer tents. Currently, Munich’s Oktoberfest has 14 large tents, some of which can seat over 10,000 people, and 20 small tents, which seat only a few hundred. Typically a ticket is required to get into the tents. Tickets go on sale in January and unless purchased early, they can be difficult and very expensive to get. If a tent is not full, people can go in without a ticket but this rarely happens at Oktoberfest. Because we are not beer drinkers, we figured there was no need to have tickets for a tent, we would just go, walk around and check out everything else.
After a two-hour drive, we arrived at a train station in Munich. We took the train into the heart of the city because finding parking around the world’s largest fair was going to be an impossible task.
Gray skies and festival rides.
The entrance to one of the large beer tents.
Andy’s favorite bratwurst stand, according to him they had the best steak sandwiches!
More large beer tents. These things are huge, some even have two stories.
Chocolate-dipped and candied fruit – typical fest sweets.
As the day went on, the rain got worse and worse.
A sea of umbrellas is not what you want to find at Oktoberfest. Not only were we wet but the trash from thousands of visitors all over the ground made the place a mess. All the white specks you see on the ground are disintegrating napkins and other trash. It was gross!
Unfortunately, our time at Oktoberfest was disappointing. With bad weather and huge weekend crowds, we did not think it was worth all the hype. However, Munich is not the only city in Germany to host a fall beer festival, many other cities around the country do so as well. In Stuttgart the fall beer festival is known as Volksfest.
Several days after our trip to Oktoberfest, we took the train into Stuttgart (on a fortunately beautiful day) to experience Cannstatter Volksfest.
We started the day with our favorite fest food: a bratwurst…
a steak sandwich and pommes (french fries). You may not be able to tell by this picture, but my husband loves his steak sandwiches!!!
A Volksfest beer tent.
After experiencing almost a years worth of German festivals, we were really beginning to crave some typical American fried fair food. You know…corn dogs, elephant ears, funnel cakes…any one would do. But all we were finding were bratwursts, steak sandwiches, fries, candied fruit, chocolate dipped fruit, and corn-on-the-cob. This all changed with our trip to Volksfest, when we discovered the lango!
Pictured above, the lango is deep-fried dough with a variety of topping options – our favorite being cinnamon and sugar. Finally, we got our fried food fix!
Since we were at Volksfest on a Thursday midday most of the tents were pretty empty so we decided to venture inside and see what we had been missing.
We checked out all the tents to find the most exciting one.
After visiting all the tents, we decided this one was the best. Although many of the tables were empty, all the people in the picture above are standing on the benches singing and dancing the day away with the live band.
We got a table in the back and enjoyed some beer tent food – half a chicken and a roll. After one bite it was clear we had been missing out! Fest chicken is incredible!!!
We ended the day sitting at our table enjoying our chicken and the entertainment of Volksfest goers singing and dancing to typical fest music, sounding something like this…Sweet Caroline, duh duh duh, good times never seemed so good, So Good, SO GOOD!!!