I have arrived back to Florence safely from my weekend full of beer, beer, beer, pretzels, and GERMANY! This post is slightly long and there’s still so many details that I’m not including but I’m beyond exhausted so bear with me 🙂
DAY 1 – MUNICH AND CAMPING!
We got to our campsite at 8 am on Friday, and right away, we were all handed beer from the Aussies who run the campgrounds. Breakfast anyone?! Seriously, these Aussies are awesome but CRAZY – they can literally party 24/7, always make sure you have a beer in your hand, and it seems like they never even sleep! I’m still in awe of their abilities but the campsite they run was extremely fun – it looks like it’s straight out of the movies and was full of color and a bar and a band and stuff hanging down everywhere. There were countless Aussies but also a ton of people from all over the globe – I hung out with Canadians, Norwegians, Taiwanese, Germans, New Zealanders…. everywhere!
After our breakfast beer (this seems to be trend with them… beer for every meal), we went on a bike tour through Munich. Our tour guide was hilarious and sarcastic and is known for making the tour fun and easygoing, so it was a nice change of pace! We biked to a lot of different churches and monuments in Munich, and then through the English Garden.
The English Garden is BEAUTIFUL. It’s 4x the size of Central Park and is just miles of rolling green hills and a river flowing through and trees and creeks. I was seriously considering just ditching the whole weekend’s Oktoberfest plans and sitting in that garden for the rest of the weekend, and my life. I would be perfectly content sitting in that garden for eternity. We also stopped at the Chinese Beer Gardens within the English Garden and I got my first German meal!
There’s this awesome spot in between the city line and the Garden, where a river straight from Alps flows through under a bridge and there’s kind of a “wave” (there’s something under the water that makes it go up). This is where all the surfers surf! So cool!
Our tour went on for a while, so when we explored Munich a little bit and then just went back to our campsite, where all these foreigners provided a VERY fun night – lots of music, dancing, unlimited bar…. the works. It was forecasted to rain the whole weekend and it was looking good until a big thunderstorm broke its way through and soaked EVERYONE. Nonetheless, we kept the fun going and did some sort of weird chant thing overtime the power went out so it actually made it even more fun!
DAY 2 – OKTOBERFEST!
We got up bright and early to begin our wait in line. Once we got to the tent (Hofbrau), there was already a giant crowd (8:00 am). We waited until about 9:15 and when they let us in, it was pretty scary – just a giant mob pushing to get in! We ran around looking for a table and ended up sitting with some random people and 2 guys from Brazil!
We had to wait until 12 for the mayor to tap the keg since it was opening weekend. The keg-tapping is a huge deal and it was really cool to see how the atmosphere instantly changed after he tapped it – everyone was dancing and singing German songs and just so hyped up! The waiters started coming out with the steins of beer – these waiters are BEASTS. The steins are so heavy even without beer in them, and they were carrying up to 12 steins at once, all stacked and full of beer!!!
During the entire festival, people never stopped dancing on the tables and singing German songs. I don’t even know how to describe it – it was just such a cool cultural experience and everyone bonds so easily. Everyone there was extremely happy and cheery, all dressed up in Leiderhoison (spelling?) and Dirndls, and friends were made instantly. i was also astonished at the people who could chug the entire liter of beer – whenever someone stood up on the table, everyone in the tent (10,000 people) stood up on the benches and cheered them on and it was a huge ordeal. People were chugging them out of steins, boots, hats, and pretty much whatever they could think of!! Also, this beer was the BEST BEER I’VE EVER HAD. I went in thinking I could probably only drink 1 stein slowly but nope – it went down SOOO smooth and I wanted 7. (although 2 did me quite well, haha). I also got a pretzel the size of my head and literally the BEST chicken I will ever eat in my entire life (still can’t stop thinking about it).
The festival is far from being just beer. It’s actually a huge carnival too with tons and tons of rides and games. I really wanted to ride some but I was way too exhausted after 2 liters of beer, endless dancing, and singing and didn’t want to risk spewing my beer everywhere… Although the beer is incredible, it’s not just the beer drinking that makes this festival the best festival in the world – it’s all the friendships made from all over the world, the cheeriness and singing, and the constant “PROST!”ing and smiles everywhere!
I have tons of awesome videos but those take too long to upload so you guys will see them in a few months when I make a video montage of this trip 🙂
DAY 3 – DACHAU/BACK TO FLORENCE:
On Sunday, before our departure at 3, we visited the Dachau Concentration Camp (quite a different feeling than the previous day). It was all really interesting and I spent hours walking around looking at the barracks and reading personal stories. It was a really important experience and I’m really really glad I chose to see it. It was surreal standing right where all of these tragic and cruel things happened. The hardest part was going into the crematorium where they tricked the people into thinking they were taking a shower – I’m not going to go into detail but i walked out very shaken up and with emotions flying at me from every direction.
We began our bus ride back to Florence (8 hours) around 3, and although I was absolutely exhausted, I kept myself up for a majority of the time because the drive from Germany to Italy was SO beautiful. This is when I made a pact with myself that I will, NO MATTER WHAT, come back to these beautiful rolling German hills and giant mountains. It looked like exactly the kind of place I love – total wilderness, lush green with German houses scattered about and nestled within trees, and giant, towering, dramatic snow-capped mountains. Every time I go somewhere new I’m gaping out the window with my jaw dropped but seriously, it was BEAUTIFUL. And there were so many castles perched upon rocky mountains!
We got home at 12 and today I am EXHAUSTED. I can’t believe I was just in Germany yesterday! I’m loving this traveling life, and I can’t really complain about being tired. I’m having a rough day because I have SO much to do and also have some food poisoning on top of that, but I’m powering through because I have another trip planned this weekend!
I’ll post again soon, after my test on Wednesday or sooner if I need a study break 😉 Ciao!