I attended Karneval in Köln & Maastricht in 2012, which was incredible. Even getting up, starting to drink at 7a.m, and waiting in line at 8:30am (yes, a.m.) for two hours to get into the Früh (the most popular beer hall in Köln) was completely worth it, and probably one of the best festivals I‘ve attended, until I experienced Oktoberfest.
The countless times I’ve been going back and forth to Germany, and finally, I get to experience Oktoberfest. I was beyond stoked, and regardless of the fact that I lost my phone, it has been an incredible experience. If you plan on attending either within the next 2 weeks, or in the years to come, you might want to consider preparing for it in advance. Sure, preparing for a festival sounds insane, but for Oktoberfest, you kind of have to. So how does one prepare for Oktoberfest you ask? Well let me tell you…
Drink in Liters
Liters of beer, liters of water, liters of any liquid really. Just drink a lot a few weeks prior to Oktoberfest. This way you are training your stomach to expand and accept more liquids, especially considering you only get served 1-liter beers, also known as a Mass. There is no such thing as half a liter at Oktoberfest. That’s right, the Germans don’t mess around. This means, you want to make sure you don’t get full after the first liter. Train your stomach. Drink lots of liquids. Your welcome.
This might be more of a problem for ladies then for men. Holding a massive heavy Bavarian glass beer mug filled with 1-liter beer will get exhausting on your arms. This means, it is time to start lifting weights. I suggest starting with 1kg weights and moving up to 2kgs when you’re ready. You don’t want externalities like “My arms are so tired from holding this Mass” to get into the way of your Oktoberfest fun. Trust me, when you’re dancing on those table tops, there will no place to keep your beers except for to hold them. It is so so so heavy, and my arms did hurt. But on the other hand, it gave me the motivation to drink faster so lighten the load on my arms. Somehow a win-win I would say.
Know your Schalger
It’s all about the German Schalgers (folk music). That’s what they play at Oktoberfest, along with some English oldies and modern pop as well of course. There will be chanting, singing, dancing, chugging, and hugging. The music is the key to having a great time there, and the more of it you know, the more exciting it is, and the crowd huddling becomes that much more amusing. My absolute favorites and also extremely popular during Oktoberfest are these songs below. Yes its all in german, but the beats are so catchy I’m sure you’ll love them!
If you really want to experience Oktoberfest for what it is, don’t go in jeans and a T-shirt. All the locals are fully decked out in their traditional clothing to enjoy the festivities. Ladies wear traditional Bavarian dresses, also known as a Dirndl, that cover your knees. Sound conservative? Not so much! It’s all about the cleavage with these dirndls (unfortunately, this does not work in my favor). Also, an interesting side note, if a dirndl is worn correctly, it can tell a lot about a woman’s availability. A bow tied on the right means take and on the left means single! Men also have some pretty fancy outfits of there own that actually make them all look so handsome! They wear their plaid button down shirts and their leather pants, Lederhosen.
Book a Table
All the fun happens inside the tents, so you want to make sure you book a table well in advance. However, you can always try your luck on the weekdays when it is not as crowded. None the less, if the weather is nice, you can always opt to side outside, at the beer gardens of each of these tents as well. Keep in mind though, the real fun happens in the tents, so do whatever you can to try and get in.
Last but not least, and it deserves a special mention, Bladder Control. All this beer will make you want to use the bathroom. The lines are long. For ladies especially,you can find yourself waiting in line for 30 minutes or more just to pee, so time yourself well, and don’t wait for the last possible minute like I did. Haha! Seriously though, I wish someone told me this in advance.
Still want more? See my Oktoberfest experience here!