Waking up this morning to find your beer gut having finally diminished, you are probably feeling quite impressed with your efforts at the Edinburgh Oktoberfest. So much so, you might be feeling the desire to take your beer drinking skills to the next level; to the biggest level; to the biggest beer drinking festival in the world; to Munich Oktoberfest.
However, before you get too carried away, there are a number of things to consider. First, it takes months of preparation. Months. You need to start stretching out that gut and building upon your wallet ASAP. Having attended my first Oktoberfest as a ripe 18-year old, I can vouch for this. With braids in my hair and a twinkle in my eye, I was certainly not prepared. It took me three years to regain my dignity and return to the playing fields this year with hopes of redemption. And here I am. After three days in the beer halls, a 1am return flight back to Edinburgh and a 9am lecture to welcome me home: I live to tell the tale. So for all you travellers out there planning on jet-setting off to Munich next year, please find below a rookie’s survival guide to Oktoberfest.
Accommodation is outrageous. You need to book now. Depending on your level of comfort (and wallet), you have a number of options. Airbnb: amazing for life, not so amazing for the amount of beers you can afford afterwards. Next option, hostel. Arguably the most popular option, but also the most competitive, you will need to book quick. Third choice, camping. Good luck with that.
BUILD A BOTTOMOMLESS BANK ACCOUNT
It is best to walk in to Oktoberfest and pretend you are holding monopoly money. Or do what I did: take out a large sum of euros and tell yourself that it is useless in Edinburgh and so you may as well spend it on beer. In all seriousness, Oktoberfest is an expensive trip so it is better to start saving sooner rather than later.
BUY A COSTUME
Unless you are willing to get death stared by Germans for the entirety of the festival, buy a costume. You can buy cheapies outside the train station…however no promising it will survive day one. I say go for it and spend the big bucks. It is a worthy investment. Also ladies, be careful how you tie your apron. To the right means you are taken (back off seedy boys), to the left means you are single and ready to mingle. If you choose option two be prepared to receive wolf whistles, roses and marriage proposals ranging from adorable 12-year-old boys to creepy 80-year-old men.
PREPARE FOR AN ALL CARB DIET
No amount of ab exercises will save you from the inevitable. Embrace it. One stein (pint) turns into 10, and one pretzel turns into half a chicken, cheesy mac, a schnitzel and a sausage. Deeeelicious. Even if not particularly nutritious. However, if you find yourself cringing at the thought of having one more beer, there are alternatives. On my second visit, I ventured on board a rotating gin and tonic bar located outside the tents, and went for a few spins. Highly recommended. Or at least highly recommended until you start to feel nauseous
FIND YOUR FAMILY HOME
The biggest choice you will have to make whilst at Oktoberfest is your location for the day. With 14 large tents and 21 small ones, the choice is hard. What makes it even harder is that fact that you have to wake up at the crack of dawn and queue outside to ensure you get a good table. Don’t bother twirling your piggy tails at the security guards (we have tried). Unless you have cash to slip in their pocket, it is the back of the queue for you. And don’t even think about stepping outside to get some fresh air. Once you are out you are not getting back in. So make sure you shotgun your table nice and early and take it in turn for toilet breaks.
HANGOVERS CANNOT EXIST
You must go on, get up and do it all over again. After all, Oktoberfest lasts over two weeks.
And there you have it. You have now got six tips and 343 days to prepare yourself for the next Oktoberfest – I wish you good luck! I might even see you there…third time’s a charm.
[image:Pexels via Pixabay]