Europe Trip - Highlights from Munich & Oktoberfest
Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected. (Carl Sandburg)
I had very few expectations for Munich and Oktoberfest. I figured we might drink beer and eat some pretzels, but the rest was pretty up in the air. My Mister had a conference outside Munich that was the impetus for this whole trip. We didn’t know it was during Oktoberfest until after he confirmed his attendance and started booking our travel.
Here are a few highlights from Munich & Oktoberfest:
We stayed near the conference, which was in an industrial, business-y suburb. Our hotel did not offer Instagram-worthy accommodations, but we were comfortable and near my Mister’s meetings. It was the longest leg of our trip, 6 nights in total. There were days filled with fun, others that were busy with work, and some that were a mix of both.
Our first day of Oktoberfest was certainly the most memorable. According to Wikipedia, “it is a 6-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.” We arrived early on opening day, hoping to secure a spot inside one of the tents, but 8am was not early enough!
It was a rainy day, so we searched the various beer gardens for seating under an overhang. We finally found two seats at a table with a bunch of young kids (the drinking age in Germany is 16 for beer) and a group of retirees behind us. As we waited until 12pm for the first kegs to be tapped, we became fast friends with the older bunch, specifically George, his wife Ingrid, and their friend Helga. (Such German names! Dressed in full Oktoberfest garb!)
We went to Oktoberfest 3 different times, and the short version of the story is: we drank lots of beer and ate a few roasted chickens (the “1/2 Hendl” is a Bavarian tradition). So glad we had the opportunity to check this one off the bucket list!
Even though Oktoberfest was the main focus, we managed to explore Munich too.
Inside the city center, we walked through the Marienplatz, then checked out the Rathaus (Town Hall) and St. Peter's Church. We went for a walk around the market and English Garden, both of which were amazing sights and good people watching.
Predictably, one of my favorite parts of our explorations through Munich was the time we spent in Chinesischer Turm, sharing a few pints. I also enjoyed walking over to Schwindinsel, which is a small island in the middle of the Isar River in Munich. In the picture above you can see the Bavarian State Parliament off in the distance.
Here are a few restaurant recommendations from our time in Munich:
- Sapori - if you ever find yourself in Unterschleißheim (outside Munich), I highly recommend trying this small Italian restaurant. My Mister and I went twice! Their Picante pizza was complete perfection!
- Albarone - this little gem is ranked highly on TripAdvisor, and worth every rating. We made reservations in advance and were the only patrons for the night. It was a unique experience and a fancy meal. Albarone is one place we would be happy to visit again!
- Geisel Vinothek - on our way out of town, we stopped by this restaurant only a few blocks from the main train station in Munich. This place is completely charming, with decor that I would happily “borrow” for our house one day. We shared the prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella to start, and it was the best we’ve ever had!
Our week in Munich was interesting and memorable. If we go back, we will stay inside the city center… and hope for better weather! Our next stop was Vienna, Austria — a new city and country for us. I will share our highlights from that part of our journey next Tuesday.