Unless you were born and raised in Austria or Germany, chances are you don’t have enough experience or stamina to get you through a 17 day Beer-festival. Actually, if you’re not Bavarian then a little bit of advice probably wouldn’t go astray when you’re heading to the Wiesn (as the locals call it). Here are some lessons I learnt which I hope my fellow beer-festival goers and drinkers alike will enjoy.
Wear a Dirndl or Lederhosen. If you don’t, you will be the odd one out. Plus it’s fun! A traditional outfit from your own country is OK, but you’ll get more into the spirit when you look Bavarian while you participate in their festival.
Get training early. If you’re going to wake up at some ungodly hour of the morning, most likely suffering a hangover from yesterday’s binge, then wait an hour or so in the cold before the tent opens so you can get a good seat, you need to be prepared. Not to mention that 1 litre is a lot to drink when it’s a higher percentage than “normal” beer. And you’ll certainly appreciate your training if you want kudos from the crowd for a beer scull, the crowd can be tough and you wouldn’t want to get booed down from your perch on the table.
Learn to eat a 1/2 Hendl (chicken) with only a fork. That’s how they come and you wouldn’t want to make a waitress who’s been on her feet 16 hours a day, 17 days straight walk back to the kitchen to get a knife for you, now would you? You should also be prepared to eat your Weißwurst (traditional Munich sausage) with no cutlery. That’s how the locals do it.
Be prepared for all weather. From sunscreen to umbrellas and most definitely a jacket, the weather in Munich can change from brilliant sunny days to thunderstorms without a lot of warning. And if it happens when you’re leaving with all the other revelers when the tents close, you’ll more than likely be stuck with not a lot of shelter, no taxis free to jump into and a fair distance to walk home.
And finally, don’t be ashamed to take a nap. I was fortunate enough to live close enough to take a nap at home. A lot of people made themselves comfortable wherever they were.
Did I also mention wearing old shoes? Mine got completely destroyed.
To have a look at my Lessons learnt at an Italian Chocolate festival, click here.