The Oktoberfest Survival Guide

Oktoberfest kicked off on September 17th in Munich, Germany. Unlike last year, I won’t be in attendance this time around. But in case you will be (or will be attending one of America’s faux celebrations), I want you all  to be prepared with my professional tips.

1) Be prepared for the ride

If you’re traveling to Munich via train, you might find yourself in a car with 10 men from the same “village” who have multiple kegs, loud music and an underage 15-year-old.  They will all be offended if you don’t drink beer and/or take shots with them, so just do it. Don’t plan on resting up during this voyage.

2) Eat whatever everyone else is eating

Look around. What are the old men and the bavarians in leiderhosen eating? Order that, no matter how good everything else sounds. If you can’t figure out the German menu, ask for an English version. They have them.

3) Order a pretzel the size of your head

You will not find anything like this in America no matter how hard you try. Plus, you’re going to need some carbs to aid with the 10 liters of beer you will inevitably drink.

4) Make friends and listen to what they say

Talk to everyone. Now that Obama is president, most Europeans no longer hate Americans the way they used to. (I’m not even kidding  or trying to make a political statement. Every time we met someone new, they told us how much they like Obama compared to Bush.) “Ohh, American? OBAAMMAAA!!”

Listen to your new friends. If the German GILF next to you tells you everyone is going to start dancing on the tables after the next song, believe him. He’s right. If the young Bavarian (pictured above) tells you to start making swimming motions during one part of a song, do it. He’s also right.

5) Don’t take your drink to the bathroom

Everyone tries to steal bier steins from the tents, mostly by taking them to the bathroom and putting them in purses. Just leave yours at the table and risk the roofies. It will be better than the fight you’ll get in with the non-English-speaking bathroom guard.

6) Take a nap

If you arrive early in the day, chances are you’re going to need a mid-afternoon snooze after several liters of biers. Germans are professionals. Americans are not. Give in, and take a 20-minute nap on your stein. Don’t listen to anyone who is heckling you to wake up. You’re going to need it.

7) Do not eat the gingerbread thing, no matter how many times someone calls it a cookie.

It’s not meant for human consumption. I still don’t understand the point of them. Just don’t eat it, no matter how hungry you are on the way out. Stop and get something else.

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