Oktoberfest

O´zapft is! How to Oktoberfest 2017

The Oktoberfest runs from Sept 16th – October 3rd 2017

What do hostel workers need most after an exhausting summer season? A sixteen-day beerfest, along with a hostel full of intoxicated guests. NOT, you would think, but we actually still enjoy this.

OK, we could do with less puke in the elevators, but there are the bizarre moments making up for the downsides. Like the guest we only saw wearing a helmet (“to avoid injuries when passing out”) or the guy wearing a zebra costume for breakfast. I asked him where he got that one from, to which he replied: “I don’t remember, I woke up in it”. Or the guy who returned at 3am with nothing but his underpants (he couldn’t tell how that happened, but we know it). We have seen it all, and whatever you do, we won’t tell your girlfriend. Here”s how to Oktoberfest:

Avoid the weekends.

Especially Saturdays. Especially the Saturday on the second weekend, when FC Bayern has a home match. Do yourself a favour and go on a weekday. Even on a Tuesday afternoon, it’s still the biggest party on earth. It’s easier to find accommodation, you”ll have to line up less than an hour for the rollercoasters, you’ll get inside the tents without lining up for hours and a free spot at a table will be much easier to find as well.

Don’t try to reserve a table

Because they don’t accept table reservations when the tent is likely to be full anyway. You just enter the tent of your choice, scan it for empty spots and ask the other people on the table “ist hier frei?” – that”s it, and it’s also a good conversation starter.

First eat, then drink!

Oktoberfest beer is stronger than the regular stuff. It can get quite warm in the tents, so you will be thirsty and might drink more than you intended. The salt on the pretzels will do the rest. Start your day with a hearty lunch – I recommend one of the many beer halls. Augustiner Bräustuben (http://www.braeustuben.de/) serves excellent pork knuckle for just € 9,20. The alcohol will hit you in a much more enjoyable way when you have some lardy food in your stomach.

Leave your stuff at the hostel

The Oktoberfest throng is a pickpocket’s paradise. You won’t want to be paranoid all the time about the contents of your pockets. Also leave your eyeglasses at home, you know, drunk people sometimes throw around their arms in a somewhat uncontrolled manner…

First rollercoaster, then binge drinking

Have mercy with me. I don’t want the contents of your digestive system raining down on me when I queue up. Please!
Still, if you are not yet completely wasted, sneaking out of the tent after the first Maß and go for a ride on the giant carousel or one of the rollercosters is definitely worth the experience.

Which tent?

There are 14 big ones and 20 small ones, altogether with seats for 100,000. The first one you’ll see at the main entrance is the Hippodrom, well known for its champagne bar (WTF?) and the occasional celebrity visitor. Schottenhamel is a large one (it seats 10,000) and the tent where it all starts when the mayor taps the first keg. The biggest one is Paulaner Festzelt (capacity 10,900), the best about it is the large outdoor area on its southern side, so you can enjoy the autumn sun. The locals’ favourite is still Augustiner, the only one left tapping the beer from traditional wooden kegs. The tent where the shit really hits the fan is Hofbräu – like the Hofbräuhaus beer hall it’s very popular with tourists who intend to party hard. Mind that the waitresses will ask you to leave when you have an empty stein in front of you and refuse to replace it with a full one immediately. All the tents come with very cheesy oompah-style brass music playing traditional Bavarian songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” or “Country Roads”. You will certainly hate it until you finished your fifth stein, then you’ll love it.

Don’t go to the wine tent

This is a BEERfest, for chrissake! Don’t be a nerd and drink wine. You just don’t!!!

Try not to pass out

The tents close just before midnight and those who can”t make it on their own legs any more will be brought to the slope under the “Bavaria” statue by the security guys – there are hundreds of “Bierleichen” lined up there every evening and the pickpockets will leave you with nothing but your underpants. You have been warned!

Vienna Christmas Markets

Christmas market at Vienna city hallIn Austria Christmas starts in November somehow. That´s when the first Christmas markets open. Vienna has an enormous variety of Christmas Markets to offer. Actually it seems there´s one around the corner no matter where you are and in deed you don´t have to walk far from one to another in Vienna´s city center. You can either follow the sweet fragrance of chestnut, gingerbread and punch or you ask the receptionist at your wombat´s CITY Hostel for directions and recommendations. Normally Christmas markets are more expensive and touristy, the nearer they are to Vienna´s main site, like the city hall or Schönbrunn palace. Which is not necessarily a bad thing if you visit Vienna as a tourist and carry enough cash 🙂  Those locations also give really nice snapshots, with the sites and monuments all up in Christmas decoration.

The slightly hidden markets, like the one Spittelberg are normally populated by locals. Especially at Museumsquartier and Altes AKH you´ll meet students and young locals. It is actually a habit among austrians to visit a Christmas market to drink some Punch or Glühwein before you go out. In some places you have many different versions of Glühwein or Punch, but the main concept is always the same: Hot alcohol (in case of Glühwein hopefully wine) and spices mixed with more spirits.  Just to give you an idea we´ll name the most important Christmas markets with directions and opening hours here:

Vienna Christmas World at the Christmas Market

12 November – 26 December 2016
Su-Th 10.00 am – 9.30 pm, Fr & Sa 10.00 am – 10.00 pm
24 December 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna
wienerweihnachtstraum.at

Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz

16 November -26 December 2016
Su-Th 11.00 am – 9.00 pm, Fr & Sa 11.00 am – 10.00 pm
24 December 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
25+26 December 11.00 am – 7.30 pm
New Year’s Village 27 December – 31 December 2016
11.00 am – 7.30 pm, 31 December 11.00 am – 6.00 pm
Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace

18 November – 23 December 2016
Daily from 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

Christmas Village in the Altes AKH

12 November – 23 December 2016
Mo-Sa 2.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Su, hols. 11.00 am – 10.00 pm
Alserstrasse/Spitalgasse, Hof 1, 1090 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

Old Viennese Christmas Market

18 November – 23 December 2016
Daily from 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
Freyung, 1010 Vienna
www.altwiener-markt.at

Am Hof Advent Market

11 November – 23 December 2016
Mo-Th 11.00 am – 9.00 pm, Fr-Su & hols. 10.00 am – 9.00 pm, food until 10.00 pm
Am Hof, 1010 Vienna
www.weihnachtsmarkt-hof.at

Cultural and Christmas Market & New Year’s Market, Schönbrunn Palace

19 November – 26 December 2016
Daily from 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
24 December 10.00 am – 4.00 pm, 25-26 December 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
New Year’s Market 27 December 2016 – 1 January 2017
Daily from 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
Schönbrunn Palace, 1130 Vienna
www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at

Art Advent – Art & Crafts on Karlsplatz

18 November – 23 December 2016
Daily from 12.00 noon – 8.00 pm, food until 9.00 pm
Karlsplatz, 1010 Vienna
www.artadvent.at

Christmas Market on Spittelberg

12 November – 23 December 2016
Mo-Th 3.00 pm – 9.00 pm, Fr 3.00 pm – 9.30 pm
Sa 12.00 noon – 9.30 pm, Su & hols. 12.00 noon – 9.00 pm
Spittelberggasse, Schrankgasse, Gutenberggasse, 1070 Vienna
www.spittelberg.at

Winter Market on Riesenradplatz

19 November 2016 – 8 January 2017
Mo-Fr 12.00 noon – 10.00 pm
Sa, Su & hols. 11.00 am – 10.00 pm
24 December 10.00 am – 5.00 pm, 31 December 12.00 noon – 2.00 am
Riesenradplatz, 1020 Vienna
www.wintermarkt.at/wintermarkt

Christmas Market on Stephansplatz

11 November – 26 December 2016
Daily from 11.00 am – 9.00 pm
24 December 110.00 am – 4.00 pm, 25-26 December 11.00 am – 7.00 pm
Stephansplatz/towards Churhausgasse, 1010 Vienna
www.weihnachtsmarkt-stephansplatz.at

source: wien.info

Brick Lane Street Sign

What to Do in East London

Brick Lane and Shoreditch

Touring around London, you will likely find yourself checking out all that East London has to offer. It is a popular location for all ages, but especially for anyone in their 20s. This is an area of the city built around the interests and needs of early 20s individuals. You have the shopping, restaurants, nightlife, and activities that appeal to youth in a way that you cannot find elsewhere. In East London, two of the most popular stops are Brick Lane and Shoreditch. Both offer some exceptional dining, shopping, and sightseeing, giving visitors a memorable experience that opens their minds up to all types of new things.

Brick Lane was once a rundown area of London, covered in slums and known for its proximity to the Jack the Ripper killings. It recently began to bounce back, however, and see an improvement. It is on the rise. The crowds flock to this part of the city to have fun and shop in the numerous vintage stores. Mostly full of pubs and shops, this area is a great place to hang out with friends or to stock up on items that you need. You can check out Blitz, Rokit, and East Gallery, as a few options for shopping and galleries. For food and drink, head over to Cinnamon, The Brickhouse, Big Chill or visit the Brick Lane Food Market on Sundays. Plenty more places are around Brick Lane, too. They brighten and liven up the streets. Even during the day, the streets are alive with musicians, entertainers, and creativity. It brings these streets to life at all times of the day and night.

Shoreditch has even more to offer. This location is a trendy place for younger individuals to grab a bite to eat, go shopping, go partying, and live life. You have everything from Golden Heart, a tavern that will capture your heart from the moment that you walk in, to Cereal Killer Café, a café where you can enjoy cereals from across the globe. Whether you want to party or you want to sit for a quiet meal, there is always something right up your alley.

The huge variety of locations means that it is near impossible to list everything here. You can go have fun in places like Queen of Hoxton or you can go find food stalls and view the beautiful architecture and street art around the city. You can even check out the lively individuals that take to the streets in these locations.

Kiraly utca Budapest

NYE in Budapest

Kiraly Street is the place to be in Budapest! All the restaurants and ruin pubs are a couple minutes walk from wombat’s in Budapest, making this location absolutely ideal. As I walked into the lobby, I saw a diverse group of backpackers playing pool and a few sitting at tables looking at maps, no doubt deciding where to go next. What a cool traveler community this is!

I got to Budapest by train, so ended up taking a metro line to Kiraly street where I then walked to wombat’s. Travel time from the train station was approximately 10 minutes, and I had no problem finding it based on website directions. Just don’t forget to exchange your money as Hungary’s currency is the Forint, not the Euro.

At the reception, wombat’s also suggests a few free walking tours, which are a great way to see the city. I walked 90% of the time, even though it was winter, to get where I was going. I would suggest taking a few hours to go through The House of Terror, a museum that details both the Nazi and Communist eras in Hungary. The building itself was the headquarters of several of these groups and it held many political prisoners. Very intense, but interactive, educational, and worth seeing.

In Budapest there are events called Sparties, or “Spa Parties” at the thermal baths. It is basically a thermal bath turned into a nightclub, complete with drinks, mist, lights, and music. Even though clubs aren’t typically my scene, I had to do it for the experience. I bought a ticket for the New Year’s Eve Sparty and it was definitely fun and different, and something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world! Being winter, it was cold getting out of the pool, but I would imagine in the summer it is just perfect.

Lastly, other than all the obvious historical sights, I highly suggest going to a few ruin pubs. My favorite was Szimpla Kert, a popular ruin pub about 5 minutes walk from wombat’s. It has an outdoor area for hookah, and several rooms full of random decorations. Don’t worry if there is a long line, it moves extremely fast!

My experience at wombat’s in Budapest was awesome and I can’t wait to go back! Budapest is definitely one of those cities that has fascinating historical sights mixed with fantastic food and nightlife. I will definitely be back!

What´s around wombat´s Berlin

You´re looking for a good Bar, nice Café or facilties like a cash machine near wombat´s CITY HOSTEL BERLIN.

Just download this PDF to your device and you´re ready to explore our lovely neighborhood.

Wombats Berlin Neighborhood

10 Things to Know About Nightlife in Berlin

Berlin club

Berlin club © libertinus

Berlin is famous for its awesome nightlife: countless bars, pubs and events, combined with one of the best club scenes of the world. When travellers arrive at our wombats CITY HOSTEL Berlin, one of the first things they want to know is where they should go out…

As for us, we think that too much buzz is made about the famous clubs which are mentioned in all the travel guides and magazines. In fact, there are so much great places to go out that you can have great fun everywhere in this town.

Just bear in mind the following 10 facts of Berlin’s nightlife to find what you want and have a fun night out:

1. Where the nightlife happens: Mostly in the (former) districts „Mitte“ (middle), north of it in Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain (east) and Kreuzberg (south).

2. District “Mitte” was really wild and cool in the 90ies… By now, it has become commercialized and not as hip as it was back then. However, if you are looking for a wide range of pubs and bars, the “Oranienburgerstraße” (Oranienburger street) might be a good starting point for a night out.

3. “Prenzlauer Berg” is the place where the scene moved on to when “Mitte” became too commercialised. Kollwitzplatz, Helmholdtplatz and Schönhauser Allee are now the best neighbourhoods to find loads of “drinking holes”. Beware of the “Kastanienallee” street: this place is overpopulated with “too-hip-crowds”.

4. “Friedrichshain” is still one of the least gentrified and most alternative districts of Berlin. Here you find industrial wastelands turned to huge clubs as well as cosy pubs offering great numbers on outdoor seats on the wide sidewalks.

5. “Kreuzberg” is… Well, it’s considered a city of it’s own rights in terms of going out and having fun. Our recommendation: just spend an entire day and night there to check it out. Enjoy!

6. Don’t make plans: Just let yourself go, ask Berliners where to find good parties tonight and enjoy whatever comes up.

7. “The later, the cooler 1”: Most pubs and bars don’t get very crowded ‘til 9 or 10 p.m. They usually stay opened ‘till 3 a.m.

8. “The later the cooler 2”: Don’t go to any clubs before midnight! On the other hand, sometimes you can take advantage of happy hours or reduced entrance fees when showing up early.

9. Outfit: the local chic is to look spectacularly underdressed. But beware: Berliners spend hours to make up their outfits to make them look as if they wouldn’t care 🙂

10. The good news for the day after: You can have breakfast anytime before sunset. So don’t mind getting up early.

[womphotocredits]Photo of Berlin club © libertinus under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.[/womphotocredits]