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!

Grafittis in East London

East London – Off the beaten path

London’s East End, formerly known as “that part beyond the Tower”, is a vibrant area, comprised of a number of boroughs. With an area full of artists and hipsters, the home of the cockney dialect and a history that dates back to medieval times, East London holds many places that are ‘off the beaten track’ and perfect for backpackers to discover.

Hang out in Hackney for the day, enjoying an up and coming neighbourhood. Check out eclectic shops, great streetscapes and stop by the Wilton Way Cafe for great coffee and music to relax after your walk.

Want to run away with the circus? Check out an experience day at Circus Space where participants can get a taste for various circus arts including trapeze, tightwire, juggling and acrobatics.

Getting a drink in London can get a little expensive, but that’s where Happiness Forgets comes in. A little hard to find, this basement bar is located at Hoxton Square and offers a dark, cozy atmosphere and reasonably priced high end cocktails from 5 pm to 11 pm every night.

The house at 19 Princelet Street has a long and often interesting history. It has been a family home, a workshop for weavers and a synagogue. In 1969 a man disappeared completely from the third floor. Due to it’s age and condition, access is very limited, so be sure to check ahead to see when public visits are possible.

If you enjoy theatre and music, you need to visit Wilton’s Music Hall. It’s one of the oldest surviving grand music halls in the world and it opens it’s stage to artists of all sorts. You can also just enjoy the atmosphere with food or drink at the newly renovated Mahogany Bar, the oldest section of Wilton’s, built in 1725.

Wilton's Mahagony Bar

Wilton’s Mahagony Bar is great for a drink and if you’re lucky enough, you can enjoy some live music.

Hidden throughout London are images of the 8-bit video game monsters Space Invaders. Created by a French artist, some can be found in East London. There are more scattered around London, Hong Kong and Paris.

Graffiti in East London (Lost Souls)

If you’re into streetart, East London is your place to be.

Take a walk around and check out the graffiti and street art. You can see one of the last Banksy pieces in East London, along with many other talented artists. There are many organised tours or you can try a self guided tour.

If you prefer a more macabre tour, you can try out a Jack the Ripper self guided tour. Visit the places where the murders took place and imagine London’s East End in 1888.

Get back to nature in the city with a walk over the green bridge, which connects Bow Common to Mile End Park. Continue on to Victoria Park in the north or walk the Regent Canal along the west side of the park.

Finally, take some time to visit the free Museum of London Docklands, to learn some of the history of the area, from Roman and Viking use of the area to more modern times. You can also shop at Canary Wharf, the modern shopping, food and entertainment district build on the old West India Dock site.