Monday, November 28, 2016

Tips for a great Oktoberfest

Here's a little something I wrote for everyone before we went to Oktoberfest this year, thought it might be worth putting out to a slightly larger audience. 
-        Where – Theresienweise (48.1316O N, 11.5496O E)
-        How to get there – There are 4 U-bahn Stations – Theresienwiese (U4/U5), Schwanthalerhoehe (U4/U5), Goetheplatz (U3/U6), Poccistrasse (U3/U6) – within walking distance.  The train station, München Hauptbahnhof, is also about a 20 minute walk. (***Make sure to use a card with a chip if you are buying train tickets using the machines, regular credit cards don’t really work. )
-        What to wear – The traditional garb is called “Tracht” – Lederhosen for the gents and Dirndls (or lederhosen) for the ladies . You can get a decent set for about 100 euro. You can buy it when you get to Munich, there are many temporary shops just outside the train station that have them pretty cheap, you can buy them online, or you can spend some real money getting a nice set, but definitely get some so you fit in. I would recommend shoes that you don’t love, for the ladies buy a pair of cheap ballet flats (but make sure they have a rubber sole) that you won’t be sad to throw away at the end of the weekend, there is often spilled beer and occasionally broken glass so make sure your shoes are good but not great. Here’s a good resource if you have other wardrobe concerns:
-        General – The beer halls open at 1000 on weekdays/0900 on weekends and close at 2230 every day. You don’t need a reservation to get in but you may have to wait in line. If you get there early in the day you can usually score a spot outside easily and camp out as long as you’d like. Beers are about 10 if I remember correctly, but they are a liter, so don’t worry it’s a good deal. There is also a tent that does wine if beer isn’t your thing. Don’t bother asking for liquor or mixed drinks, they’ll just look at you like you’re an idiot.
-        What to eat – Most beer halls have standard fare ½ chicken (Hähnchen), pork knuckle (Schweinshaxe), Wurst (Sausage), Schnitzel (breaded chicken or veal cutlet), pretzels (Brez’n), sauerkraut, and käsespätzle (cheese covered potato noodles, which is what I think heaven must taste like). There are also food kiosks around the grounds that sell other things like coffee and roasted nuts. I think there might also be salads available, but I’ve never asked.
-        They don’t allow large bags in Oktoberfest for security reasons. Either bring a small purse (a man purse, no judgement here) or just a wallet. There is a luggage check at the exit near the Thereseweisen metro station, I think it was only 5 euro for the day.

What to see/do–
-        The Glockenspiel – it’s the clock that plays on the Rathaus (town hall) in Marienplatz (which you should go see regardless). For a really neat view of it I would recommend climbing to the top of Peterskirke which is about a block away.  It plays at 1100, 1200, and 1700 every day.
-        Neuschwanstein Castle (the one Disney castles are based on) – Book a tour or you can take the train from Munich to Füssen and then the RVS/OVG 78 or 73 busses to Hohenschwangau and walk to the castle. You can book tickets at
-        Schloss Nymphenburg – Summer home for the royal family initially built in 1664. Schloss Nymphenburg 1, Open 0900-1800, 11.50. To get there S-Bahn to "Laim", then bus to "Schloss Nymphenburg" or U-Bahn to "Rotkreuzplatz", then tram to "Schloss Nymphenburg".
-        Deutches Museum – Museumsinsel 1, Open 0900-1700, 11. To get there S-Bahn lines to Isartor; U-Bahn lines 1 and 2 to Fraunhoferstrasse.
-        Hofbrauhaus (Actual) – Platzl 9, Open 0900-2330, free entry to restaurant.
-        BMW Welt – Displays of everything BMW has ever made. Am Olympiapark 1, Open Mon-Sat 0730-2400, Sun 0900-2400, 10. To get there take the U3 toard Olymia-Einkaufszentrum to Olympiazentrum.
-        Munich Residenz - Served as the seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from 1508 to 1918. Residenzstrasse 1, Open 0900-1800, 7. To get there walk from S-bahn “Marienplatz”, U-bahn “Marienplatz or “Odeonsplatz”, Bus stop “Odeonplatz” or Tram stop “Nationaltheater”.
-        Dachau – Concentration camp located about 30 minutes outside of Munich. Pater-Roth-Strasse 2a Dachau, Open 0900-1700, free to enter, small fee for audio guides and guided tours (guided tours should be booked ahead of time). To get there from the Hauptbahnhof take the S2 to Dachau then the 726 bus.
-        Englisher Garden – You can see people surfing on the river and there’s a huge beer garden inside.
-        Mike’s Bike Tours – They give a really good overview of Munich’s history and you get to see a lot of the sights faster than a walking tour.

How to get there - As you exit the baggage claim area in the airport, you will need to look for a sign with a solid green circle with a white "S" in it. This is the sign directing you to the S-Bahn (subway). The sign will lead you to the station in the airport that is located in Terminal 1. Continue to follow the signs until you reach the Deutsch Bahn (DB) train counter to obtain a ticket to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The train counter will be able to print up an itinerary which tells you which train to catch, where and when it leaves. You will board the subway downstairs. After 40 minutes on the train pay attention to a changeover at Pasing. Exit the train. The connection time can sometimes be very tight. If it is a tight connection, make sure to ask the counter the track number (gleis) for your train to Garmisch. Once you have made the switch in Pasing (or another stop as specified by the itinerary), you can sit and enjoy the scenery, as you have a one hour and 20 minute ride ahead of you. The train will stop directly in Garmisch. The stop is one after Farchant. For more information regarding train schedules please visit: Taxis are located in front of the train station and should cost you 8-10 Euro to any of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort facilities in Garmisch.
Another option is to take the Meinfernbus directly from the Munich Airport to Garmisch-Partenkirchen Bahnhof. You can reserve seats in advance. Please visit:, the airport is 'Munchen Flughafen'. To find the bus stop at (MUC) airport, you need to make your way to Terminal 2. Once in Terminal 2, go out the door by Subway to the bus terminal. Look for a Meinfernbus sign to Garmisch. The bus is generally bright green.  

What to see-
-        Zugspitze – The highest point in the German Alps is located not far from Edelweiss.  Olympiastraße 27 Garmisch, First Cogwheel train leaves Garmisch at 0730 – Last train leaves Zugspitz at 1850 or the cable cars run 0800-1645, 53 (so maybe a little expensive for a view). How to get there - Take the cog wheel train from Zugspitze station Garmisch-Partenkirchen to the idyllic Lake Eibsee. The ascent with the Eibsee cable car offers spectacular views down to the lake, before new horizons open up with a powerful panorama at the Zugspitze Peak.  The Zugspitze Glacier at 2,600 metres is then accessed using the glacier lifts, before the rack and pinion railway comfortably transports you through the Zugspitze Tunnel and back to your original starting point.
-        Partnachklamm – Take a walk through this gorgeous gorge. Open 0800-1900, 4. Park at the Skistadion and follow signs to the path.
What to eat-
-        I would highly recommend the Zum Wildschutz restaurant, if you want a great pork knuckle go for dinner (they don’t have them at lunch).

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