To make sure my trip won’t go too wrong, I usually like to do a bit of research and plan ahead. But sometimes people are telling me I just plan and think too much; perhaps I should do something more spontaneously. So when I went to Munich alone, I was trying not to plan too much and just explore and see the place as much as I can without giving myself too much trouble.
The purpose of the trip is to see Oktoberfest and explore a bit of Munich. Since I didn’t know any friend in Munich and the price for hostel and hotel are just crazy (a bed in a dormitory in a hostel can cost up to 100euro!), I don’t really want to spend a night there. So I took a bus that arrived Munich at around the noon, and I booked a return ticket to leave at around 6pm. I believe I would have enough time to see what Oktoberfest is like, and if I enjoyed myself too much there, I will just leave the Munich exploration tour for next time. There are plenty of bus companies that commute around Germany, like Flixbus, Postbus, ADAC..e.tc. Personally I like to go with Meinfernbus, so far I had a couple of journeys with them, and they are very reliable. The bus is clean, the driver usually speaks English, most of the time the bus come on time (if not, I was notified through SMS beforehand), and most importantly, the fare is pretty cheap (especially compared to the DeustcheBahn)!
The bus arrived at the Bus terminal in Munich, and I seriously had no idea where it was. But then I saw a lot of people wearing dirndl and lederhosen (the typical traditional Bavariacostume that people wear in Oktoberfest), and they are walking to the same direction, I decided to follow these people and see where they would lead me to. After walking for 5-10minutes, I started hearing music and seeing a big carnival place. I knew, ‘Bingo! Oktoberfest, here I am!’
I entered the Oktoberfest, and the next goal came into my mind: I want to get into one of the beer tents. My friends who been to Oktoberfest before told me if you didn’t book a table there, they won’t serve you beer and sometimes they won’t even let you enter the tent! I was not planning to drink beer there as I am alone and I only want to see how it is like, not to say I need to get back on the bus on time. It may sound a bit stupid not to drink beer in Oktoberfest, but I was really curious to see Oktoberfest by myself and try to understand why everyone says Oktoberfest is cool and fun and why they want to go to Oktoberfest so badly.
I wandered around, took pictures here and there. There are a lot of tents and kiosks in Oktoberfest: some are selling sausages like Bratwurst, Currywurst; some are having some games for people to play; some are selling some Ginger biscuits; and of course, there are many beer tents too! Whenever I stopped in front of a beer tent and took pictures, I will try to observe how people get inside: were there any securities? Did they check their bags? Did they talk with the people and ask them questions? So finally, I found one that people just went in straight away, without stopping for anything. I didn’t remember which beer tent it is, but I just went inside.
It was around 12 in the afternoon, and all the beer tables are full. Bavarian music was played at the background and people are all chatting, drinking beer and eating. Perhaps it is still early, people still behave quite decently. Only for one or two tables that people are standing on the table and dancing. Feeling a bit shy, I decided just to take a few pictures. But imagine, if people start drinking at 12 or even earlier, how people would behave after a couple of hours? Probably in the afternoon, everyone will be standing on the table, and strangers will talk to strangers…and Germans will start talking to me in German! (as if they don’t do it usually…!)
I stayed in the Oktoberfest for 2 hours and started looking for directions for U-Bahn (underground train or metro). I left the venue totally opposite to where I arrived, and follow the sign and crowd to the U-Bahn station. To make my life easier, I decided to get a day ticket (which cost 6euro, and a single trip ticket cost 2.6euro), so I didn’t have to worry about how much I am paying for transportation and I can hop on hop off anytime I want. I also stood in the station, trying to see if they have any kind of map on the board. I was looking at the map and saw something called ‘EnglischerGarten’, I assume it means a garden and it looks like a big garden from the map. So I took the U-bahn (line U3 or U6) to the stop ‘Universitat’. After I got off from the station, I tried to look for directions to the garden. Without much difficulty, I found a very big and beautiful park. It was a bit pity that the weather was already a bit chilled and that day it was mostly cloudy, if not, I am sure it will be a great place to relax and enjoy the nature.
I walked around the EnglischerGarten a bit and then I got back to the main road. Following my instinct, eventually I arrived the Marienplatz, the central square of Munich with many shops and restaurants. Marienplatz was surrounded by a lot of important architecture, for example, the New Town Hall, the Old Town Hall, the Glockenspiel and the Mariensaeule.
After walking for the whole day, I was getting tired. Since I got the day ticket with me, I went to the U-bahn station. I wanted to hop on a train, ‘sat’ for awhile and saw if there’s any difference among U-Bahn stations. I hopped on, hopped off, and checked a bit here and there (which I didn’t remember them anymore…) and headed back to the bus terminal and waited to get on the bus to leave.
All in all, it’s hard to judge a city when a person only spent half a day there. But it was fun and adventurous to follow your instinct to see a city. I still saw a bit of the most popular attractions even though I never got a map in my hand. With the U-Bahn day ticket, I would never worry about getting lost because as long as I am in the U-Bahn station, I know I could go back to the bus terminal. Oktoberfest looked like an enormous carnival to me with an aim of drinking as beer as you can. If you like to drink beer, party a bit, have fun with your friends and strangers, I reckon you should bring yourself there at least once in your life time!