We arrived at the Oktoberfest grounds just as they were clearing the last of the previous night's festivities, mess and trash away. The carnival grounds, complete with roller coasters, rides and games were ready to open for another day of Bavarian revelry.
Klaas, Leah, Alyssa and I chose a tent almost immediately. We had a good feeling about Schottenhammel and got in line. Immediately behind us in line was a group of guys, around 17 - 18 years of age. We introduced ourselves to them and discovered that they were a Bavarian hockey team bent on picking up girls at Wiesn. I showed the loudest of them (his name was Ferdinand, I believe) my songbook and soon we were singing German songs while the rest of the sleepy, cold people in line looked on. After about an hour, the doors open and we were able to secure a table in between the hockey players and a table of Italians.
After sitting at the table for a few minutes, servers began to come by with all the things we could possibly want: sweet pickles, different types of sausage, pretzels, and of course 1 liter mugs of Paulaner beer. Our chatting and joking with each other and our neighboring tables was periodically interrupted by cheering as someone in the huge tent would stand up on their table and raise their arms above their head. We would all then stand up and cheer as some macho German would down a whole liter of beer (we would boo when they failed). After a very successful morning, we bid our new friends goodbye and decided to ride a carnival ride before checking into our hotel.
Upon arrival at our hotel, the all-night drive and sleepy warm feeling of beer and sausage caught up to us and we napped for a few hours. We awoke in the early evening refreshed and ready for round 2.
Our return to Oktoberfest around dusk was exciting and we decided to try a new tent, this time the Ochsenbraterei tent. I can barely describe the sight I saw when I entered the Ochsenbraterei tent. The morning was fun, but this was what every stereotype and Oktoberfest dream was about. Imagine walking into a tent full of thousands of people, every single one standing on their table, arm-in-arm, singing along to a polka band and raising their glasses to the ceiling. The feeling of extreme mirth was overwhelming. The four of us easily found a table, ordered beers and chicken, and made friends with an inebriated Norwegian family at the table next to us. As the night when on, the lines between our tables blurred and I ended up arm-in-arm with an old Norwegian man (who spoke no English) and Klaas, singing "Hey Jude" at the top of my lungs.
Hey Jude? Wasn't this Germany? Turns out this polka band played joyous Oktoberfest versions of American and international hits in addition to tons of German songs that I didn't know but sang loudly anyway. We stood on our tables and sang and laughed for hours.
Most of my Sunday at Wiesn defies photographic or written description, but after such an amazing day, I definitely plan on going back, and you should join me.