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Living through Oktoberfest as a Munich resident

16 posts in this topic

Posted

I've been kind of curious about this. In Cologne we have a few days of Karneval where it seems the world descends on the city. So there's the Koelners who flee, those who religiously take part, and then everyone else in between. I do Karneval every other year, and flee the other.

 

Bierfest is obviously not simply a few days like it is for Karneval, so unless as a local you have lots of work holiday days saved up I guess fleeing is never an option.

 

Anyway, i'm curious, as residents, long-time or recently arrived, is it hell if you have to work all the way through Bierfest, wrestle through packed trains etc, can't book work clients into hotels because everywhere is booked etc?

 

And for those who dont flee, but stay behind, does the work atmosphere change? Is it a bit like working through karneval where everybody 'kind of' (ahem) works?

 

(As a separate side question, are there indie, fringe or subversive alternative bierfests, kind of the opposite or making a tongue in cheek mockery of Bierfest, I imagine similar to stunk vs prunksitzung? What events go on at LGBT level? We have the alternative pink "Christmas Avenue" weihnachtsmarkt here for example.)

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Posted

I would say that work generally continues (somewhat more than in Karnival, since Karnival is noticeably shorter), but that there are generally the three approaches that you have already mentioned:

 

1 - get in there and do your bit

 

2 - get the hell out of the whole area

 

3 - head down and continue

 

My X used to work in Schwantalerstrasse, which is quite near to the O-fest, and there were regularly "bodies" (and puke!) in the doorway when he got to work in the mornings during O-fest time.

On the other hand, his company used to give out free tickets to staff for half a chicken and two litres of beer per person at the O-fest when he worked there, so it wasn't all bad!

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Posted

Oh no, people going around enjoying themselves, while you're trying to do the important stuff, like work. What's next, are you going to start complaining that there are too many holidays? Work is something we have to do so that we can earn enough money to enjoy ourselves.

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Posted

@ Allers - may I assume that your concept of "enjoying yourself" does not include puking wherever you happen to be?

 

I am all for people enjoying themselves, but yes, it can be a strain on those who have to work through O-fest time.

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Posted

It was the same with the Love Parade in Berlin; a lot of people understandably hated it, but it was only for one weekend so it wasn't too difficult to escape. Oktoberfest is nearly 3 weeks and you can't afford to fly or take the train anywhere to get away because the prices are so high. I just stay locally around Freising as best I can during those three weeks; I usually end up regretting any attempt to try and travel anywhere.

 

It's the commuters I feel sorry for, having to cram onto packed trains full of drunks in order to get home, and having daily delays due to people on the tracks, activated emergency alarms, police being called etc. etc. Occasionally some disillusioned person will suggest lengthening the festival even further to cope with demand – I think that's insane. It's already far longer than any other Volksfest, which otherwise last between 5 and 9 days.

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Posted

At work (I'm freelance, so various companies) I practically never noticed a difference. In larger companies, on different days you'll notice lots of colleagues who normally dress quite normally dressed in Tracht and gather that their department is going to the Fest that day. But work will continue quite normally, with that particular team possibly leaving early to go. (one day; not during the entire Fest).

 

I lived at the top end of Schwanthalerstrasse for several years (i.e. just past the Fest grounds). It was far enough off the route that I didn't really notice them going home afterwards (if you live right on the streets between the Fest and public transport, it can get loud and yes, you may find puke or people lying around - but that's only a few streets. Coming home from work was the only time it really affected me - by bike, I would have to come up a section where large groups of people heading to and from the Fest would just wander across the street, ignoring the fact that it is a real street. And trying to get the U-Bahn home from work was often a nightmare as it was very full.

 

But that's about it. I am a Festmuffel and most years never went once and was able to get on with my life quite easily. I know enough people who think like me, so finding people to go out with and do other things was also never an issue.

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Posted

If you're really bothered by the sight of so many people enjoying themselves, you're free to skip town for a few weeks. You can compensate yourself somewhat by renting out your apartment for €200 or so (€300 if you live close to the Fest grounds). Per night, of course.

 

We will all shed a single tear for your sacrifice. ;)

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Posted

I live near the Wiesn and take the U3/U6, but I was pleasantly surprised to have not experienced a lot of drama around the fest. I've never had issues with packed trains, and only rarely run into really drunk people and/or puke. In three years I can count the number of remotely unpleasant incidents on one hand. I get a lot of tour buses using my street to get to and from the grounds, but it's really no bother for me, personally.

 

Then again, most tourists don't seem to be clued into the alternate route to the grounds and take the U4/U5 so I think if you rely on those lines in your daily travels you will have a much different experience!

 

Work is still work.

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Posted

 

Occasionally some disillusioned person will suggest lengthening the festival even further to cope with demand – I think that's insane. It's already far longer than any other Volksfest, which otherwise last between 5 and 9 days.

 

I think that you meant "delusional" there.

 

Regarding the duration: Other main Volksfeste such as the Cannstatter Wasen and the Herbstfest in Rosenheim last 16 days, the Frühlingsfest is 17 days long and the Hamburger Dom is a whole month, three times a year.

 

I worked in an office within three minutes walking distance of the Wiesn 24 years ago. Yes, you had to avoid sidewalk pizzas every morning; yes, you ended up with garbage or people in the greenery outside the office building; yes, sometimes commuting was uncomfortable. It was ten working days out of 200-odd per year.

 

Living in the area, of course, is a different story. Make sure that your outside doors remain locked, make sure that nobody enters the building with you, possibly your janitor will put up a temporary fence. The noise will start dying down by 11 PM and should be over by midnight. Watch your step in the morning.

 

 

(As a separate side question, are there indie, fringe or subversive alternative bierfests, kind of the opposite or making a tongue in cheek mockery of Bierfest, I imagine similar to stunk vs prunksitzung? What events go on at LGBT level? We have the alternative pink "Christmas Avenue" weihnachtsmarkt here for example.)

 

There's a Pink Christmas Market around Stephansplatz, with pink lights, singing drag queens and strange concoctions of mulled wine and spirits, it's quite cozy and small.

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Posted

When I lived in Munich, I was only really bothered by the overfull trains. I never take part and got through it just fine.

 

The first and - so far - last time I was at the Oktoberfest was in 2000 or 2001 with the company I was working for at the time.

 

That will all change this year, as I'm bringing my oldest son with me to the TT event. :)

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Posted

Once upon a time, I lived just far enough away to not be bothered by noise, but close enough to get all the fallout. And I had to travel the U4/5 to get to and from work.

Mornings weren't too bad, if you kept your eyes open and avoided the mess. In the evening, the trip home was not quite a nightmare, but not far off. Fortunately my journey started at the first stop on the line and took me to one stop after Theresienwiese - I was usually able to grab a corner seat and not move til my stop. Otherwise that trip would have been a nightmare. After half a dozen stops the train was jammed full, and woe betide anyone who wanted to make their escape at the Ost/Hauptbahnhof.

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Posted

Well, commuting during the Oktoberfest always is pretty painful for me, especially when I have to take the S-Bahn.

 

The trains are kind of OK in the morning, but afternoons/evenings things take a turn for the far worse, as many Oktoberfest guest stay outside of town where it's cheaper. Entire trains can be filled with rowdy drunks in bad imitation Bavarian garb, the floor sometimes ankle deep in puke and beer bottles, whole or broken.

But yes, the Oktoberfest creates all sorts of income on many levels... so it's best to try get in on that, or get out for the duration, or stay with friends further away from the action.

 

I do have a mean streak ;) , so the following can happen:

Every time a gaggle of tourists in said imitation Bavarian garb cluelessly gathers in front of a ticket machine on *any* S/U-Bahn/train platform I happen to be standing on, usually about to get on the train, one will turn around and spot me. His face will light up joyfully, and he will not approach, but *run* in my direction, reaching out, shouting "Hallo! Hallo!! Wie geht das hier... wie komme ich... wo gibt es... was ist das billigste.. Hallooo! Heeeee! Halt!!"

 

After the millionth time, I just turn around and say: "Sorry, I don't speak any German." (Or English).

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Posted

It has never affected me at all, in any way, not even when I lived on the U6. You will notice people dressed up, in a bus or at work but that is pretty much it.

 

I'm sure people living nearby will have a different story to tell.

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Posted

have to say im the same as camlough.

I work by the hauptbahnhof and you'd definitly know the fest is on, especially on a Thursday or Friday afternoon, but its not something that gets in the way of day to day life

 

Theres the company days at the fest, but most go home after their couple of Mass and are functional the next day.

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Posted

best to give up cycling (at least close to the Wies'n) for the duration

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Posted

I don't drink beer (I know, I suck) and am not into big crowds, so Oktoberfest isn't all that attractive to me. However, my home office faces the Wies'n with about one kilometer in between. The closest I'm getting to it all is being bathed by the amazingly bright lights until late into the night.

 

All in all, it's pretty much a non-event for me. But I *do* get to practice my Italian more than I normally would around town.

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