Hello...My husband and I just went to the Oktoberfest in Germany to celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary. We went with his family, who live in Germany. We were there on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. During the evening, since I am not a big drinker, I started taking pictures of the other tables. I was dismayed to discover I was completely lost and turned around and could not find my husband or my husband's family anywhere. I knew he had his cell phone, so if I could just call him, he could come and get me. For 2 1/2 hours I walked around and asked people if I could pay them to use their phone for 10 seconds. Nobody would help me. My mother always taught me to go to the police if you need help. After a great deal of searching, I found the police van just outside the main entrance. There were four police officers there and they spoke English. I was crying by this time and asked them if they could call my husband for me. They would NOT help me. In fact, they pointed to a pay phone a short distance away. If I knew how to use a European pay phone, I would have used it by then. They would not help me and then they said to try "Lost and Found" and all four of them started laughing.
It is clear that the German police do not have any concern for foreigners, especially a small American woman who was clearly scared and crying. SHAME ON THEM! Chicago Police would have bent over backwards to help. Not in Munich. Finally, a lady at one of the carnival booths who had been watching me cry, came over and offered to call my husband for me. I got him right away and he came to get me. I offered this woman 10 Euro for using her phone and she refused it. What a wonderful woman she was. I wish I had her name, but she watched me the entire time until she saw I had met up with my family. No thanks to the police. I am just stunned that they would not help me. Diane Wenger, Glen Ellyn, IL
If you've ever seen those nature films where the mountain goats smash heads repeatedly, you will see a similar activity among the youth of Munich at Oktoberfest. I'm not sure if there is an official drinking age on the books, but in Germany it's accetable for 16-year-olds to be drinking beer. And in Bavaria, it's expected. Let's say for example you're 17, drunk and insecure about your relationship with your girlfriend when some dude you don't know starts talking to her. Wham! You smash a beer stein over his head. Then his friend cranks you in the mouth and the next thing you know a security guard has you in a headlock and you and all your friends are being shown the exit. The best thing to do in situations like this if you're a bystander is to step back and let security take care of it. You risk getting involved and being tossed out yourself or even worse hurt or arrested. More often than not they just get kicked out of the tent, so no need to be a vigilantee.
To make a reservation for a table is certainly advisable, when you come in a group of 4-8 people or even more, and when you intend to go there in the evening after 05.00p.m.
Make sure you are there in time, otherwise your table will be given away quickly.
During the day you will find free seats rather easily and you could make a tour through all the tents first and choose the one, you like most.
With a fixed reservation you have to take the table you have reserved.
What you see on my picture, is just half of a "Oktoberfest-tent" !
Be prepared that the large tents on Oktoberfest are not really a lot of fun for every taste.
Narrow tables with a maximum of people sitting around them and the thousands of people in the same tent sitting really close to each other...
These tables have seats for 8-10 persons and only a narrow path between the rows of tables.
a lot of people offering all kind of souvenirs, beer-savers, hats, photos etc.
All over Theresienwiese you will see signs like the one on my picture...
It will show you the way to the next Toilette / Restroom !!
There you have to pay a small amount, to "powder your nose" or "talk to a man about a horse"
When the Police will catch "going to the John" in one of the many bushes around Theresienwiese, it will be really expensive !!
There will be guards at the exits of all tents at Oktoberfest, but lots of (mostly drunken) people still try to steal the mugs in order to have a nice souvenir...
...some are successful, many others are caught !
When they catch you, it will be quite expensive !!!
Better buy your own souvenir-mug at one of the many souvenir-stands on Theresienwiese !
Each year these mugs have a new design and make a great gift for collectors.
On my picture : The official "Oktoberfestkrug 2003"
Watch your belongings on the U-bahn (train) particularly around the Oktoberfest station. I had a camera, lenses, bag and jacket taken after I boarded and left the items while I returned to the door to pick up another package. Two young men ran on, grabbed the items then made it out before the door closed. Munich police said this was quite common when I made the report.
Word of advice....don't try to get up on stage and sing with the band.....believe it or not, they actually don't like it. Of course, a couple thousand people thought I did a wonderful polka rendition!
During Oktoberfest be wary of drunken people - not everyone gets cheery after a few beers - i witnessed quite a few fights. was hassled by lots of drunken men.Especially in some of the tents-i actually went in one where the guys were waiting outside the toilets and grabbed you as you went past - flung you against a wall and had a quick grope - try to be sober enough yourself so you can get rid of drunken louts - no is not easily understood when they have consumed there own body weight in beer.
Also be really careful yourself if you are drunk - i saw a drunken man fall the entire length of the escalaters in teh Hauptbahnhof - his nose will never be the same again.
OKTOBERFEST is heaven for pickpockets. Leave your cards at home and have your cash in your pocket (seperated).
I didn't and subsequently lost the lot in the first 10 mintutes of arriving in a beer hall.
Its easy for them as they work in groups, on bumps you and apologises the other grabs it as you fall into them. Then they pass it on to another onso even if you grab the ones near by, the wallet is well gone and you can't do much with 1000's of people and not a policeman in sight.
Hmmmm. Just be careful. (ha I sound like my Mum now!!!)
Its not just beer they've got at the Oktoberfest, I was offered cocaine as well (as well as a threesome, but you'd have to check my main Munich pagefor more details about that!)