Alanah Eriksen 's Opinion

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Munich: Beer is still flowing after 200 years

Two centuries on, Oktoberfest, or Weisn as the Germans call it, is still about three things - beer, food and more beer. Photo / Thinkstock
Two centuries on, Oktoberfest, or Weisn as the Germans call it, is still about three things - beer, food and more beer. Photo / Thinkstock

The dirndls are a bit shorter, the steins are made of glass rather than stone and rollercoasters have been invented.

But 200 years on, Oktoberfest, or Weisn as the Germans call it, is still about three things - beer, food and more beer.

Just mind the puke on the ground.

The only obvious signs that this year was the bicentenary of the world's largest festival was when the German bands in some of the 14 tents sang Happy Birthday. And when you play the most recognised song in the English language to hordes of people ordering a litre of beer at a time (the only size available) singing in their native tongue, things get rowdy.

The 17-day festival will finish on Monday and no doubt the organisers will be hoping for some better weather this weekend.

The two other Kiwi girls I was downing my steins with last weekend had big plans for a three-day bender.

On the Thursday, after an early-morning flight from London, we shopped all day in Munich's Marienplatz shopping centre for the perfect lederhosen.

The next day the sun was shining and the liquid was flowing at some outside tables in the Hofbrau Festzelt tent - the counterpart to the famous Hofbrauhaus in central Munich.

The place is apparently the hangout for several Kiwis and Australians but we didn't meet one.

The Theresienwiese festival grounds resemble a carnival come Oktoberfest.

A smaller version of the event was first held in 1810 to commemorate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese and included a horse race.

The races stopped in the 1960s and in later years started inlcuding more rides including the Olympia Looping rollercoaster, the largest portable rollercoaster in the world and the only one with five loops, which resemble the Olympic rings. Several Oktoberfest veterans had advised us to book tables in advance but being three young girls we were able to slot in with some friendly Germans.

But it turns out the German climate is not unlike New Zealand's four-seasons-in-one-day and we should have been ruthless with the seating inside.

After a few hours of drinking €8.80 ($16.30) steins and gorging ourselves on huge amounts of traditional hearty fare like hendl (chicken), schweinsbraten (roast pork), wurstl (sausages) and pretzels the size of a computer screen, the rain came - and poured.

When the pleading didn't work to get back inside a couple of the packed tents, we joined the thousands of partygoers in heavy, wet leathers who were forced to leave.

Our accommodation, aptly named The Tent, only runs during summer and Oktoberfest and is a short train ride from the venue in an area called Botanischer Garten.

The place is made up of three large tents where you can either sleep on bunk beds or a squab on the floor.

To avoid a repeat of Friday night, we grudgingly decided to bypass the Oktoberfest and head into Munich to the Hofbrauhaus. The place was a madhouse but the beer was cheaper.

By that stage our hands were getting stronger from holding the steins (we ignored the bruises already there) and all that was left to say was "prost" (cheers).

In translation

From the Oktoberfest Wiesn-Dictionary

arschlings (adj.): backwards, more specific: "in your behinds direction"

Bierdimpfe (n.): notorious beer drinker, "tavern potato".

bieseln (v.): term for "to take a leak"; unfortunately too many want to save a couple of cents and use the option "wild bieseln".

Fetznrausch (n.): totally drunk.

Gaudinockerln (n.): luxuriant breasts.

Hoggableiba (n.): repeater, guest who doesn't want to go home.

Mognschoab (n.): belch.

Moosbummerl (n.): hillbilly, redneck.

Rauschada (n.): drunk, drunkard.

schbei'm (v.): to puke, to vomit, sometimes also to spit.

Wampn (n.): patronising expression for a oversized oft hanging belly.

Zsammgsuffana (n.): person with a bad reputation.

- NZ Herald

Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter. She first joined the Herald in 2007 and held various roles, including police reporter and Bay of Plenty reporter, before leaving for the UK in 2010. For two years, she freelanced for UK newspapers, including The Sun, and UK news websites, including the Mail Online and the News of the World. She returned to New Zealand to work for the Herald in 2012. Alanah started her career at the Rotorua Daily Post and studied journalism at the Waiariki Institute of Technology.

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