I just got back from camping out in Munich for Oktoberfest. What did you do this weekend?

When we arrived at the Stoke Travel campground at 9:00 AM on Friday, the party officially started. We were greeted by very friendly Australians with cups of cold beer and sangria before we could even put our bags down. After checking in we were able to find our tents and and get breakfast, a five-star meal of a fried egg on a piece of toast and beans. After a few hours of hanging out, we took a bus and a train into the heart of Munich for a bike tour of the city.
The bike tour was a great way to quickly see the city of Munich. It lasted about 3 hours and we got to see just how beautiful Munich is. We stopped at the "Englisher Garten" (English Garden for those who aren't fluent in German, myself included) for an authentic German lunch of french fries, sausages, giant pretzels, and last but not least, beer.
The famous Haufbrauhaus on the left

After a restless nights sleep in the tents, Saturday was the big day we got to spend at Oktoberfest. We woke up at 6:30 AM to make it to the tents early to get a table, turns out we still weren't early enough. We waited outside the Hofbräu Festhalle for over an hour in the rain before we were let inside where several large German security men ripped my umbrella out of my hands and threw it away (RIP umbrella). Fortunately, some of our friends made it inside before we did and got us a table. The Hofbräu Festhalle had seating for 7,000 people, but there had to be at least 10,000 inside and even more outside.
Inside the Haufbrau tent
Being at Oktoberfest for the opening day was really cool. The mayor of Munich goes to a tent at noon and taps the first keg, signifying the opening of Oktoberfest. As soon as he taps the first keg, all the other tents are allowed to tap their kegs and the whole building erupted. Somehow, our table was one of the first ones served. We must have gotten the beer wench to really like us somehow, hard to believe for a bunch of college students from the US. We joined in with the rest of the tent singing German drinking songs and chants (the "Let's Go Marist" chant didn't quite work out, but at least we tried).

Our tables were reserved at 3:00 PM, so security came over and screamed and blew whistles at us and kicked us out of the tent, but we like to say that we were being too loud and got kicked out on our own account. We walked around the festival grounds for a few hours, bought my souvenir stein, and then went back to the campsite for the after party. Safe to say we all slept pretty soundly that night.

WARNING: Turn your volume down for the video below!!!

After sleeping in for a few extra hours Sunday morning, we took off to Dachau concentration camp, the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany that opened in 1933. As much fun as Oktoberfest was, this experience brought all of us back to Earth. We walked around and followed a tour path with signs and descriptions of what we were seeing. Over 200,000 prisoners were incarcerated here and more than 43,000 died. Truly a humbling experience walking though the gas chambers and past the crematoriums. Being able to see the camp first hand is something that I will never forget.
We departed Munich Sunday afternoon and arrived in Florence shortly after midnight. What a weekend. I have a few days of classes and then we're off to London for the weekend. I'll be sure to give the Queen everyone's best wishes.

Prost! (German for "Cheers!")

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