When I road-tripped from Paris to Munich for Oktoberfest in 2018, I looked back on the trip fondly yet a bit in awe, saying that it was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Looks like I was wrong about that!
This year, once again, I schemed with my friends to plan a road trip from Paris to Munich for Oktoberfest. Though we planned it months in advance and even managed to make it out of Paris *without* getting in a car wreck this time around, it was still a pretty chaotic weekend.
Paris to Munich
I met up with Amanda, Brooke, Renaud, and Martin at around 9 PM to begin our journey to Munich. The ride was full of giggles, road trip snacks, and plenty of culture-clashing conversations to keep us busy.
Not to be dramatic, but we literally drove all night. Despite the stress of driving on unfamiliar highways in an unfamiliar car packed with a mix of best friends and unfamiliar people, we did finally make it to Munich Saturday morning.
Prepping for Oktoberfest
It was about 6 AM and the sun was rising when we arrived in Munich, Germany, despite most of us never getting any sleep. We took a quick nap in the car at a gas station and then went to brunch.
We fueled up with plenty of coffee – let’s just say that I ordered my oat milk cappuccino with a double espresso on the side and immediately combined them once they appeared in front of me. We also got the French boys to try a croissant breakfast sandwich… They weren’t impressed.
Then, we checked into our hostel. I use this word lightly, as it was actually just a field full of overpriced tents. For 50 euros a night, we were underwhelmed, but anything seemed better than another night stuffed in a car.
Finally, it was time to head over to the festival!
We arrived at the Oktoberfest fairgrounds in Munich and were met by some fun guests – One of our former au pair friends, Samara, her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s friends, and a torrential rainstorm.
All of us gathered in line for a beer hall, sharing a couple of small umbrellas, pretending to be having a great time. Thankfully, we actually did start having a great time once Brooke and I found a way to buy beers while in line.
This fun came to a hard stop when we were told, after an hour of waiting in the rain, that nobody else would be let inside. Fabulous.
We ventured over to a different section of the festival and eventually did find a beer hall that would allow us to give them money in exchange for beer. Who would’ve thought!
Somehow, we also managed to get a table. The next several hours consisted of chugging giant steins full of beers (or small mugs of wine in Amanda’s case), singing along to the music, eating pretzels, and overall, creating some pretty crazy memories at one of the world’s biggest parties.
When the festival kicked us out at 10 PM, we grabbed schnitzel sandwiches and went to a bar in the Munich city center for some final German beers.
I’m not a huge camper – let’s just say that when my dad, sisters, and I used to camp in our backyard, I nearly always ended up burning myself while roasting marshmallows and going back inside to sleep in my own bed.
This being said, I pride myself on becoming a less-high-maintenance traveler over the last couple of years. Apparently, I also value my travel budget far more than my comfort. Oops.
It was cold outside, a large rainstorm showered the area for most of the night, and I could definitely hear drunk people vomiting in the vicinity. Somehow, though, I got lucky enough to have the whole large tent and multiple sleeping bags to myself, so it could have been worse..
I also found my way back to the correct tent after getting lost during a middle-of-the-night bathroom break, which is pretty impressive if I do say so myself.
After a full day of Oktoberfest craziness and a night of sub-par sleep, it was time to explore Munich a bit! When I went to Oktoberfest back in 2018, I saw absolutely none of the city other than the fairgrounds, so this time around, I was fully committed to seeing more of Munich.
Unfortunately, I also woke up exhausted and aching all over. I genuinely couldn’t tell if I was hungover or actually getting sick. Looking back, it was probably a bit of both.
We got lunch and then explored all over the Munich city center, including the English Garden, Marienplatz, New Town Hall, and Old Town Hall.
By the end of the afternoon, it was obvious that I was getting sick and likely had a fever. I chugged some water, convinced Brooke to take the metro back to the car with me, and soon enough, we were all on our way back to Paris.
Munich to Paris
Without the excitement of Oktoberfest looming over us, the drive back to Paris definitely seemed longer and less exciting. Brooke and Amanda did absolutely amazing, driving in some bad weather that included lots of rain and fog, eventually getting us safely back home around 3 AM.
Will I ever road trip to Oktoberfest again? Maybe. Will I ever settle for being rained on all day and then camping in a cold tent while road-tripping to Oktoberfest? Wow, I definitely hope not.
Despite all this and the terrible flu-like sickness that I faced for the next week because of this experience, it was still a super fun weekend with friends that makes for some great memories and stories.
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