Departing Lauterbrunnen was bittersweet. While we were excited about going to Munich for Oktoberfest, we were certainly not anxious to leave beautiful Lauterbrunnen behind. We took our time saying goodbye, as best as we could considering we still had to board the train by about 11am.
We enjoyed a leisurely Swiss breakfast of muesli and yogurt, juice, tea, fruit, bread and meats and cheeses, while looking out the large window at the green countryside and enormous, gushing waterfall. We overheard other travelers chatting about the hikes they had planned for the day or the places they wanted to see while they were there, and could barely hide our envy that their time here in Lauterbrunnen had just begun, as ours was drawing to a close.
We sat together on the balcony one last time, taking everything in. Then we put our heavy backpacks on our shoulders, walked down the one main road to the train station, and headed to Munich.
Our train ride was definitely the most crowded one we’d had so far. Since our tickets were for second class seats, there were assigned seats. We scored seats together at the start, but eventually got bumped by people who reserved the same seats. We ended up having to sit separately for a few hours of the trip, but at least we were both in chairs.
During this train ride, we overhear a loud, obnoxious girl from Texas who was driving everywhere around her crazy bragging about how great Texas is because “both Bushes are from Texas.” To which the guy sitting next to her replied, “That’s not something to be proud of.” She talked for the majority of the trip about how great Texas was and reminded me of why many Europeans have a bad impression of Americans.
Eventually we arrived in Munich and were surprised to see so many people, particularly locals, dressed in traditional German clothes (dirndls for girls and lederhosen for boys). We were anxious to get in the festive spirit of Oktoberfest, so we took a peek at the outfits that were being sold at shops and carts in the train station. They seemed really pricey at first, but we eventually found a cute dress for me and a shirt for Chad at a place that was willing to do a little haggling. Everywhere else the dress alone was going for about 120 euros, but we got both my dress (which was pretty well-made!) and Chad’s shirt for 60 euros total! Not a bad deal.
With yet another thing weighing down our backpacks, we boarded the tram that would take us to our accommodations in Munich… a campsite called The Tent. Yep, we were going to be camping out for the next three days.
Finding a place to stay in Munich at the beginning of Oktoberfest had been incredibly difficult. Most places were booked up and those that weren’t were charging 300 times their usual rates. We stumbled upon this camp site online and it looked to be the cheapest option and the most fun. When we arrived, we quickly set up our tent as the sun was setting and we were running out of those precious daylight hours we needed to see what we were doing. Then we checked our bags in a locker and went to the camp bonfire and got a beer each at the cafeteria area.
We had a great time at the bonfire! We made friends and chatted with people from all over the world, including Australia, South Africa, Amsterdam, and beyond. We were particularly impressed with one couple from Australia that had been traveling around for over two months. They had done the running of the bulls, streaked alongside bike riders in the Tour de France, were joining us for Oktoberfest and then heading to San Francisco to end their trip.
We had a great time and were really glad we had chosen to camp rather than stay in a hotel. This was definitely the most social part of our trip so far. Eventually everyone headed back to their tents to get some sleep because we all had plans of getting to Oktoberfest super early to wait in line and get a spot in a tent. We had only had room to pack one blanket and it was fairly cold, so we spent most of the night huddled together under that one blanket, shivering but happy.