Munich needs to be made months in advance. However, with a little luck, my Bavarian friends invite me to a sit down dinner at the Armbrustschützen festival tent, where the Paulaner brewery celebrates the Wiesn.
Not that we sit down for long. The reservation is for around 4pm and after the first round of beer, a host of Bavarian snacks makes it to our table, including cold roasted pork, sausages, cheese, radish, horseradish and gherkins. Of course, there is also the giant bredzels to go with those giant beers. Who knows where these Germans put it all! The food keeps on coming: roast chicken, cheese Spätzle (a dumpling style German pasta), Knödel (a large round potato dumpling served with brown sauce) and Kaiserschmarrn (a sweet shredded pancake topped with raisins and a sifting of icing sugar).
In true German style, we all politely finish our meal before jumping onto our table and dancing to the foot stomping beat of the brass Oompah band. The girls all have cute little beer mug accessories (as in the photo above) so that they can easily pick out theirs from the line-up. These mugs are heavy, so you have to put them down every now and again, especially while dancing - and it helps to find yours again when it's colour coordinated with your outfit.
Listening to German music usually makes for a good way to practice my language skills, but these songs are pretty elementary - 'now we jump, now we swim, now we all hold hands', etc.
"Yes, it is almost like music for children - because when us Germans drink lots of beer we think like children," my Bavarian friends comment, while following the communal moves to what seems to be an Oktoberfest favourite.
It's really funny how cheesy a lot of German music is. Dramatic love songs are highly esteemed. I also find out that the popular song 99 Red Balloons was originally recorded in German, as 99 Luftballons by the band Nena. The Oompah band plays a whole lot of songs with mock lyrics set to popular tunes. I even pick up a few South African favourites such as Laurika Rauch and Miriam Makeba - although the German versions are naughtier than the originals.
By the time the tent closes at 10pm, I've had more than my fill of food and beer and fun - but of course, no true Bavarian party is complete before a shot of schnapps. It's a killer, but at least I can say I survived Oktoberfest with the locals.