Its midnight in Germany when I step off the plane. I rub my eyes furiously, immediately so thankful I am not dealing with contacts right now. I decided to get LASIK a month earlier and its times like these where it comes most handy. I follow most of my flight like a herd of cattle down to the ticket booth. The trip is supposed to take 45 minutes on one train then 15 minutes on another. As I creep forward in line I get more and more anxious. This is when I hear someone offer an extra train ticket. If you know anything about Germans you know that they are efficient in all ways of life. In Germany they sell group tickets for the Ubahn and for 27 euro you can buy a 3 day group pass for 3 people. They have this 3 day pass available for 1, 3 or 5 people. Genius. My new friends bought a group pass for 5 people but only had 3 with them at the moment. They offered anyone traveling to MarienPlatz to join on their ticket. Low and behold that was my first stop. I boarded the train with them ecstatic to no longer be traveling alone.
My new traveling companions made the 45 minutes fly. They were from Australia and Denmark, our 5th addition was a girl from Germany. We spent the time talking about traveling, languages and experiences. Everyone spoke at least two languages. When we got to MarienPlatz I had a new sense of confidence and excitement. Knowing the worst was behind me I boarded the U3 heading towards the zoo and my hostel. By 1am I had arrived and fell into my friends arms. One of the longest days of my life was over but the trip was just about to start.
Next morning we had simple goals; buy dirndls and exchange my money from dollars to euros. My friend knew of a store we should check out. We headed towards the Ubahn to purchase our 3 day 3 person group pass. What you get as confirmation is a tiny receipt. At the entrance to the station is a small booth where you get your ticket stamped. This stamp signifies that your ticket confirmed from a departure location. There are no turnstiles, no restrictions just a big entrance. Germans love the honor system.
If you are still scratching your head about the word dirndl let me back track. A dirndl is a traditional German dress to be worn during Oktoberfest. It is basically a nonslutty version of the beer maid outfits you regularly see on Halloween. When we get off at Marienplatz we run into one basically on every corner advertising authentic affordable dirndls. We bypass them all and head towards the Macy’s of Germany; Kaufmans. There is a whole section for dirndls and they run upwards of 400 euro. These Germans seriously love this fashion statement. We enjoy looking at the different types but move back outside to our cheaper bodega looking areas.
We find one hole in the wall playing techno German hits and squeeze inside. The sales women inside are helpful in finding sizes for us and colors we like. They suite us up with the apron and the classic white top. As they tie us nice my sales woman says “do you have a boyfriend?” I tell her I do not. “Lets show some cleavage and make this tighter than! You will find a boyfriend tonight!” I laugh and try to breathe as my corset becomes tighter. For 50 euros I am now an authentic German tourist ready to visit Oktoberfest.
Our sales woman convinces us to stay in our dirndls instead of changing back to our jeans. “Its Oktoberfest!” she cries. We head back to the hostel to drop off our clothes and return to Marienplatz for the main event.