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September: a different side to Oktoberfest

World-class cultural highlights, top international cuisine, exclusive shopping worlds and spectacular surroundings: Munich has a lot to offer in every season of the year. Here you will find a few additional and individual ideas for each month of the year.

A different side to Oktoberfest: The costume parade

Most people think that Oktoberfest starts with the cries of “O’Zapft” when the first keg is tapped on the Saturday. However, for many locals in Munich, Oktoberfest does not really start until the next day when the crowds of Trachtler (people dressed in traditional costume) take to the streets. The traditional Trachtenumzug (costume parade) – which is the largest of its type in the world – always takes place on the first Sunday of Oktoberfest. Around 9,000 people take part, including various rifle clubs, traditional dress associations, marching bands and bands from across Europe. A figure known as Münchner Kindl (Munich Child) rides at the front of the procession. Munich’s mayor and Bavaria’s Minister President roll past in festive carriages while the breweries are represented by long magnificent floats. The entire procession is around seven kilometres long and winds it way through the city centre all the way to Theresienwiese. Anyone hoping for a front-row view of proceedings needs to get there early as things can get pretty crowded, particularly in good weather. Alternatively, you can stay at home and watch it on the TV. The channel Bayerische Rundfunk broadcasts live from the event. The first Trachtenumzug took place in 1835 in honour of the silver wedding anniversary of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria. Their wedding on 12 October 1810 is known as the original Oktoberfest. The Trachtenumzug has been held every year since 1949.

 

Peaceful waters: A trip to the Fünf-Seen lake district

The lakes are nice and peaceful in the autumn. Swimming season is almost over and the crowds of day trippers from Munich grow smaller by the day. It’s therefore the ideal time to explore the Fünf-Seen-Land (Five Lakes District). Of course, many people’s first port of call are the canoes, pedalos and sailing boats (though you will need a sailing licence for the latter). Boats are available to rent from most major towns and villages. A traditional choice in Herrsching is Peter Neuner’s boat rental service – and the tavern of the same time next door. Matos Fischladen serves the best fish rolls at Ammersee. If you prefer a more relaxing approach, why not take a round trip with Bayerische Seenschifffahrt, which offers steam boat tours between all harbours. Alternatively, you could take a walk along Ammersee mountain pathway. This 12.2-kilometre round route starts at Schondorf train station. To begin with, it leads out through the countryside to Achselschwang before going back past Utting on the banks of the lake to Schondorf. You should plan around two and a half hours for the route.

Fun with fungi: Time for Schwammerl!

If you hear a Bavarian say that they are heading to the Schwammerl, they mean that they’re off for an afternoon of fresh air in the woods – and to hunt for a few mushrooms (Schwammerl is the regional word for mushrooms). The pastime known as Schwammerlgehen (to go “mushrooming”) is kind of like a sport, particularly popular among older members of society. That’s because it can be tricky for newcomers to get started. Mushroom-hunters are very tight-lipped, with rich hunting grounds remaining a secret among those in the know. Nevertheless, a few key points have managed to get out. For instance, the best mushrooms in Munich grow in the south, in the Ebersberger, Perlacher and Hofoldinger forests or in the woods around Ammersee and Starnberger See lakes, Holzkirchen or Sauerlach. Porcini, button mushrooms and chanterelle are especially popular. But beware: Poisonous and edible mushrooms often look very similar. If you’re not sure what you’ve found, drop into the Rathaus (Town Hall) on Mondays (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 6 p.m.) when the Mushroom Association is open for advice. And don’t fret if you don’t find anything – instead of going foraging in the wild, head to the stand called Pilz- und Waldstand Zollner at Viktualienmarkt for a wide range of mushrooms.

More about this: 16 days of celebrations, 6 million visitors, and 14 tents, where the beer – and the sweat – flows freely. Getting in at Oktoberfest is tough; but once you’re in, the fun never stops. Instead of just tumbling into any old tent, you must address the key question: Is this the right beer tent for me? An overview.

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photo: Christian Kasper