After I walked Laetitia to the ferry, I stopped at the bakery and picked up some coffee to enjoy on a bench near the port.
[Laetitia is a photographer in Paris with both digital and analog work. You can see her photography here. All photos of me in Croatia are credited to her.]
When it was time for me to check out, I went back to the hostel and ended up having a conversation with a girl named Ruby from Novato, CA. We sat on the rooftop for a few minutes and talked about how many Americans don't travel, which can make us dangerously provincial.
After checkout I reported back to my bench and sat there watching the yachts moored to the dock. I watched the people living inside their floating hotels. Men tied knots. Families were having breakfast. People were having wine at 10:30 AM. I don't know a single thing about boats, but I know that this culture seems appealing to me now. Maybe I should do a yacht Summer in the Mediterranean. I'll make it happen. When it comes to travel, I'll make anything happen.
I boarded the boat Karolina that brought me to the dock of Split. While waiting for a bus to the airport, I picked up some lunch at a nearby bakery. Instead of getting a boring slice of pizza, I opted for this mystery wrap with a description written in Croatian. I sat down on a bench and bit into it. It was tuna. About halfway though it switched to a white sauce with crab meat on the bottom. It wasn't bad, but it was just too intense so I switched to a snack I had stashed in my bag from Whole Foods.
By the time my flight landed it was 6:30 PM.
By the time I got to my hotel it was 8:00 PM.
By the time I got to Oktoberfest it was 8:30 PM.
I like the idea of Oktoberfest, but actually going to it never appealed to me. Kind of like the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Seems great on paper but in practice, maybe not. Since I have this overnight layover in Munich though, I might as well check it out.
I thought Oktoberfest was like Coachella where you buy a pricey ticket and it's way out of the city limits like a booze oasis. Turns out it's right in town and instead of a music festival, it's more of a drunk carnival.
I exited the metro and instead of following the map, I just followed everyone else.
After walking under the giant Oktoberfest sign you're in the carnival with rides, food stands, and games everywhere. Despite all of the different languages I heard, everything was in German so it was tough to decipher what was being sold. I wanted to buy a beer and walk around, but all of the drinking seemed to be inside the tents.
Several of the beer halls/brands set up giant semi-permanent wood structures that house the beer halls that you've undoubtedly seen in photos and associate with Oktoberfest. I wanted to to go into one, but at this time of night (park closes at 10:30) all of the halls had crowds at the door, like a nightclub with no queue. I assume you're granted entry if you're hot or have a ton of followers on Instagram. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This might be the same thing). You can look in the windows and see people drinking, dancing on tables, and singing songs ranging from German folk music to David Bowie.
I did find out something fascinating about the drindls that women wear at Oktoberfest. There's a belt ribbon worn around the dress, and if the knot is to the right she's taken, and if the knot is on the left she's "open to flirting". How have we not implemented this system in America? Seems beneficial for both genders.
The rain picked up and the crowds outside started to huddle underneath pretzel stands and whatever carnival ride roof they could find.
I walk out of the fairgrounds and found a small beer hall and enjoyed a dinner of Bavarian roasted pork, potato dumplings, fries (with mayo) and a stein of beer. When the Oktoberfest crowd started to pile in, it got too much so I paid my Euros and made my way to the hotel.
Europe has massive, beautiful train stations and Munich's Central Station didn't disappoint. What added to it's beauty today though, was the amount of people in drindls and lederhosen milling around drunk eating and singing songs while many still holding a beer. May they all get home safe.
This was to be my last night in Europe. Tomorrow I would be flying home.