This is a follow up to Oktoberfest with Kids Part I.
Right before 11:30, we met up with Stefan and Christina’s friends from college as well as Stefan’s aunt and uncle, Barbara and Fritz. I could tell immediately that Fritz was the nicest man on the planet with a pair of the most genuinely kind eyes I had ever seen. He apologized in advance for not being the best conversationalist due to a hearing impairment he had recently developed. We would soon find out that conversation was not the most important activity inside of a beer tent at Oktoberfest. An ability to sing and toast and consume ale far outweighs any ability to converse.
We entered the tent and while the majority of our group sought out our table, Anna and I went in search of a parking spot for our double stroller. The Oktoberfest staff were very helpful and allowed the stroller to wait patiently for us in the side staff entrance/exit. This would not be allowed in the US.
Stefan had very generously prepaid for two liters of beer and a half of chicken for each of us. Within minutes of sitting down a waitress dressed in a dirndl brought us each our first liter of beer.
I had done the math on breastfeeding and drinking ahead of time and come to the following conclusion. Over the previous 36 hours, I had pumped eight ounces of milk with my handy dandy, Europe friendly (no plugs) hand pump. Eloise eats four ounces every three hours. I breastfed her soon after we arrived in the tent (Hooter Hider meet Oktoberfest) which drained my milk supply and bought me some time. I figured I had nine hours to consume a moderate amount of alcohol and become completely sober before I would have to feed her again. Alcohol leaves breast milk at the same rate as it leaves your bloodstream, so I determined I probably shouldn’t have both liters of beer, but I would likely be safe drinking 1.5 liters as long as I drank a lot of water and ate a lot of food as well. Luckily, the waitresses were very attentive and this was never a problem.
The Oktoberfest beer was amazing. Stefan told us the alcohol content of Oktoberfest beer is slightly higher than that of normal German beer to help people get drunk faster or to help the waitresses keep up with the demand, I am not exactly sure of the real reason. Whatever the reason, the beer was tasty and easy to drink.
After a few sips of ale, we ordered pretzels and our chicken arrived. We devoured the food and simultaneously set our stomachs up for being able to gracefully handle the beer we would soon consume.
Belén enjoyed the chicken and pretzel and then moved on to playing her Angelina Ballerina game on my iPhone. Meanwhile, Eloise hung out in the Baby Bjorn on my chest until she passed out for her first nap. A little while later, Belén fell asleep on Andy’s shoulder. As both of our children slept on us while we proceeded to enjoy the beer tent atmosphere, I felt a little guilty for bringing our children to Oktoberfest over their nap times, but I quickly got over it. It was already proving to be an amazing experience I was glad not to have missed out on and I figured, our kids could get a less than ideal nap every once and awhile and still be okay.
The band had started playing soon after we had arrived and after a couple of hours, people became more interested in singing and dancing to the traditional German music. You could tell people were finished with their first liter as the dancing moved to the tables. People became more friendly with their neighbors and after our girls had woken up from their mini-slumber, we ended up chatting with the family at the table next to us who, wouldn’t you know it, were from Colorado. Another reminder of the small world we live in especially since most of the Oktoberfest guests were German.
The afternoon proceeded in much the same fashion: beer drinking, toasting (literally every five minutes), singing and jovial conversation. Later in the day, Anna, Eloise and I walked up to the second floor of the tent and took a bunch of photos to help remember the day. Belén was back to her iPhone games. We also took many-o-trips to the bathroom especially when Belén started to think of going potty as a break from the table, which I imagine became quite boring for her after awhile.
While I started to taper off my beer consumption, Andy enjoyed another liter with Stefan. Anna and I took the girls to go and ride some more rides and get some fresh air. Belén was patient in the beer tent for at least FOUR hours so we figured she deserved a few more rides on Goofy as a reward.
Andy somehow found us in the crowd as Anna and I were getting the most delectable crepe with Nutella handcrafted for our tastebuds. We decided to go back into the beer tent to use the restrooms one final time before we left and I think Belén had a little bit of post traumatic stress going on as she almost refused to reenter the tent. Instead she stayed in the foyer with Auntie Anna and did an interpretive dance which Anna caught on video.
As we were leaving the beer tent for the second and final time, it was clear things were starting to get crazy. Stefan and Christina thought it was a pity we would not experience Oktoberfest after 6pm (apparently when it gets good), but we were happy to have been able to experience everything we had with our two kids in tow.
We left Oktoberfest and took the subway in search of a restaurant for dinner. We found a nice, friendly Italian establishment where we quickly ordered large quantities of food. Midway through dinner, it was getting a bit chilly outside so I snuck away from the table and nursed Eloise in the spacious restaurant bathroom after changing her diaper.
There you have it…beer, lederhosen and breast milk. Oktoberfest is totally doable with kids.