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Movie director's 10 tips for a perfect Oktoberfest

By Bjoern Richie Lob
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Don't wear Lederhosen made of plastic or cloth. You will look like a tourist
  • Make friends with the ladies delivering the beer, and never be cheap with your tip
  • Sleeping is the best way to keep your body fit -- just not on the street or the sidewalk
  • If you get sick, don't do it close to the river -- people surf there
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Bjoern Richie Lob, 35, is a German film director whose documentary "Keep Surfing" is a tribute to a fanatical group of surfers on Eisbach River in Munich. It won the Audience Award at the Filmfest Munich and was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Oktoberfest runs until October 4.

Munich Germany (CNN) -- -- I am originally from Cologne but I moved to Munich more than 12 years ago. I chose to live in this city because of the Eisbach river wave where you can surf on a rapid. For most people around the world Munich is only known as "Oktoberfest City", the town of beer drinkers and pretzel lovers.

Most people don't know that Munich is also considered to be a surfing Mecca because of the famous standing wave right in the centre of the city at the Eisbach river.

For me it was vice versa. Through surfing this rapid I discovered the Oktoberfest. And since then I've been hooked. Even weeks and days before the beer fest starts, the whole city gets crazy.

You must imagine, a city with about 1.5 million inhabitants gets visited by about six million people. Tourists of all different nationalities are arriving, flight prices to Munich double and the main train station is crowded at all times.

But also locals from Munich begin to get all excited, start to count the days and get prepared. The stores where you can buy the original Bavarian costumes, the "Lederhosen" for the guys and the "Dirndl" for the ladies, are so packed that you can hardly enter.

This year me and my friends from the Eisbach did a special Oktoberfest warm-up as well. Some days before the beginning of the Oktoberfest we went surfing on the river in "Lederhosen" and "Dirndl" instead of wetsuits. It was one of the most fun surf sessions I ever experienced.

But let's come back to the "Wiesn" -- that is how locals call the "Oktoberfest" -- and have a look at what a typical tour should include.

A good Oktoberfest visit usually starts with a fresh "Mass" of beer. If the weather is nice, you should have it in the sunshine in one of the beer gardens outside of the tents.

The most typical food that goes perfectly with it is either one of the giant pretzels or a half a grilled chicken. They say that the "Hendl" (Bavarian for grilled chicken halves) are especially good at the Oktoberfest. That is maybe why about 500,000 of them get eaten up during the two weeks.

After you have enjoyed your first beer and some good food, you should check out some rides. There are the traditional ones. like Tobogan, a slide that has been at the Oktoberfest for 75 years. To go up, you hop on a conveyer and usually there is a big crowd of people having a blast, just watching who can make it up there without falling.

If you are a tourist you should also take a ride on the Riesenrad (Ferris Wheel). It might look a bit lame but it is 55 meters high and you will get a beautiful view over Munich.

If you feel like competing with your friends, visit the so called Teufelrad (devil's wheel), a turning wheel where people can jump on. The challenge sounds simple. Just stay on the wheel. It gets tricky when the wheel is spinning faster and faster and punching balls swing by.

After you had fun on the rides and bought your girlfriend a heart made of lebkuchen (ginger cake), it is time to go to where the real party is and help the locals drink more than 60,000 hectoliters of beer.

Visit one of the 14 big beer tents run by six Bavarian breweries. All you want to do now is to climb up on one of the benches and dance and sing with the crowd. Usually, the tents are packed with people. So don't be shy, just ask some people if you and your friends can join to their table. People are usually in a very good mood and very open. You wonder how many people meet the love of their life at the Oktoberfest.

To have the best time at the world's biggest public festival, there are some useful tips.

1. Don't wear Lederhosen made of plastic or cloth. You will look like a tourist. If you want to buy traditional Bavarian Lederhosen, make sure that they are nearly too tight. On the third day of wearing them they will just be fine. And once you've invested in the outfit, you can still use it for Halloween.

2. Make friends with the ladies delivering the beer. Never be cheap with your tip, otherwise you might wait for your next beer for hours. And do get out of the way of the waitresses. They are very busy and will run you over. Before drinking, it's crucial that you say "Prost" and clink your mug while making eye contact with everyone at the table.

3. Oktoberfest on a weekday is way more relaxed and much more fun. So if you don't have to, don't visit the Oktoberfest on a Saturday. The whole place is packed with people and often the tents have to close because of the crowds. The beer at the Oktoberfest is much stronger than usual. So be careful that you eat loads before you start enjoying your beer, otherwise Oktoberfest might become an event you don't even remember.

4. Make sure you bring plenty of cash because you can't pay for your beer with a credit card. There are ATM cash machines at the Oktoberfest but the lines can be long. A good tip to keep your belongings safe: put your money and valuables inside a money belt and frustrate pickpockets who sneak around.

5. Don't try to get up on stage and sing with the band. It might sound strange to you but they actually don't like it.

6. Last call at all the big beer tents is at 10.30pm, one hour before closing time. If you leave the Wiesn at 10pm you can avoid the people-traffic-jam on the way to the bus and train stations. Also, Munich is very walkable. You can exercise by burning off some of the beer calories

7. Open up to people. After several (or even one) litres of beer you and everyone else in the tent start losing inhibitions, so it's really easy to make new friends at Oktoberfest. So once you've found a seat at one of the tent's tables and ordered a beer, don't be shy -- introduce yourself to those around you. Even when you go just by yourself, you're going to have a blast. But smoking is banned in the tents.

8. Sleeping is the best way to keep your body fit -- not on the street or the sidewalk, though. Go ahead and sleep your heart out at the place you're staying. If you remind your body every now and then how it feels like to have more blood than alcohol running in your veins, your time at Oktoberfest will be a lot more fun.

9. Don't miss the Wiesn parties. Around the Theresienwiese and in the city plenty of clubs start the "After-Wiesn" right after closing the tents to make sure you can dance, party and have fun all night long. Watch out for flyers and talk to locals

10. If you get sick, don't do it close to the river because people might want to go surfing there.

Be sure you also take some time outside of the Oktoberfest. There is plenty to do in Munich. Apart from the Eisbach river my favorite places are the campsite next to the Flosslände and the Isar beaches. Breakfast at the Gärtnerplatz, a beautiful little square, is always a great way to start the day. To relax I go running or biking in the English Garden, Munich's biggest park, or just hang out in on its huge meadow. I also like having "Steckerlfish" (grilled fish) with a fresh beer at the beergarden "Chinesischer Turm" or visiting the museums "Haus der Kunst" and "Pinakothek der Moderne" (perfect on a rainy afternoon).

Another amazing spot is the castle "Schloss Nymphenburg" which will make you feel like you're in a fairytale. Just come by, take a long walk in the park of the beautiful castle and at the castle canal and see for yourself.