“Let’s grab some food.” My brother in law, R, said as we walked out of Augustiner Brau tent. After a long day snacking on pretzels, drinking maß (mass) of beer, enjoying the festivity known as Oktoberfest in Munich, I sure am hungry and longing for proper hot food.
We walked towards the chiliwurst stand opposite and ordered 3 chiliwurst to go. R paid with a 50 Euro and we stood at the counter patiently awaiting our food. The lady behind the counter was on the phone and told us that the Chef would like to speak to us.
Why would the Chef wants to speak to us? I wondered but did not give it much thought and merely attributed it to the fact that Germans are a friendly lot and perhaps the chef do say hi to customers patronising the chiliwurst stand.
After more than 15 minutes, we were still waiting for our food. My brother in law muttered to my husband “Wonder what is taking so long, it is not as if we paid with a counterfeit note!” No sooner did R finish his sentence, I saw a hand tapping his shoulder.
We turned and standing in front of us, were 8 big, burly German policemen, in their police suit and all, fully equipped with batons, walkie talkie, and guns.
“We need you to come to the police station with us,” one of them said to R. “They can come together but they will have to wait outside,” one of the policemen continued while pointing to my husband and I. I had fear written all over my face but at that moment, I knew I had to stay calm. After all, I drank the least and if there is one person amidst us that could think properly, it may be me.
R started politely discussing with the policemen in German and was showing his residential identification card (my brother in law and his wife are expats, working in Munich). After a few polite exchange of words, R turned to my husband and I and said,
“We need to follow them to the police station. Apparently, we did paid with a counterfeit 50 Euro note.”
Did he just mentioned counterfeit notes? How did that happen? It can’t be!
“Let’s go, now.” the same policeman said.
What happened next were absolutely surreal. It felt almost like a scene out of a crime movie. Two policemen were leading the way. R was following behind them, and he was flanked by two policemen by his side, and two behind him. We were next in line and followed by two more policemen behind us. We have had to walk from one end of the Oktoberfest ground to the other end, and needless to say, all eyes were on us. They were probably thinking along the lines of us being some hotshot criminals and I wouldn’t blame them – our entire police entourage do look like that!
After a while, we arrived at the police station within the grounds of the Oktoberfest.
“You two, wait here,” one of the policemen said, and they entered the police station through a wooden gate at the side, with R in tow.
“What should we do now?” My husband asked me. “Let’s just wait for a bit,” I responded. So we waited… and waited.. and waited. After close to 30 minutes, my husband panicked and picked up his phone. He dialled R’s number, but there was no answer. He started pacing back and forth. I was freaked out by the sight of people in handcuffs, bloodied and entering the police station through the same wooden gate that R did.
“I’m going in, I need to see my brother!” my husband said and walked towards the main entrance of the police station. After listening to my husband’s story, the policemen were sympathetic and they were nice, but entry was still forbidden. “You have to wait,” the fierce looking policemen at the front door said gently. “Don’t worry, he is okay,” he reassured us.
Then, my husband’s phone rang. It was R! Oh, how we rejoiced! My husband answered the call and spoke to R for a few seconds. He hung up, turned to me and said, “R will be out shortly, he is giving a statement.”
The waiting resumes. After another 30 minutes, R walked out of the same wooden gate and relief flooded my face. My husband ran and gave his brother a big tight hug. The scene was exactly like how it is in a movie, except this was reality for us!
“Let’s get out of here!” R said, and my husband and I nodded in agreement. Along the way home, R told us about what took place within the police station.
Apparently, we did pay using a counterfeit note, and this happens all the time, especially during Oktoberfest. They have had to follow procedures and take R’s statement and did assure him that he was a victim, and not a suspect in anyway. It was just pure bad luck that we paid for the beers with 200Euro and change was given back to us, with one of it being the counterfeit note.
In hindsight, we should have been more careful with getting change back after paying for our drinks and if there is one single advice I would hand out after this experience, it is to pay with small change so you avoid being given change back in return.
Would I Return For Another Oktoberfest Experience?
….and now, to answer that lingering question in your mind, would I go for another Oktoberfest experience after this – ABSOLUTELY. In fact, we did return the following day, after the whole police station drama, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the wine tent, listening to awesome German music, watching people singing along and dancing on the tables. So much of merriment and the ambience is amazing! That was a perfect Oktoberfest experience.
How about you? Have you been to Oktoberfest in Germany? Did you like it? Share your experience in the comments below!