Tis the season of Fests in Germany. Like every other learning experience here, my knowledge of fests has blossomed from a bud of ‘hearing in passing’ to full bloom of ‘experiencing first hand’.
I had heard of Oktoberfest in Germany. After arriving here, I learned the Oktoberfest is located in Munich.
Then I learned that many German cities have their own version of Oktoberfest. All of these (generally) are celebrations of the end of summer, beginning of harvest.
Then I learned that there are fests throughout the year, all around the country. My culture class instructor said, in a British accent and a roll of the eyes, “Fests are the Germans’ excuse to be naughty”.
Last week we discovered a fest by–first–hearing music from afar, and–second–awakening three sleeps in a row to more than slightly tipsy people laughing and yelling as they walked passed our open windows at 2, 3, 4:00 in the morning. (The downside of concrete apartment buildings is that the sound reverberates like the inside of a cave.)
By day 4 of Leimener Weinkerwe (“Leimen Wine Fest”), we decided we should go check it out.
I was again amazed at the German’s use of space. Our little village streets were lined with vendors of all kinds.
We bought 5 of these cream puffs. Me=love. My Al=not so much.
And then we discovered the Steak mit Zwiebeln…
It is a marinated pork steak with sauteed onions. I decided it’s the best out-to-eat traditional German meal I’ve had.
So when this past Saturday came and we learned that Heidelberger Herbstfest was going on, we decided to have dinner in Altstadt (Old Town). The flea markets, Medieval markets, and entertainers dressed in Medieval garb were all good and dandy, but we were there for the food.
My Al went for the steak and I chose a crepe with green olives, tomatoes, pickled peppers, mozzarella cheese, and basil. Of course, we took a bite or two of each others’ scrumptious meals.
Actually, the Medieval markets were really, really authentic looking and we wished we were rich enough to buy hands full of pretty wood carved or shiny gem stoned trinkets.
But oh, the crowds, the crowds… What can I say about the crowds?…
Have I told you what the word “Stau” means? It’s most American’s favorite word around here. Say it: “Schtow”. It’s fun to say, right? Well that’s about as fun as a Stau gets.
The word means “traffic jam”. And the Heidelberger Herbstfest was one giant Menschen (human) Stau. Think Disneyland on it’s busiest day (because we didn’t take the camera). But as My Al likes to say, “It’s all part of the experience.”
The food experience was worth the Stau, but I think we’re done festing for a while.