Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Our First Cultural Event

Summer days
Two weeks ago when I heard about the Sommernachtfest that was due to take place on 20th August, I couldn’t understand why it was taking place at the end of the summer.  At that stage the weather had become really cold and I thought all hope of summer was lost.  But now I can clearly see why summer is still being celebrated; the past few days have seen temperatures well over the 30’s (degrees Celsius). 
Today's temps
I've enjoyed a few lovely days at the pool, and am starting to get a little colour on my lily white skin at last. The heat was so sticky last night we couldn’t sleep comfortably, and when I looked at the temperature on my phone’s weather…32 degrees – I love summer! I’m soaking up these days and nights because I know winter in Germany is going to be much colder than I’ve been accustomed to.
Beautiful grassy bank at the Kronberg pool
Kronberg pool
My friend Jane from the British Women’s Club kindly gives me a lift with her to the Kronburg pool.

The Sommernachtfest 

On  Saturday Arne and I set off down the road to first cultural event, the Bad Soden annual Sommernachtfest.  We were lucky enough to be able to walk there as we live only 10 minutes walk away – parking was very hard to come by.  It feels so good to be able to walk places.   
Arne - waiting for the grand opening of the fest - and his first beer!
Bügermeister opens with a short 5 minute speech
We watched the Bürgermeister open the festivities with a brief welcome speech, and then keeping with tradition, he bashed open a barrel of beer with a wooden hammer and said in German, the fest is open! And everyone who felt like lining up could have free beer.  
Hammering open the barrel
Drink and be merry!
We went to a beer stall and got our “radler” which is beer mixed with lemonade, called ‘shandy’ back in SA.   

We spent an hour or so walking around looking at the various stalls and activities – there were lots of families there, young and old.
Traditional German band
Magician-type man on wheels entertaining the children
Samba dancers
Temperature and humidity gauge

Fun for the whole family
Then we walked home to relax before meeting up with some friends in the evening back at the fest.
The fest ended with a fireworks display at 11pm, and the actual festivities went on till 1am, but we made it till about midnight before heading home.

I found it quite amazing that we could hear the party from our house, and at 1am on the dot, it all went quiet and everyone went home as that’s when the official closing time was. 

Visiting our Aunty in Bad Vilbel
On Sunday we visited Arne’s Tante (Aunt) Dorle in Bad Vilbel, which is about 25 minutes drive from Bad Soden.
Bad Soden to Bad Vilbel
Tante Dorle is 80 and is as fit as a fiddle. Se really spoilt us, making us a yummy lunch, including cake (home baked) and coffee afterwards. Then she gave us a box full of her homemade jams – yum! Jam in Germany is called Marmelade (pronounced differently than in English of course), which was a bit confusing for me at first.
The box of jams even included a lovely jam spoon

Then we walked across the road to the annual Bad Vilbel funfair/market.  
Me and Tante Dorle
Arne and Tante Dorle
It was set in a beautiful park and we did a lot of walking, looking at the different stalls. It was a lovely afternoon and it’s so special to have family nearby to spend time with.  Although she’s Arne’s aunt, she’s about the same age as my Gran would have been, so it reminded me of nice afternoons I’d spent with my Gran before she passed away.  Tante Dorle speaks only German, so poor Arne was caught in the middle as the translator but did a sterling job!

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