Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wasenfest 2015

It is that time of year again. Time to test your immune system and digestive track. Year in, year out the Wasen in Bad Cannstatt has been guest to Oktoberfest survivors, deniers and objectors for the past 170 years. Over the past decade, visitors have gradually chosen to arrive dressed in Bavarian costumes: Lederhosen, dirndls and as much plaid as the Chinese can produce over the hot summers.

After arriving on the fair grounds, many of the 4 million visitors get an incredible urge to drink massive amounts of beer. No problem for the four Stuttgart beer breweries who deliver to the 10 huge beer houses that are built twice a year for this and the spring festival.

Small bands play all day and all evening until 11 pm (midnight on the weekends), interspersing their sets with "Oins, zwoi, gesuffa" so that the people don't forget to drink and to order another liter. Those who make it out of the tents still standing, often stumble onto one of the rides which will propel them - and whatever they have drunk - with up to 5Gs through the air. Watch out below!

Children are, of course, also welcome at the Wasen. All sorts of sugary treats and fun rides await them: cotton candy, roasted nuts and popcorn, fruits dipped in chocolate, etc. Haunted houses, Ferris wheels and roller coasters for the whole family are just waiting to have you check them out.

And if you are lucky enough to be visiting with your grandparents, they may spring (€7) for a balloon to keep you from sulking at least until you can be returned to your rightful guardians.

Wednesdays are "Family Day" when you get to ride for half the price on most of the carousels. And on the last day of the festival, there are spectacular fireworks for all to see!

Do come and join me and 4 million other revelers on the Wasen. It's a blast!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Water, water everywhere!

Eighteen months ago when I was looking for a place in Europe to visit with my family, a very wise old neighbor said, "If you have children, you have to have water." How right she was. Thank you, Doris!
So last summer we went to the coast of Holland for a wonderful vacation. This past August we were back in Richmond, VA, where my mother, step-mother, sisters, their families and good friends live. If they were not a good enough reason to visit, there are also the enticing watering holes there - and I'm not talking about how the city has become well known recently for its plethora of craft beers!

We went to two nice, refreshing pools, which were perfect for cooling off and - literally - getting our feet wet. Rougher waters were yet to come!

Our next aqua-venture was on Lake Chesdin, the dammed up part of the Appomattox River south of Richmond. My sister and her friend, Jimmy, were boating on the lake that day and invited us to join them. He pulled our two big kids on a raft made for that purpose. I was scared to death that they'd get bounced out on their heads. Well, they did but both came up laughing and wanted to do it again!

As we flew by the shores of the lake, the waves rippled out from under us and created beautiful patterns of light and shadow.

When we got home, I went down to the James River and was greeted by a wonderful sunset behind the Huguenot Bridge.

More photos from the James will follow in my next post. Stay tuned!