July 7, 2014
#25) Hannover respects its marksmen and markswomen. I think that’s pretty cool.
#26) Buy a dirndl… or a beer stein. Actually, buy them both.
#27) Cook like a vegan, even if you aren’t one.
#28) Germans know how to do ice cream… mostly.
|Here are some of the marksmen and markswomen that were in|
We went to the festival this past Saturday evening, but I didn’t stay too long. For one, I don’t like to be out late, and then there was almost a camera tragedy. My camera was in my purse, on my shoulder, and then a basketball from one of the games came flying back and hit my shoulder. It knocked my purse off my shoulder, and my U.V. filter smashed (It’s a good thing it was there, or my camera lens probably would have smashed!). So, I was feeling rather anxious, and wanted to get back to call dad and tell him what had happened to my camera.
|Yay, it's a candy apple!|
But, while I was there, I did enjoy a candy apple (Yes, those are apparently a “thing” at German festivals, too! *happy face*) and a really fun bumper car ride (It was a lot more fun than any bumper car ride I have been on before. There were no rules, really. You could ram head-on into other cars, if you wanted.). Sadly, however, I was unsuccessful at finding a funnel cake. There were tons of crapes, though! Yum! Those appear to be really popular in Germany.
At the festival grounds, I noticed a decent amount of the marksman walking around. These people were usually a bit older compared to the people you would usually see at a fair in the States (roughly between ages 40 and 70, I think), and they wore green jackets with many pins on them. I guessed they were the marksmen and markswomen when I saw them that night, and my suspicions were confirmed the next morning at the parade.
|This is the start of the Schützenfest parade.|
On Sunday morning, there was a huge parade in Hannover for the Schützenfest (It lasts for three hours, I heard!). I went to watch the first two hours, and this is where you really see the marksmen and markswomen. There are hundreds of them that walk past in their different groups, and nearly every group had its own band (I’m not really sure how this works. Perhaps each group is assigned a band for the parade, or members of the group play in a band, or perhaps even each group just has its own band!). But, I found it very interesting to watch. There were other groups in the parade, too. There were heritage groups and culture groups and some group that gave out bananas (Dear America, please start giving out fruit at your parades. Sincerely, people who like fruit.). There was candy involved for the youngsters, too. And there were even beer floats. (Yes, you heard that correctly. There were floats that gave out beer.). All in all, it was an interesting weekend.
(Also, the first day of the festival was July 4th. Since it was the first day of the festival, there were fireworks. I think that the Germans were secretly trying to celebrate the 4th of July. **shhhh, don’t tell anyone I’m on to them!**)
Occasionally when I travel, I try to set aside a few hundred dollars, if possible, to spend on a large purchase. On summer when I went out west, I spent about $250 on a pair of cowboy boots (I had saved my money just for this purchase), and they are my favorite pair of shoes! Last summer, while in Spain, I spent a couple hundred dollars to visit Paris for the weekend. It was my favorite weekend of my trip. This summer, I bought a dirndl.
|I just love my new dirndl! (I'm not wearing the|
blouse that goes with it because I hadn't
gotten one yet when this picture was taken.)
There are a few things that are “typical German souvenirs,” at least from the Bavaria, area (For those of you who don’t know, Bavaria is to most Germans as Texas is to most Americans. Personally, I love Bavaria. I think it’s eclectic!). These “typical souvenirs” include dirndl/lederhosen, beer steins (really, all of Germany, and not so concentrated in Bavaria), and coo-coo clocks (also quite abundant in the Black Forest region). There are other great, and less-expensive Germany souvenirs. Some of my favorite of these include the Christmas decorations (again, Bavaria!), cow bells (oh, look, Bavaria, again! *I’m noticing a pattern, here.*), wood carvings, and hand-made toys (another popular Bavaria thing, but also popular elsewhere. The two most expensive of all these are the dirndl/lederhosen and the coo-coo clocks. A dirndl/lederhosen outfit will run anywhere from 100 euro (on the cheaper end) to about 300 euro (on the affordable end) to 700/800 euro (on the very fancy, certainly-for-very-special-occasions-only end). A nice coo-coo clock will run roughly the same (a bit more expensive, in my opinion). An average-sized, average-priced beer stein will be about 40 euros. All the other things vary. They can all be purchased on the cheaper end (around/under 15 euro (some as low as 3 or 5 euros for smaller, less-detailed things, and the more expensive end (really, anywhere from 30 – a couple hundred euros).
But, anyway, back to my point. Before you leave for your major trip, set aside a few hundred dollars. If there is something big that you really want and will wear/use/admire, get it. If you don’t see anything, then save that money for your next trip. But, factor it into your budget. If you planned on possibly spending it, it will make you feel better when you do. (Please note, I in no means do this every trip. I would have no money if that were the case. I only do it for major trips.).
When you are traveling for a long period of time or living somewhere foreign, it will make your trip better if you integrate with the locals. If you are backpacking, this can mean striking up a conversation (I have heard tons of stories of people discovering/doing something amazing that they wouldn’t have done without the suggestion for a local.). If you are living somewhere, this will help you learn about the culture where you are, make friends, and feel at home. If someone invites you do something (a trustworthy person, and a safe thing, of course), do it. This means even if you are not a vegan, and someone invites you to a vegan cooking event, go. The food won’t kill you. You’ll probably even have fun!
You know that saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”? Well, I don’t know about the grass, but the ice cream is certainly better. I first discovered this last summer in Spain when I ate at Llao-llao, a frozen yogurt company. The frozen yogurt tasted like, well, frozen yogurt. It was nothing like the frozen yogurt that I have had anywhere in the States. Now, when I try to eat frozen yogurt in the States, I can taste the sugar. It’s awful. I might as well just eat ice cream.
|I know that there is no ice cream in this picture, but I don't have|
a picture of my taste of gingerbread heaven. Perhaps the reason
I'm so happy in this picture, though, is because I had just
eaten the most amazing ice cream ever! Perhaps.
Speaking of ice cream, the Germans really know how to eat it. In the states, I have never had anyone put alcohol in my ice cream (although, I have heard rumors about an ice cream shop in State College that will do that). I have been in Germany for one month, and I have had it almost my ice cream twice, and once was almost by accident. It wasn’t until right before I ordered my milkshake in Nuremberg this past weekend that I realized it was actually a “rum shake.” Hey, I’ll take it!
This past weekend, there was a gelato-tasting event in Nuremberg. For 10 eur, one could get 6 “tasting cards” and one “milkshake card” (note: NOT actual milk shakes. While there was ice cream involved, there was no milk.). Then, one could go over to the cart and chose different ice creams to try (there were roughly 10 different varieties). The portions that they gave you were slightly larger than you normally get if you purchase one scoop of gelato. I tried the raspberry, chocolate, gingerbread, pear, cheese (Disgusting. If anyone ever asks you to try cheese ice cream, just say, “no.” Sadly, I didn’t realize it was cheese until after I had gotten it), and gingerbread again. With the exception of the cheese (again, never try it. Ever. I cannot stress this enough.), it was wonderful. And then there was the gingerbread ice cream. This was the absolutely, positively, hands-down, best ice cream I have ever had (and I eat a lot of ice cream). It was heavenly. Like I said, Germans know how to do ice cream… mostly (I’m still trying to figure out what would possess anyone to make cheese ice cream.).