Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bamberg and Dult Action

Hi all,

Time for another mini-update with pictures. Well, for part of it anyways...

Bamberg and Kevin
This Thursday, Kevin, a friend of Eric and mine from UND came to visit. Eric lived with him last year, but I knew him through German class. He'd flown into Frankfurt and had spent a few days in Fulda, a town north-east of Frankfurt. We'd looked into going to Salzburg, but decided we didn't want to go overnight, so Bamberg was chosen. Bamberg is about a 2 hour regional train ride from Regensburg. We ended up taking an 11:20am train with Eric, Vaso, Kevin and myself. Eric is having some allergy/sinus crap, so he wasn't the happiest camper. A trip to the local drugstore helped though. We really didn't have a plan - just to walk around and take in the sights.

We saw some amazing churches - including their Cathedral. It was very unusual since it had been reconstructed after being bombed and so had an interesting mixture of modern(ish) art. Also interesting was that there was a lot of woodwork and unusual organ placement (shown in slideshow). The Old Rathaus (meeting place for the town council/mayor) was suspended over the river on a bridge and was quite gorgeous on the outside. Also interesting was the rose garden, although only one tiny section was flowering, so that might warrant a trip back in a month or so -whenever roses bloom in Germany!

It was kind of funny though. We went into this courtyard that used to be where the Kaiser other important people had a quarter to stay in. A mother positioned her daughter - who was about 7, I'd guess - up a flight of stairs in front of a Gothic-style door (pointy at the top, remember?). She kept telling her daughter
"Spitz Marian, Spitz!"
She was trying to get her daughter to keep her hands up over head in the shape of a Gothic structure. She went at this for a full 3 minutes trying to get her daughter in the perfect position, yelling at her to spitz the whole time. This made me ponder aloud if she might regret that choice of language in about 7 years or so - have to be careful what you ask for!

The last cool thing that we saw before we left Bamberg was on display in a small restaurant. As we were walking by we noticed a book filled with pictures of the Dalai Lama and a note. Apparently he'd been in Bamberg less than a week before we had! Though Angela Merkel (the Bundeskanzlerin) and the Bundespraisident were both gone because they can't show too open of support for Tibet. But that was pretty cool.

Since Kevin had no idea what the Dult was, and since it's the last night (since it ends early tonight and people have class/work tomorrow) we went again. We sat in a different tent and found a new source of entertainment. In the middle of the tent the supporting pole is about 25 feet high and very polished. They'd attached a bell to the top of the pole and a rope hung down about 3 feet. This left about 20 feet from the ground to the bell, maybe slightly less. The object was to put on a climbing harness and scale the pole and ring the bell - resulting in a mass of beer - a whole liter. We were first sitting at a table directly under the pole and it was soon made clear that the guys in lederhosen had a clear advantage. Most would also go up barefoot. However, a girl with a dirndl gave it a try (and the guys are nicer to the girls, giving them a huge boost up) and actually made it! Those with the highest success rate were kids under the age of 12 (both boys and girls) who shimmied right up the pole. Rob, a British friend also gave it a try. Apparently he'd tried early on in the Dult and hadn't made it (although who knows the level of sobriety that was present) but redeemed himself with a hard-won ascent. All in good fun

I also took the plunge and ordered my first mass of beer - and surprised myself by managing to drink it! It took 9 months, but I think I finally did my German heritage proud!

Anyhow, I should probably go and find some way to be productive...
Hope all is well,

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