There’s a certain time in May, every year without fail, when the Regional train that takes us from the city to work, suddenly takes on a funny odour. Sickly sweet, the smell of hot, stale fruit wine.
And every year we say to ourselves ‘we really should go to the Baumbluetenfest before we leave Germany.’
But we don’t.
Because the idea of mingling with fruit wine and hot bodies, to ferment with them for hours in the sun, doesn’t actually sound overly appealing. And we’ve heard it can get a bit racist after dark.
But this year we headed there, and managed to be pleasantly surprised.
The trick, I think, is to go early. It doesn’t have to be 9 in the morning, but I’m guessing the later you go, the more likely you are to get another person’s bodily fluids on you.
Trick two. Start at the top of the hill.
Up on the hill you have a view, you have dappled sunlight. There are not so many people, so you can stroll along, stopping one kiosk or another, sampling a sip of wine or buying a bottle.
There are people’s gardens, open to the public, and you can drop on in, see some more of that view, drink some wine, and maybe even sing a song or two….
… and did I mention that Baumblueten means ‘tree blossoms’?
We headed up there with a group of 8 people (L-R: Dirk, Andy, Mumma of Mercedes, Merc, Pau, Fabio and I, plus Mr Taba, not shown). Which is recommended, because there are a lot of flavours. From the more traditional (elderflower or apple), to fruity concoctions that tasted like a cheap holiday in Majorca (strawberry and pineapple), to the slightly exotic (quince and chili).
I don’t even know what a Flieder is. (Google translate tells me lilac- oh dear, we should have tried the lilac!)
Don’t forget to stay hydrated kids!
And line your stomach with something starchy- those wines are pretty potent!
We made our way slowly down from our high hill, and the festival segued from ‘backyard drinks’ to ‘carnival’, with rides and games and cheap trinkets.
And yet it still remained pretty, and fairly peaceful.
I think part of it was that we went on a bridge day- the Friday between a Thursday public holiday and the weekend. Presumably, most people were either back at work, or taking advantage of a longer long weekend, by heading out of town.
We left before the evening set in, feeling hot and tired. Next time, bring more water!
But I like the idea that there will be a next time.
If only so I can try myself some of that lilac wine…