Kieler Woche has come to a wet, muddy, dripping-in-days-of-rain, end. The temperature has plunged by about ten degrees since I had my first, celebratory Erdbeerbowle all those days ago. Conversely, I think, should I step on a pair of scales this morning, nothing about me would have plunged by ten, rather increased or inflated.
Yesterday we drove out to Schilksee, where the sailing competition – the very reason for the festival itself – happens. It was windy by the water and all the sailors had pink faces and salty, whipped hair. We walked around for a bit. SG ate a bratwurst, I bought 7€ worth of Haribo lollies at the most sumptuous pick and mix table I’ve ever clapped eyes on.
Last night. the rain having begrudgingly taken a break, we went out to give the International Food Market one last crack and what a crack we gave it. There was the Norweigian elk burger, the Belgian beers. There was an Indian curry eaten while listening to the Irish band (the singer of which was offering his bottle of Jamesons to workers on various stalls, on the premise that if he had anything more to drink, he’d die.) A Finnish beer and two ‘Reindeer Blood’ shots. An Estonian beer. Portuguese tarts, beer, chorizo and Sangria.
We ate it all, drifting around the buzzing Rathaus Platz, to the strains of a brass band and its singers covering such stalwarts as Islands in the Stream and You’re the One that I Want. We watched people, ordrinary people, anyone who felt the urge, take to the big dance floor in front of the stage and whirl each other around in a flurry of functional clothing and sensible shoes. Those of us who chose to indulge gastronomically as opposed to rhythmically, watched on, bopping on the sidelines while shoving various treats into our mouths and singing Dolly’s part lustily when pausing to draw breath (me). I have said it before and I will say it again – no one lets their hair down quite like the Germans.
Pants-poppingly full, we walked in the direction of the water, stopping by the store that had given us our first celebratory Erdbeerbowle all those days ago. The light was fading, but it needed to fade more before the grand finale fireworks could begin, so we sat on a big wooden bench and drank our sickly sweet drinks and reminisced about the outcomes of such sickly sweet drinks in our youth. We listened to the end of Nena’s show, bounced along to Neunundneunzig Luftballoons and then the sky lit up with millions of tiny stars and Kieler Woche ended for another year.