With just four full days remaining of our city’s biggest festival, and the world’s largest sailing event, you will be pleased to know, the weather is atrocious. Beyond bad. Grey, wet, depressing, cold. Summer has nicked off, or is smoking behind the toilets with no interest in coming out to play. Consequently, my mood is grey, wet, depressing, and cold. My jacket sleeves are itchy about my wrists. My legs are wondering when I am going to stop wearing pants and pop on a swishy skirt. ‘You did it once, a few weeks ago! That glorious hot day in Laboe! What happened?’ I don’t know, legs, I don’t know. Die Lüdde, who by now should be kicking bare legs about, is still in stockings when we go outside. She also has a cold, as if to prove how cold it is. And Jesus, if I hear one more person from Sydney banging on about the cold, and frosty mornings, and drinking cups of tea by the fire, I will throttle as many people as my pashmina collection allows (around eight, possibly nine if you count a decorative scarf). You are wearing the same clothes I am wearing right now, except you are wearing them in winter, so haltet eure Schnäbel.
So, when the skies are grey, the rain drearily intermittent, and it is the end of June, there is but one thing to do in Kiel; consume. Knock back Argentinian red wine, with a piping hot empanada smothered in chimmi churri; wedge in an Aussie lamb burger with peppery sauce and caramelised onions; shovel in, before the chocolate drips all over your lap, a hot Belgian waffle with crunchy clusters of sugar generously scattered throughout; partake of a Kosovan brandy alongside a meat-and-bread heavy mezze; burn your mouth on oily, spicy Spanish chorizo; join the rest of Schleswig-Holstein in queueing for Finnish smoked salmon; sit down to a plate of Nepalese dumplings or Pakistani curry or French cheese. The more you cram in, the greasier your fingers are, the less you notice that you are wearing a functional, weather-proof jacket just days out of July. Indeed, you can almost forget you have been wearing a functional, weather-proof jacket for so long, it has almost fused with your skin.
We always focus on the International Food Market when Kieler Woche rolls around, and block out the rest. But if you are new to the wily ways of German festival food, please, by all means, gorge. Gorge on the hot pommes with full fat mayonnaise, the sugared almonds, the deep fried pockets of sweet pastry oovered in icing sugar, foot-long Bratwurst in crunchy rolls, with a squiggle of mustard. Go for the stone-heavy, cheesy Dresdner Handbrot or fresh fischbrötchen. Drink barrels of beer, or the cocktails beloved of Germans; Cuba Libre, Aperol Spritz, Hugos. Wash it all down with a million ice creams. Loosen your pants and jump in – Germans love to eat, and nothing makes this more apparent than when a Volksfest is in town.
We have a few more days of eating our weather feelings, and press your thumbs it isn’t pissing down on Saturday. Saturday is the glorious Windjammer Parade, when all the old merchant ships exit the fjord in magnificent fashion. I have heard rumours swirling that summer is stopping by at the end of next week.
Otherwise I will lose my mind. And the top button of my pants.