the small town weekend edition

receiving lineSome people might have trouble believing it gets smaller than Regensburg, but Sarah and I confirmed this weekend once again that it sure can.

We had the honor and pleasure of attending our pals Jentry and Markus’ wedding again this year. I say “again” because last year we attended their Standesamtliche ceremony. That was nice, but little did we know that was just a cursory wedding. The “real” one was last night and it was a humdinger.

This is what we’d thought out for ourselves, geography-wise for the weekend (below). Alas, it didn’t quite work out that way, but all was not lost.

We got up really early, got our nice duds on, picked up our rental car and headed north to Hirschau. We got there about 2 hours too early, planning to walk around the town’s Herbstmarkt. About five minutes later, we were looking for some other way to kill the rest of our time. We ducked (out of the cold and) into the church to catch the last few notes of the music group’s rehearsal. I could tell right away that this was going to be quite a musically diverse weekend: it was “My Guy” — or rather “My God” as made famous by Sister Act.

The wedding itself was pretty straightforward, except for selections from Godspell and other various pop love songs I’d never heard at weddings in the U.S. (and the priest was looking pretty bemused at times during the musical numbers), but upon exiting the mass, we got a very different musical flavor.



That’s Markus’ band. They march in parades all over Germany. They were great.

After the wedding, we drove to the Kuhdorf* where the reception was being held. We, along with the other guests, got treated to some of this:

We were really impressed with that band. They’re called Tequila Sunrise and they’re based in Neunburg vorm Wald. They played for something like 12 hours — and they were continuously excellent in everything they did. Wedding reception classics like “Proud Mary” or traditional Bavarian folk music — they played it all, with lots of interaction and enthusiasm, including an hour’s worth of party games at a “secret” nearby bar where all the guests snuck off to with the bride (the famous Brautentführung — bridal kidnapping) . Each band member played at least two instruments and they switched off on lead vocals. Here’s what parts they seemed to be playing the most:

Rock Bayerisch
Keyboards Akkordeon
Guitar Saxhorn?
Bass Guitar Trompete
Saxophone Klarinette
Drums Mobile percussion device of some sort — a tambourine (beaten with a drumstick), jingle bells and a washboard rolled into one

Later on in the evening, Markus’ family and friends put on a dance show for the rest of us to enjoy:

    

Mix all that up with great food and friendly fellow guests and a comfortable (and cheap!) night’s stay with breakfast at the inn (attached to the reception hall) and that yields one pleasant glimpse into small-town wedding celebrations we probably never would have experienced, otherwise.

The next morning after breakfast, we’d planned to check out Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is famous for being one of the most often photographed spots in Germany. I’d been there years ago with my parents and sister, but Sarah never had. Unfortunately, weather, traffic and an astoundingly difficult to use navigation device in our rented Fiat (must go well with the Italian highway system) all conspired against us, and we wound up spending a couple hours on the road for nought. But we still did get to visit Kallmünz on Christina G’s recommendation, especially with regard to the tiny little restaurant near the East bank of the Naab river: zum Bürstenbinder. She said they specialized in Schupfnudeln (a.k.a Fingernudeln — think German gnocchi if you’ve never had them before) . She wasn’t kidding. Variations on that theme were the only thing we could find on the menu. But they sure hit the spot with a nice tall, chilled sparkling apple juice. Before having our late lunch there, we walked around town on both sides of the river and despite the rain and cloudy conditions, managed to shoot these:


Kallmünz on the Naab p9214436 Kallmünz on the Naab

Fare thee well…

…through these sweet fare sales, that is.

We haven’t had that many visitors lately. My parents (hi Mom & Dad!) came for a good, long visit in May, but other than that our guest bedroom has remained empty for long stretches of time. And this displeases us.

So imagine my delight when my usual barrage of travel newsletters in my e-mail were screaming about Fall fare sales! There’s a United sale that you have to move on – it ends tomorrow. I’m more intrigued by the Lufthansa sale. You have until August 20 to purchase and it covers flights well into 2009 (until March 25, to be exact).

So look at your calendars and think about a trip to Germany! The Christmas markets will be in full swing after December 1. Come skiing in the Alps sometime in January. Or we could touch base here in Regensburg and then jaunt off to somewhere warm – Greece? Sicily? Turkey?

Give it some thought, U.S. peeps. And comment or e-mail me if you want to talk about specific dates.

the IRL meetup


Tonight we met the Eurotrippens. They are really cool people.

One thing we Sarah noticed: they are the first American couple we have ever met over here where both parties are American. I thought that couldn’t be true when she first said it, but when I think about everyone else from our budding little ex-pat community in Regensburg (thanks go to Christina for her organizational efforts), they’re all not a couple, or not both American.

One thing I noticed: meeting people in real life, with whom our first contact was via our blogs or other websites (or, in our case, a BBS) has been a singularly cool experience, every time.

In roughly chronological order:

  1. Sarah (homerun on the first at-bat!)
  2. Miss-Efficiency and her husband via BookCrossing
  3. Zmrzlina via BookCrossing
  4. Ron & Kaori via BookCrossing
  5. a bunch of German bookcrossers at various meetups
  6. Margot and Nick, indirectly via BookCrossing
  7. Christina and Rainer
  8. and now B and Jim

Are we just lucky? Or are you all as thrilled with your on-line meetups as we are? You can post anonymously if you want.

freaky weather and calm, assertive energy

It’s been doing weird stuff here lately. Fierce, sudden winds, surprise snow, hail, and freezing rain storms, and all this after last week hit the 60°F mark.

flash snow storm!

The guy below looks pretty tame, right?
Charlie posed

He even fooled me into thinking that I could work some Cesar Millan-style magic on him. Actually, that stuff does work on him indoors, but outside on his leash, even saddled with Apfelschorle bottles for extra resistance, he is constantly trying to assert his pack leadership. Christina took Sarah and me out for a rousing hike through the woods around Laaber and Young Master Charles was a force to be reckoned with. He accepts the leash and initially responds well to hisses, foot taps, and other assertions of pack leadership, but it became clear to me that he was just waiting me out. He didn’t mind tugging at all. He did do a surprisingly good job of following my instructions to calmly wait for approaching dogs to get their freak on, thereby thoroughly embarrassing their humans.
Cliff and Charlie, pre-walk

cripes, is it something in the water over there or what?

Last night two very good friends independently informed us that they are ending their relationships with their long-term significant others. These two friends are not connected to each other except that they have another mutual acquaintance (if you can even call it that) besides me. (And no, I don’t think they would make a good item together.)

It just weirds and saddens me to hear of two breakups on the same day, especially as we approach Narg & Carrie’s wedding and spent last Saturday at a wedding in Neuburg an der Donau.

Or maybe there’s some kind of Conservation of Couples natural law in effect here. That would be a bummer, of course.

Cliff is one of the people in your Philberhood

Well, isn’t that nice? I got a nice write-up from good buddy Phil on his blog over at myspace.com. As you will read, Phil and I have been pals since freshman orientation at OU back in the day (circa July 1994).

Sarah I and were talking about long-term friendships and stuff last night, and we realized…wait for it…we’ve been shacking up for five whole years as of December 27! I bet my mom prefers to focus on the time period starting, oh, mid-February 2004 or so, but we keep different kinds of records between each other, like

  • when we first met online
  • when we first met in person
  • when we moved in together (remember that ordeal, Narg & Sara?)
  • when we got married
  • when we moved overseas

I guess that’s our most recent recurring celebration. What are yours?