This past week we have experienced what the Germans like to call the last warm days of the year "Alweibersommer" or Indian Summer. It was a busy week with some unexpected excitement, so we were ready for the weekend with the forecast promising to be nothing less than perfect. Also being the beginning of fall, we are embarking on the wine and harvest festival time of year here in Deutschland. Seems all too lucky that we should have one awesome week after another, so it's only fair that our adventures this weekend could be characterized more along the lines of a spectacle.
Our morning at the Gruner Markt went swimmingly, so I suppose it wasn't all bad karma for us this weekend. We even took the old pup with us into town, which little r thought was pretty darn cool. We had several "pinch me" moments where we had to stop for a second to acknowledge that we do in fact live in this awesome place. Per usual, little r gave us many conversations with Germans that we have never had otherwise. If you don't like drawing attention to yourself in a large crowd of tourists, you might want to think twice about visiting us because little r attracts them all.
Ok, so the morning was great - blah blah, the real fun began after little r woke up from his nap. We had hoped the evening before was going to include a Friday drinking beer and eating brats at one of the bier gartens in Bamberg. Big R's boss had other priorities for him, so those plans were rerouted to our local brewery. I know, wah... So, we had decided we would gather little r and take the bikes into Bamberg to check out the Mahr's Brewery. I think Big R told me Mahr's is the leading brewery or won taste-tests or something along those lines.
I was just excited about the bike ride and eating German food outside. What I hadn't prepared myself for was a bike ride from HELL. Big R's good bike was repaired during naptime from the minor incident early in the week, but we wanted to bring the commuter bike just in case we took longer than expected and needed his headlight. That meant little r went on the back of my bike; something I am all too comfortable with these days (as long as the bankee STAYS IN THE BAG). Ok, don't worry, the bankee didn't get lost on this trip.
We had seen some propaganda for a kerwa (or festival) in the neighboring town, and we road ride past the lively fest on the bike path. Then all hell broke lose. The carnival lights were bright and all the rides were spinning with loud music and kids laughing... then our little bear turned crazy and went from a laughing bear to a screaming bear. Our lives were over. Mine, almost literally, as he tossed and flailed and screamed and kicked... It took every ounce of strength (thank you, yoga) to hold the bike upright so we didn't get tossed into the river. Not fun. What the heck was his problem?! We tried all our usual approaches to calm him down, every trick up our sleeve up to the shoulder and nothing worked. The kid was in a mood. A VERY BAD MOOD! The crew on the bike tour was staring, I was spitting bugs out of my teeth because I had to grit them to hold on, and we finally just stopped. I could not go on like this, we had to figure out what his problem was. Then it dawned on me... he wanted the carnival. Who wouldn't?! I used some careful negotiating tactics to create a moment of calm. The bankee came out (only with the utmost promise from Big R that he would stay behind me to jump off his bike the second the bankee left little r's hands), and little r was back to watching ducks and saying 'hi' to boats. He, maybe you can rationalize with a 2-year-old - HA, we were lucky, and it didn't last long, but we did manage to have a few beers (not a piece, don't worry), and have some dinner.
The beer was pretty tasty, which is why Big R looks so happy in this photo.
After finishing our brews and grub and watching little r play in the gravel with the two young girls at the neighboring table, it was time to brace ourselves for the ride home. All should go well, right? We were back to the ducks and the boats, and Big R and I thought we had gathered enough luck to make it home. Then, the carnival. Never have I regretted seeing one before. I used to love these places when I was a kid, and little r shares in my historical excitement. We had to stop and check it out for the fear that little r might scream all night just to make a point. It wasn't the most exciting carnival in the world. The town is small, so the festival was about what we should have expected. Little r didn't mind - it was all super cool. We even let him enjoy one of the rides.
This is one very happy kid...
|(I only included this next picture because the bunny ears look like they are attached to his head and Big R and I can't stop laughing about it)|
As we're watching the pure bliss on our child's face, we both look at each other and swallow hard...we have to peel him away from this ride, and that was one minor detail we failed to acknowledge when we happily handed the carny a token. ugh. And it was a scene. Luckily he wasn't the only child that thought the world was ending because the ride was over. Life is just so unfair!
I have learned to now hate carnivals. Not that we'll avoid them like the plague, but we will come with more armor and a stronger will to handle this crazy animal when his world comes crashing down. The bike ride home was more fun. Bedtime could not come soon enough for all three of us.