Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart, Germany

Actual date of this event: 3-5 October

Luke and I LOVE Germany - him the sausages and beer, me the ..hmmm.. I'm honestly not quite sure why. We've always wanted to go to Oktoberfest and actually scheduled it into the calendar for October 2013. But in February of that year when I started looking into it, everything was already booked up - yes, 8 months ahead of the festival already booked up! So we decided to hold off until the next year. Well in summer 2013, one of my greatest friends and her family relocated from Louisiana to Stuttgart, Germany. I immediately decided that instead of going to Munich's Oktoberfest, we would visit Kelly & Billy in Stuttgart and go to Cannstatter Volksfest instead.
I had heard Cannstatter Volksfest was the better beer festival to attend anyway, as long as you don't care that it isn't technically called Oktoberfest and that no one in the US has heard of Cannstatter Volksfest meaning they will think it is a knock-off version of the real deal even though it is the exact same experience, but with less tourists. Again, this is what I have heard. So we set off for Stuttgart ready for the weekend!
Luke and I arrived before lunch on Friday, and Kelly, Billy, and their daughter Blair picked us up from the airport. Instead of going back to the house to drop off our stuff and explore the town, they took us to their favorite beer garden, Schwabengarten. Yep... this is why we love Germany! The weather was perfect for chilling outside with beer and sausages! Sadly, I forgot to take any pictures... Kelly, do you have any pictures?

Next we headed back to the house to drop off our stuff. Luke, Kelly, Billy, and I hopped on the train to check out Stuttgart's city center. It was great just walking and catching up, and then of course stopping for a few drinks.

That evening, they took us to their favorite brew house, Schönbuch Brauhaus. Luke was so pumped up about the schweinshaxe (pork knuckle), but they ended up being out of it. He was not a happy boy, but at least he got more sausages. We knew we had a long long day/night ahead of us on Saturday, so we made it an early evening. Again, no pictures... Kelly, do you have any pictures?

On Saturday, we had a yummy breakfast prepared by Kelly and Billy while they took their two boys to their baseball games. Then our friends from Switzerland, Kristen and Dave, joined us for the weekend. We hung out for a bit hydrating ourselves for the rest of the day. Then it was time to get started. We took the train into Bad Cannstatt where the festival is located. At this time, it was about 3pm, and we already saw people sleeping on benches and sidewalks. Oi vey! It was a festival just as I expected it though. It is a family friendly place believe it or not. There are rides for children and adults. There are snack, candy, and treat stations along with shopping stalls.

The not-so-family friendly areas are the tents. There are two time slots for enjoying the beer tents - a morning/lunch and an afternoon/evening. The morning/lunch time is open to families, but they can still get rowdy. The afternoon/evening time is closed to children. It is best to have a booked table in a tent to guarantee entrance into a tent, but they are very difficult to come by, so we did not have tickets. Kelly and Billy had done this before, so they knew what to do. We joined a large crowd outside of the Schwabenbrau tent where a bouncer was picking people to go in. He walked around asking people how many were in his/her group. He absolutely did not like people pushing and shoving the crowd, so we waited extremely patiently. Given that I was a newbie, I was very worried that we weren't dressed properly or pretty enough or German-enough, but he eventually chose us over many many other groups that were there before us. Perhaps he liked our orderly behavior! Or maybe it was just that we had the right number of people for an open table outside of the tent but within the gates. I dont really care - we got in! And we were not leaving! By this time it was Beer:30, so we ordered some liters and food. Luke got his schweinshaxe so he was a happy boy.

We watched as the morning/lunch crowd was ushered out of the tent to begin the evening/afternoon crowd. Then we watched as the afternoon/evening crowd made their way in. All of these people had wristbands on which is how they knew who to let in. We were a little bummed because we did not have wristbands on so we weren't sure how to get inside the actual tent. After the crowd at the bouncer died down a bit, us three girls somehow managed to stick our hands into a crowd of wrists that were all being wrapped with wristbands, and voilĂ , we have wrist bands baby!!
Now, the boys were holding us back! Just kidding!! All of us snuck our way into the tent which was so much easier than it seemed like it was going to be. A tad anticlimactic, huh? From this point on, things started to get a bit hazy. Inside seemed close to madness, but a good madness. It was jam packed with people. There was a stage with a band playing all sorts of music in English and German. Servers were walking around carrying multiple liter jugs in both hands. We meandered our way toward the stage, and eventually found ourselves dancing on a table. We learned very quickly that dancing on top of the table is not allowed, so standing on the benches of the tables is the correct way to do it. We also learned that when we wanted a beer, we just had to flag down a server who will likely have beer in hand and just give them money for however many you want (cash only). We had a great time singing and dancing for the next few hours.

 Video below:

At around 10pm, someone mentioned food, and our brains quickly switched gears. The rides outside were still going strong, but the crowd had dispersed a little. We each got a sausage (Luke got two of course). I was adamant on riding drop-ride while Luke was adamant on getting free sausages. Neither of us were successful, so we made our way to the train station for the "lively" journey back home. (By lively, I mean that some people were still partying hard and others were passed out... I may or may not be describing our group of six.)

On Sunday, we all woke up wondering how six giant buses managed to hit us all while we were sleeping. We struggled out of bed, but only did so knowing we had a huge reward coming! After breakfast, all six of us jumped in the car to check out the U.S. Military Base that Billy works on. None of us guests had been on a base before, so we were like kids in a candy store running around looking at all of the American products in a European city. Cheese-its nomnom. Peter Pan Peanut Butter nomnom. GOOD Taco Seasoning nomnom. American gum nomnom. The purchase was quite large! But the largest purchase of all was when we completed our Cannstatter Volksfest weekend by eating Taco Bell!!!!!! More exclamations!!!!!!!!
What a fun weekend it was! Thank you Kelly and Billy for hosting us for the weekend :) Sorry it took me so long to write about it. Luke and I would love to visit again... and we would love to have BOTH of you in London!


Volksfest means "peoples festival" in German. It is common for people dress in traditional German clothes (men wear Lederhosen, women wear Dirndl), but it is not expected.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Color Run in London

Actual date of this event: 28 September

The Color Run? It's totally old news nowadays. BUT I never had the opportunity to participate in one until recently (like 9 months ago - hah!). These fun runs became popular just a few months before Luke and I moved overseas. All of my friends gathered for the Color Run in New Orleans while Luke and I were preparing for our move. That was three years ago. Wow - THREE YEARS AGO. Since then, a million other types of runs - Color, Black Light, Bounce House, etc - have started up. When I heard that the Color Run was coming to London, I jumped on it! Finally!!
Luke and I were joined by our friends Sara, Mike, and Faye. We hopped on the tube to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where the 2012 Olympic Game were based. This was our second time visiting the park, the first being the Vampire Weeks and Mumford & Sons concert two years ago - wow, TWO YEARS AGO. Thankfully, we were blessed with a gorgeous late-September day. It was a tad chilly in the morning, but the sun and run warmed us up quickly.

Everyone gathered in a car park where a DJ was preparing the runners for the 5k - stretching, dancing, stretching, jumping, stretching, and more dancing. Sounds fun, right? Um, it wasn't all that to be honest. When the race began, everyone started funneling to the start line. A large group would go, and the rest would be held back. While waiting, the volunteers of the run tossed colored glasses, t-shirts, etc out to the crowd.

It was nice to get moving once we finally did! And we eventually reached the 1k mark where would receive our first color of PINK. I decided to take this party to the next level and twirl my way through the color splash. Bad idea. As I finished a twirl, a huge chunk plopped right in my eye. Ooops. Quite painful! Luke had to wipe some off so I could open my eye. I learned my lesson though to NOT twirl through, and instead, skip through each one :-)

I am not sure what it was, but my Color Run experience was not at all like I pictured it. I pictured a huge group of people being lively and fun and goofy and energetic. I honestly felt as if I was the only one. Where was the party? Was everyone still asleep? Was a 3.1 mile snail-paced jog too much for everyone? Was everyone too mature to have fun? Did the Color Run company lie about how HAPPY it is? Or maybe it is just a London or British thing? The happiness felt non-existent. I did my best to make my own fun, but it was really difficult. I just hopped along hoping it might get better.

We finished the trot and were given our color pack. All of us ended up with purple or blue or whatever it was. That was disappointing since we couldn't splash each other with different colors.
We headed to the after party where the crowd was pretty thin. We decided to use our color packs on each other rather than break them in the rest of the crowd

Then we decided it was time for a drink, so we left that party to make our own! The Color Run provided everyone with a poncho to wear on the tube so the colored powder wouldn't get all over the seats. None of us brought our ponchos since we didnt mind standing. Unfortunately, the non-color runners didn't pay attention to us and did the ole tube-ride-shoving causing them to get color on their clothes - ooops. Anyway, it wasn't as much fun as I expected, but it was a good reminder that things don't always go as planned.
Have you done the Color Run? What was your experience like?

The Color Run is an American company which is why "color" is not spelled "colour".

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...