Sonntag, 15. August 2010

Being British in Bavaria ain't easy - Or is it?

Today my local village community celebrated its annual Dorffest. In previous years villlagers have simply huddled together on beer benches, hands cupped protectively around their their “Maß“ and that was it. Apart from boozing and bulging nothing ever really happened. Typically Bavarian, you might say. This time, however, the Schützenverein had handed over organisation of the Fest to the Sportverein, who promised to jack up the level of physical activity a notch or two. Sporty villagers were encouraged to don lycra and crash helmets and assemble on the sports field early morning for a 30-km round trip through the local hop-growing countryside.

Gung-ho that people are finally waking up in our village, I signed up for the parcours with my 19-month old daughter – and immediately questioned my commonsense for parting with the five-euro admission fee. Matilda had never been out on a bicycle before and by the time I’d got her harnessed into the on-loan child’s seat I realised it was fast approaching her no-missing midday nap.

There was no option but to do just a short lap of the course, before hurrying the child back home to bed. So whilst a 100-strong army of cyclists raced off in one direction towards the first check-in, Matilda and I headed off in the opposite direction towards the final check-in point.

It was a lovely summery ride, not too hot and a nice cool wind blowing. We saw lots of cows, sheep and horses along the way and Tildy absolutely loved it. We didn’t see a single other fellow-villager cyclist, however.

Breezing over the finishing line an hour or so later the organisers seemed slightly bemused to see us again so soon, yet – did I detect them wink at each other? – dutifully confirmed our names would go into the lucky draw later that day.

We were indeed lucky. Called up onto the winners’ tribune as the Internationales Team (my daughter is German-British-Polish), we scooped up Second Prize – a 100 € voucher redeemable at the local travel agents.

Did we cheat? It all depends how flexible you wish to view Sportverein discipline in this fairly laid-back corner of Bayern. All I can say though is sometimes it ain’t too bad being British in Bavaria.



Know Howe is on holiday next week. His blog too!

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