Events for All Seasons
|Germany's Christmas Markets
Germany's Christmas Markets are very special -- outdoor markets in the old
town squares where the locals can sell wares, consume traditional food and
drink, and celebrate Christmas the old-fashioned way! They are great
communities events, and most cities and towns (large or small) have
them. Together we've hit them by the dozen, so we've divided them by
||Following European Soccer.
Are you a soccer fan, but can't quite 'get' the European
a three-page primer written mostly for expatriates to Europe. It
presents an introduction to how the European soccer leagues work, how
the international competitions work, and how to go to a soccer game in
Europeans know how to break up a long, cold winter! Fastnacht
celebrations take place during the final week before Lent, a week filled
with winter parades and parties all across southern Germany. It's a
great time to take a day off and watch the festivities!
Tom had the chance to participate in a Volksmarch (literally "People's
Walk") in a small town not far from Heidelberg. These organized
walking events are held all over the country and some people take them very
seriously, trying to hit as many as they can. For others, it's just a
great excuse to get some good exercise. For me, it was a lot of fun,
and I'll probably do it again!
Spring Festivals are very common in late April/early May. This is
when the weather truly begins to turn and the towns and cities try to push
their citizens outside for fresh spring air! This travelogue shows
some of the Frühlingsfests we hit during the
spring of 2004.
Irish Hurling -- A True Amateur Game.
Irish sport of hurling is more than just a sport, it is a national passion
woven into the social fabric of the country, helped greatly by its status as
a strictly amateur sport. For those tired of the modern-day traumatics
that professional sports bring, this story harkens to days when sports were
more 'pure', played for fun and community pride.
Happy Mosel. The Happy Mosel is a day-long event at the end of
Pentecost (May/June) where the roads along a
stretch of the Mosel River are closed to vehicles and opened to
pedestrians and cyclists. This celebrates the beginning of the
wine season, and as the participants hop from town to town, they get to
sample the fruits of the region.
EuroVision 2002 Song Contest.
What is the EuroVision Song Contest, you ask? Both loved and reviled,
it is simply the biggest popular music event in the world, watched by 50
million viewers. It is indeed a Contest in which songwriting and
national pride converge for one big party. This story tells of my
experience at the 2002 Contest held in Tallinn, Estonia!
in Rothenburg. Wittmontag, meaning "White Monday",
is a special holiday in
German and is celebrated with period costumes, dances, parades, and
festivals. Here is a special travelogue that gives just a flavor
for the celebrations held in the Bavarian town of Rothenburg in June
Dance in Bali. Art and music is deeply rooted in Balinese
culture and religion. There is no
greater evidence of this than their beautiful and symbolic dances.
The Kecak Dance is performed routinely all across the island,
entertaining hundreds of tourists each week. It is a great show!
This short story tells of my experience attending one.
The largest wine festival in Europe takes place each September in the
northern German Wine Road town of Bad Dürkheim. But oddly enough, its
name doesn't mean 'wine festival' -- it means 'sausage festival'. No
matter, it is still a great time! (Be advised, though, if you go,
don't drive. The wine is served in pint sized glasses. We're
Cannes Film Festival.
What's it like being in Cannes during the famous international Film Festival?
Tom went for a day trip to southern France to find out. It was a
chance to watch the red carpet, mingle with the crazy fans, and check
out the sights. You can't actually get in the gate without some
major credentials, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun there.
Canstatter Volksfest. The second largest beer
festival in Germany has everything the world-famous Munich Oktoberfest
has, just not quite as much, and some things it doesn't, like nearly as
many international tourists nor as much kitsch. But it has all the
charm and the crowds, plus it overlaps with the Baden-Wuerttemberg
agricultural fest that's great for the kids. Overall, this
Volksfest is a good
alternative if Munich is a bit far away.
|World Cup 2002 Qualifier -- Slovenia v Romania.
Like international sport? Few international competitions beat the
World Cup soccer tournament.
Over two years, 200 nations fight for the 32 spots in the final
tournament. In the 2002 tournament, Slovenia and Romania played
head-to-head for one of those spots. Winner went to Japan/South
Korea, loser went home. Tom was at the first leg in Ljubljana, and
here's a report.
Of course, the single biggest beer festival in Germany (indeed the
place in Munich. Every year, millions of visitors flock to the
convention grounds in the western quarter of Munich to enjoy this
massive celebration. Over 25 festival tents, a colossal amusement
complex, and more beer and food consumed that one can possibly imagine!
the Train 101. This four part series
was published in the European Stars and Stripes in May and early June
2002. I have now reposted the articles here, with a few
adjustments and updates. (By the way, the original article is
still available but delinked from the website's navigation system, it
has been replaced with Lesson 3 here).
Bombing Site. I had the chance to revisit
Kuta three months after the terrorist bombing of 12 October 2002.
It was interesting to see how the island of Bali had changed, and how it
remained the same, during those three months.