Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Fest

Yet again apologies for the length of time that it has taken us to sort out the new book: "Following the Rhine gently upstream, Rotterdam to Basel, a cycle tourist's guide". It is finally finished and is on It is available in just about every form for every type of reader that Smashwords can think of.  Why it took us so long we don't know and we are still fighting to set up the Kindle version for sale on Amazon, but readers can buy a version for Kindle from Smashwords.
The next issue of atob Magazine will feature an article by us about travelling by rail with bicycles in Italy and we were asked to write something new about ourselves. One of the lines we used to describe the Rhine Valley was "where the Fest is a way of life…" The magazine's copy editor, Peter Henshaw was troubled by the term "Fest" and asked us to explain it. We are using the term to describe the ability of the Germans to organise an event with lots to eat and drink and much jollity to celebrate almost anything. This weekend, for example, there is an Oktoberfest on two evenings with a marquee, Bavarian beer and food in Mannheim; there are two nights when the multicultural Jungbusch area of Mannheim (read Soho) celebrates between 20:00 and 02:00 with live music on stages set in the street, classical concerts in the churches and food from all over Europe and the Near East; the local power from waste incinerator is having an open day on Saturday with, of course, eating and drinking, games for the kids and a visit by the Mannheim ice hockey team and there is a week long annual fair starting next weekend in nearby Speyer. Viernheim's annual Kerwe ( a fair to celebrate the founding of the church.) looms. The Town Hall car park is closed from next week. In addition we received an invitation in the post this morning to visit the 50th anniversary of the founding of our local electrical goods shop with fun and games for children, special offers, cooking demos and the odd item to eat or drink. We learned today that one of the local annual German-American Volksfests will continue even when the US Army leaves the area in 2012.
What this means for the touring cyclist: As you travel along the Rhine Valley on a Saturday or a Sunday you are likely to pass tables and benches where folks are sitting nibbling on a pig's leg and sipping beer, wine or lemonade, listening to  live music anything from Country and Western  through swing to an oompaah band. Get off your bike and join them. You will be made welcome.

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