A German Community BBQ

DSC_7700Friends invited us to meet them in their village on Sunday for a community BBQ. Not sure quite what to expect, we drove to Hörmannsdorf excited to find out what a German BBQ would be like.

The village of Hörmannsdorf is small enough that our friends’ directions, which told us to find the church and look near it for a gathering, were completely sufficient. We found what appeared to be the only church in town, and — sure enough — there were a few dozen families gathered under fest tents behind it.

DSC_7695The BBQ was a simple, fun affair. There were slack lines and a bounce house for kids, a raffle for families, live music, and food. There was also a life-sized statue of a cow, painted like Germany’s flag. Beside it sat a working model of a cow’s udders, with a bench beside it. The German kids took turns “milking” the cow, watching water stream out from the udders in turn.

For the most part, the food was normal Bavarian fest food: there were brats, potato salad, rolls, pork, soda, water, and beer. The exception to was the steak, which was cooked on a grill and topped with butter-soaked, caramelized onions.

DSC_7696The music was definitely the highlight of the event. An American and a German musician alternated playing sets. The American played mostly country songs with an occasional pop song or classic rock song mixed in. He wore cowboy boots and a big white cowboy hat, signed by country musicians he’s met in person.

When the American finished a set, the German musician took over, playing traditional German songs on his beautiful, ornate accordion. The contrast pretty much summed up our experience living in Germany so far: a blend of the familiar and the Bavarian, a friendly and fun cultural exchange.

It’s common at German festivals to have a Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) break in mid-afternoon. This gathering was no exception, and the variety of cakes was impressive. Between six of us, we tried cheesecake, chocolate cake, tiramisu, something similar to black forest cake, but with raspberries instead of cherries, a rolled cake filled with raspberries and cream, and another cake that looked like it may have been gingerbread-based. I wish I’d have taken pictures of the cake!

DSC_7694Days like yesterday make us so glad to have the chance to live here. The intercultural exchanges, the hospitality of the German communities in Bavaria, and the friendship of other Americans make this our favorite duty station yet.

Have you lived abroad? Leave a comment!

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