Friday 24 February 2023

Last Week

The first half of last week was sunny, and mostly mild. The second half saw a little rain, strong winds and many fast-moving clouds. The weekend was dominated by Carnival-related activities.

I arrived back home on the morning of Monday, February 13, with my trains being on time. The day was sunny, inducing me to an hour's walk on the fields in the afternoon. In the evening, a meeting with my volunteer group took place. (Our meetings are always a mix of serious work and good fun.)

Tuesday, the 14th, was once again sunny. I worked at the office in Weilimdorf and arranged to meet up with my sister after work, half way on our respective ways home. The original idea had been to walk from Zuffenhausen all the way home, something I've been doing many times. But because of my sister having to carry a heavy rucksack with her laptop etc., we decided to try a new route and get back on the train in Kornwestheim for the last leg of our journey. It was still a good walk and an occasion to catch up. 

Not my pictures but O.K.'s, taken on that day during his lunchtime walk near work.

It was really foggy that day in O.K.'s area - not here, though.

It was another day at the office for me on Wednesday (Feb. 15), followed by an excellent meal of home-made savoury pancakes with my sister at our Mum's. The pancakes were spread with a filling of creamy mushrooms, cheese and herbs, and then rolled up. The fresh leafy salad and the well chilled rosé wine were perfect matches.

Same place, same walk, next day. What a difference!

For Thursday, the 16th of February, my original plan had been to work from home. But the city of Ludwigsburg's electricity provider had left a leaflet in my mailbox, informing me of a planned power cut from 8:00 to 11:30 in the morning, due to necessary repairs. Without electricity, I can neither work nor heat my flat (I use gas but the actual controls and pumps are electric) - not even make myself a cup of tea or coffee. Therefore, for the third day in a row, I took the usual two trains to Weilimdorf. 

By the time I finished work, much of the day's sun had gone, but it was still good enough to walk home from Zuffenhausen, making a little detour to the cemetry and ending up with exactly 10 km. Not long after I arrived home, rain set in.

Friday (Feb. 17) was mild at 12C (53.6F) but grey, and again very windy. After work and my usual round of cleaning, I started my trip to Offenburg about an hour earlier than usual. The second of my two trains was delayed by over an hour, but a spontaneous change of plans allowed me to still arrive with only about half an hour's delay. Honestly, without the Navigator app on my phone I'd be lost when it comes to public transport!

The reason for my earlier trip was that this was the night of the traditional Preismaskenball in the village hall (literally "prize masks ball", meaning a Carnival themed dance where visitors can enter a contest for the best costume). Of course, this was the first Preismaskenball since the pandemic, and my third one. The motto was Hamburg, but we never go for the contest, we just go for fun, and made little effort with our costumes, merely borrowing sailor-style shirts and hats, since Hamburg's most dominant feature is its international harbour.

We dressed (and I even put on some lipstick) and walked up to the village hall, about 10-15 minutes from the cottage. The place was packed, and the general mood was cheerful and merry; it was obvious how happy people were to be able to go to such events again. We had a few drinks, chatted to people we knew, watched a few performances on stage by the carnival clubs, waited for the prize ceremony (and did not agree with all the decisions of the committee), danced a few times, and generally had a good time, going home at about 2:30 in the morning.

Back in 2018, I posted here about the ball. 

Understandably, Saturday (Feb. 18) started late for us. After "breakfast" (we're talking 2:00 pm), we took advantage of the mild weather (14C) and went for a walk around the village. Afterwards, we popped in at O.K.'s parents (their house is just across the road from the cottage) - unintentionally, just when O.K.'s Mum pulled her freshly made pizza from the oven, so we stayed for a few pieces before retreating to the cottage.

Hofweier's village church, St. Gallus

Sunday, the 19th of February, was the main carnival event for the village: a parade in costumes and with marching bands, one of those bands being the village brass band where O.K. plays the trumpet.

Those events mean O.K. is busy all afternoon and evening, and also the following day. Therefore, just like in previous years, the family met at O.K.'s parents for goulash soup (very nice) and a drink. O.K. then had to go join the band for the parade, while the rest of us watched the parade from the side of the village road. We then followed the groups down the village road, chatting to neighbours and friends along the way, and then having another drink at one of the venues open only for that occasion.

I liked the little Witch walking with her Mum (or Dad)

You can tell that being part of a carnival club is very much a family thing.

Yours truly with one of the (male) witches posing for a "selfie".

The "Domino" is the village's oldest traditional costume. I find them scary, much more than the witches.

This group (there are actually 5 or 6 of them, all sisters) represents Hamburg's notoriously bad weather.

At 4:00 pm, O.K.'s sister and brother-in-law took me to the train station, and I was home after an uneventful journey at around 7:00 pm.

The quiet evening on my own was not unwelcome after the busy week and weekend :-)


  1. It's been ages since I have been to a parade. Looks like everyone had lots of fun.
    February is flying by for me!

    1. It always amazes me how much time, energy and sometimes money people put into this - people come up with their own ideas and then spend a lot of time on creating their own costumes and masks, starting months before.
      February is indeed flying by - it'll be March next week!

  2. That parade looks fabulous! Is O.K. one of the men in the first couple of parade photos? :)

    I think it's great that Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated in so many unique ways around the world. I never considered it might be big deal in Germany. I learn so much through reading blogs!

    1. Yes, he is :-)
      Considering how small the village is (ca. 2,500 people) and that nearly every village in the area had their own parade that day, the turnout was big - both for the participants and spectators.
      In my part of Germany, nearly nothing happens for Carnival, but in the predominantly Catholic areas, it is HUGE. Check out Cologne and Mainz, for instance, and then further south where O.K. lives.

  3. Walpurgisnacht came a wee bit early.
    Beltane here in Scotia is April 30th but Choc Easter Eggs are already on sale.
    Germans know how to have fun.
    I'd ask that bonny black-haired witch to have lunch with me but her friend might object.
    He looks like a tough guy in spite of his leery grin.

    1. Walpurgisnacht here is April 30th, too, but the witches are around all year, and never as prominent as at Carnival time.
      I really have no idea who was under that mask. I know some of the people who are in that particular club, but did not recognise his voice when he asked for a selfie.
      It's a very regulated kind of fun - nobody can just don the costume and mask, you have to be part of the club, pay an annual fee, attend their meetings and so on; certainly not my thing.

  4. Lovely photos from O.K. and interesting to see a bit of the carnival too. We're not really big on carnivals in Sweden.Traditionally there are students' parades on Walpurgis night though, but participants usually just technology students. In later years "pride" (rainbow) festivals seem also to have become a recurring "thing" but I don't think there is a specific date or week for those.

    1. "Pride" parades here are held on Christopher Street Day, but not in my town; it's larger cities like Stuttgart usually, and not an event I personally am interested in. If it weren't for O.K.'s role in his village's carnival, I don't think I would be there, either - it is a question of "take it or leave it", but "leave" would mean O.K. and I would not see each other at all on that particular weekend.