July 21, 2004

Long Weekend In Frankfurt

Way back in June, a few of us went over to Frankfurt for the weekend to celebrate Stefan and Julia's marriage. We didn't go for the wedding itself, instead we were invited to their Polternabend.

The polternabend is a traditional German celebration before the wedding to bring good luck to the marriage. All the guests bring old crockery (or in our case new crockery bought from Woolworths in the middle of Frankfurt that morning) to smash. The noise and smashing of the crockery scares off bad spirits, although smashing glass brings bad luck. The bride-and-groom-to-be have to clear up all the broken pottery - quite a task when many of the guests come laden with baskets of old cups, plates, bowls... and even the odd basin!

Arriving in Frankfurt on the Thursday night meant we had some time to do a bit of sight-seeing. On the Friday we drove over to Heidelberg, a picturesque little town about an hour or so away, overlooked by an impressive castle. The best feature of the castle being the world's largest barrel in the cellar - you could be besieged for a long time before the 221,000 litres of wine it contained would run out!

The Friday evening saw us out drinking in the centre of Frankfurt before ending the night at the seemingly out of the way Vinyl Bar for some suitably German techno.

As a result we weren't up too early the next morning, but just had time to buy our Welsh(!) plates and wolf down a bratwürst from the Frankfurt market before heading over to help Stefan and Julia get things ready for the evening's festivities. Then it was a quick call back to the hotel to freshen up and back to Julia's parent's house for the crockery crushing.

The polternabend was fantastic fun. Once everyone was through smashing things, the party moved into the nearby church hall for a more recognisable celebration: cold lager flowing freely by the keg; buffet; and a DJ encouraging plenty of dancing. It seems that Nena's 99 Luftballons serves a similar purpose for the Germans as New York, New York does for the British - the song that pulls everyone onto the dancefloor in a mass group hug singalong and signals the end of the night. Or, given that it was approaching 6am, should that be the start of the morning?

Thinking back to that night has just reminded me of the impromptu (light-hearted) karaoke duel I had with one of the German guests when the DJ accidentally put on the instrumental version of Bohemian Rhapsody. Luckily it was about four in the morning, so the remaining attendees would be too inebriated to remember it properly...

Our flight back to the UK wasn't until the Sunday evening, so that gave us plenty of time to chill out and potter round Frankfurt. A lovely way to wind up a hectic, but immensely enjoyable trip.

I took some photos of the day in Heidelberg and our wander round Frankfurt, and there are pictures of the polternabend amongst the ones that Cassie took.

Posted by Adrian at July 21, 2004 06:41 PM | TrackBack

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Excellent write up - pity we missed the karaoke... obviously we left too early!

Posted by: Penny Peck at July 22, 2004 09:49 AM

Or maybe just early enough ;-) I'm sure it was a lucky escape!

Posted by: Adrian at July 24, 2004 11:56 AM
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