Monday, June 11, 2007

Present and Past Times

It was a lovely weekend just gone and I found myself missing Munich on Saturday. One specific thing about Munich. Beergardens. Beergardens in Bavaria aren't like the ones here in England. In England, if a pub has an outside space that's not on the street, they call it a beergarden. That's not a beergarden in my opinion. A beergarden is a wonderful thing when properly done. It's an area usually shaded by chestnut trees. There are rows of beer tables set up and you just pick one that suits you. If it's busy, it's very normal to share a table. You go up to the counter and buy your drink. In Munich the usual offers of drinks would be regular beer (Helles), wheat beer (Weissbier), shandy (Radler-a bicyclist, to be precise) or a wheat beer shandy (Russ'n-a Russian, strangely enough). There are usually other drinks on offer, along with short list of non-alcoholic drinks, but those 4 drinks are the main ones you'll see in a beergarden. Now this next step is what I really like. You can then head to the next counter and get some food. Or you can skip this step and eat the food you brought yourself to the beergarden. Because in a proper beergarden, you are allowed to bring your own food, only the drinks have to be bought from the operators of the beergarden. This makes it a reasonable option for everyone for an afternoon or evening out. Families, pensioners, young adults and students can afford to spend the day there, not just people with a lot of disposable income. The beers are naturally not as cheap as you could get at the store, but considering that's all you have to buy and there's no one rushing you along to buy another, it's very easy to just buy one and sip slowly at it. Well, maybe not easy to sip, as it tastes so nice on a warm day. I'd love it if I could find something similar here in England, but I'm afraid it's unlikely.

As much as I miss beergardens, England has lovely bits to it too. On Sunday I had a pleasant experience that I never had living in Germany. I went to a school fete, or fair. It was the Cookham Rise School fair and I decided to go since it is literally only minutes away from our house. It was very busy, which wasn't surprising considering the weather. Of course in Germany they have fairs too, and I've been to many of them, especially in Pullach. But this one had more of a homey feeling to it. Most of the fairs in Germany have stands that seem to all be professionally run. Meaning the local restaurants put up a stand. Maybe the Scouts will have a stand, but that will be the only one that's not done by a business. But the school fair seemed to be all done on volunteer basis, to raise money for the school. There was a stand to buy hamburgers or hot dogs and another to buy drinks, all being run by parents and family as far as I could tell. They had a wheelbarrow race course, a chance to try and shoot a goal against some the Wycombe Wanderers (see here for my post about them), a 2nd hand toy sale, a 2nd hand stuff sale, a kids' raffle and an adults' raffle, a silent auction, facepainting, plus a few other things I can't remember exactly. A lot for just a few hours on a sunny Sunday. I didn't spend long there, but I could see how someone with school age kids certainly could! It was enjoyable and I hoped they raised a lot of money.

So although summer has brought a point that I miss in Munich, it seems there's other things to fill the gap here in Cookham.

No comments: