Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Busy Weekend on the Balcony

We never realized when we moved to this apartment in Münster how valuable our balcony would be.  We had a balcony in Borken, but it was off Dylan's room and we kept the door blocked most of the time to prohibit him from going out there alone.  But here, our balcony is off our dining room / kitchen so Bryan and I are finding ourselves out there quite a bit, especially after Dylan goes to bed.  We have a great view of Hiltrup's church and we get gorgeous sunsets, which this time of year is around 10:30 at night.

Because of our proximity on Hiltrup's main retail thoroughfare - Marktallee - we also find ourselves on the city's main parade route, so we see quite a bit of activity from the balcony.  On Friday night, Hiltrup had its annual Bike Race "Rund um die Marktallee" which consisted of smaller races for young kids (Yes, Dylan will be entering next year in the 3-5 year old age bracket - their race is only 100 meters long) and "seniors" (which insultingly is for people 35 years and older - since when is a 35 year old a senior?), and the main event for "elite cyclists" - 88 laps around our 1kilometer block.

Dylan will dominate this age bracket next year. (photo from Christiane Schräder,  Mü

The premise of the elite race - 88 laps around something roughly the same size as a gym track - seemed kind of odd to us, but they've been doing it now for 24 years so I guess it's a mainstay in town.  We had a blast cheering on the races from our 5th floor balcony, and of course, Bryan got to heckle the one or two racers who inevitably blew a huge lead in the seniors race and came in nearly dead last.  He reveled in his bellowing from our balcony in a southern accent, "You gonna get got."  It took every ounce of his self control to not say anything as this biker packed his car after the race right in front of us.  This is my husband.

The elite race unfortunately didn't make it through all 88 laps due to a huge thunder and lightning storm that came through right around lap #60.  We were pretty astonished at how quickly the entire town scrammed once the rain came, and we have no clue who won the race.

Elite racers at the starting line (photo from Christiane Schräder,  Mü
Elite Racers.

Also this weekend was Hiltrup's Schützenfest - an annual summer festival that pretty much every town in Germany celebrates with varying pomp and circumstance.  Hiltrup's Schützenfest seems like a hyper-local activity that doesn't have much social impact on us Auslanders (foreigners), BUT on Sunday afternoon their parade went right past our balcony, which was entertaining.

Horses are always exciting for a 3 year old to see.

After this weekend, Dylan is expecting bike races and parades to go by every day.

We've also discovered that we're on Hiltrup's Karenval Parade Route, which is super exciting because we really loooove Karenval season.  We'll see if anyone has a good enough throwing-arm to toss candy and beads all the way up to our balcony.

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