Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Germans have bier festivals and parenting down...

On Saturday we decided to go to the Berlin Bier Festival advertised as the "longest biergarten in the World." Now before any of you Ami's give me a hard time about bringing my son to a bier festival, let me talk to you about Germans. The Germans (and probably Europeans but I only know Germany so far) have got the raising children thing down. In USA, it seems like we are always trying to separate the old people, young people, families, adults without kids, families with only babies etc...Beaches in the US seem limited to families with young children and young people. A beer fest in the US would NOT include minors nor things for families to do. However, it would be hard pressed to find beer at anything that includes children in the US and guess what...not one child was drinking beer!!!! Is that what Americans are afraid of? It works here - why wouldn't it work there?

The Germans include everyone. There are often play areas for children at biergartens. There are always a mix of people in attendance and things for all ages. At the bier festival were old guys singing together at tables to very bad 80's German music. There were families with strollers. There were goofy British stag parties with obnoxiously drunken and similarly oddly dressed 25ish guys. There were groups of friends of all nationalities sitting and talking together. Here is one stag party dressed as 70's tennis players. Don't let their hair fool you! They are all dudes!

It was great. I didn't feel guilty or strange for wanting to enjoy myself at a biergarten sitting outside while also having taking care of a 2 year old.

The food was also great. The first picture is a Kartoffelpouffer (sp?) It is basically a potato pancake served over applesauce! The second pic is our friend the Aussie. She is eating some sort of delicious pork sandwich with delicious German mustard. (one thing I will be taking back with me if we ever leave Germany)

Berlin International Bier Festival - where all sorts congregate. Too bad it only lasts a weekend!

We did have one strange incident. Two bombshell girlies in outfits that said POLICE in English came over to our table and asked us "Haben Sie viel getrunken?" (have you drank a lot of bier?)

Before I continue this story I must explain. In the States, it is, for the most part, weird if you share a table with someone else. In Europe-not weird at all! You can have as many as 2-3 different parties sitting together at tables at biergartens and resturants and for the most part, no one pays each other any mind.

Back to my story...There were 3 younger guys sitting next to us who I felt needed a little action in their life. So I told her in my very best German, "Sie haben viel getrunken" and pointed to our 3 girl-less mates next to us.

They started questioning them (I wasn't sure who they were but they were not real police and had video cameramen with them) but evidently, they were giving breathalyzer tests or something like that. I was not able to catch all of the German. The 3 guys next to us left shortly after the incident and seemed amused but slightly annoyed for me having sent those Maedchens to them.

And no, Baby Bird did not drink any bier but he looks like he sure wanted too!


Caffienated Cowgirl said...

It's funny, isn't it...the way that Germans incorporate family into everything. And the beer thing...they even serve beer at the kiddy indoor play park! I guess it's the happy kids, happy parents theory of parenting :)

Diane Mandy said...

I don't have children, but have made a similar observation. Personally, I think it's great. But the other side of the coin, here in the part of Germany where I live, is that not many restaurants are kid-friendly--no booster seats, no kids cups. In fact, I find it odd that I can often bring my dog Charlie easier (often he is served a bowl of water) than it is to bring my friend's kids.

Yelli said...

@cc- I totally agree but maybe it is more about the fact that water is more expensive! :)

@dianem - Good observation. I have yet to encounter a restaurant that has booster seats. My son is too big for high chairs (physically and mentally) but too small to reach the table so he ends up sitting on our lap (which he usually hates) or peering over the table trying to reach his food!

Jul said...

This is something I love about Germany, too. Different generations having fun all in one place!