Helau!

I’m not specifically referring to anyone in this post. But if I did, their names would be changed to protect the guilty.

Fasching is Germany’s version of Carnival. The season begins each year on November 11th at 11:11 a.m. and finishes on Ash Wednesday. Wiki says this about Fasching: “In the Rhineland festivities developed especially strongly, since it was a way to express subversive anti-Prussian and anti-French thoughts in times of occupation, through parody and mockery.” We didn’t know any of that when a neighbor invited us to a Fasching party, and we had no idea what to expect. We should have guessed by the pandemonium at the costume store that things were about to get crazy.

The details of our Fasching story are a bit fuzzy.

Here’s our group at the start of the evening. Think of this as the “before” photo.
ready for the fun to start

Thankfully, there are a lot of fun “during”, but no “after” pictures to share.
Jen & some bees

What the... what!?

their pyramid headgear lit up!
These “Egyptians” were wearing light up pyramids.

Fasching party
This guy was dressed up as a Wine Stand!

Fasching party

The evening ended with one of our partygoers in the emergency room thanks to a suspected broken ankle, and another resting her head on the cool concrete sidewalk outside the hospital.

But everybody was in good enough shape to check out the Wiesbaden Fasching Parade later that weekend:
Big D, Gary and Jen

In addition to lots of marching bands, there were some crazy floats:
Google Street View float

And some things we just couldn’t figure out…
Wiesbaden Fasching Parade

The party continued late into the night, at Big D’s favorite bar.
the party went on late into the night

What were the chances I’d run into another guy with a crustacean hat?
my Crab Hat twin!

And the next day, a bunch of us checked out the Rosenmontag Parade in Mainz – it was huge, lasted for hours and hours, and we came home with giant bags full of candy and treats.

Mainz Fasching Parade
GAH! CLOWNS! No, thanks. Man, I hate clowns.

Cindy had a lot of fun!

There were some political floats that I didn’t understand:
political stuff I didn't understand...

And more inappropriateness:
Mainz Fasching Parade

Mainz Fasching Parade

I loved this PacMan dude:
Mainz Fasching Parade

Mainz Fasching Parade

This year’s festivities are right around the corner. Who knows what will happen!?

More pictures from our first Fasching are on Flickr.

Dom and Lex

When we announced we were moving, we invited anyone and everyone to visit us here. Our brother-in-law is a USAirways pilot who wasted no time bringing our niece on a German adventure. Everything was still new to us, so I was unable to answer a lot of their questions and I was (and still am to a certain extent) a nervous driver. But I’m confident they had a great time. And: they unknowingly helped us as their visit framed itineraries for those who followed them.

We stayed local the first day and explored Wiesbaden and neighboring Mainz.

Dom showing the way to the Dom Museum
Dominic was excited to see he had his own museum!

I was at a bit of a loss when it came to day trip planning; thankfully, our neighbor Dana suggested driving up the Rhein River Valley to her favorite town, Bacharach. It was on this drive that the GPS told me “Turn left in 500 meters. Then, take the ferry…”  for the first time. But we figured it out and had a great day.

Bacharach

Day three had us in Heidelberg as I knew the route, shopping and sites would be fun and easy to navigate.

Alexa & me on the bridge

Big D joined in on the final day of their visit – we rode the train to Frankfurt for more exploring, shopping and eating.

hilarious street performer

This performer gave a hilarious, wordless comedy and magic routine, communicating only through whistles and the squeak of his red nose. He’d stop people as they strolled by and incorporated them into his act. We were throughly entertained while trying to remain invisible so we didn’t become part of the show. It worked, and we were happy to toss a few Euro in his hat at the conclusion.

More photos from Dominic & Alexa’s visit are over on Flickr.