Baumblütenfest, or Treeblossomfest for you non-Germans, is a festival that takes place around this time every year in the picturesque town of Werder in Brandenburg. I decided to rope my Aussie friend Sheila into accompanying me.
Me: Hey, do you fancy going to this?
Sheila: Is it a flower festival?
Now, I know what you’re thinking – trees, flowers, picturesque little villages – it doesn’t exactly sound like your kind of thing, Linda… Silly me. I forgot to mention that it’s also famous for fruit wine.
As with most things in Berlin, the day got off to an entertaining start with Sheila (aka “The Half-Naked Aussie”) locking herself out of her apartment in her underwear. However, after (probably) scaring the little old lady downstairs half to death, she managed to get a spare set of keys, get dressed and we were off. We boarded the RE1 at Ostbahnhof and double-checked to make sure we hadn’t accidentally got into a first-class carriage; I vowed to take German regional trains more often. The feeling of scuzziness that comes from drinking beer on a train quickly wore off when all the horny, scantily-clad teenagers and already drunken revellers started boarding at subsequent stations. It was 1pm.
By the time we got off the train 45 minutes later, our lovely carriage resembled a rugby scrum, but, being the tough women we are, we battled our way through and picked up our first glasses of wine – for €1.20. I went for a rhubarb number; Sheila made the unfortunate choice of going for a currant wine. Five minutes later, the drunkest man in the world bumped into her and the violently red liquid went flying. Amazingly, not a drop of it got on her white t-shirt but she quickly realised her mistake. I, on the other hand, was wearing black from head to toe. Call me sensible – or well-practised at these affairs.
As the festival takes over the entire town (for almost two weeks), we had been forewarned to make our way to the top of the hill and then
walk stumble crawl roll back down again. It turned out to be excellent advice. We did just that, stocking up on more wine for the uphill struggle. Everywhere, merry Germans were imbibing copious amounts of wine, chowing down on sausage, and bursting into spontaneous song and dance. It made for highly entertaining viewing.
After a while, however, we stumbled across what was pretty much “The Secret Garden” – except with more Germans. We got some more wine, Sheila inhaled a sausage, and we grabbed a bench to admire how the other half live.
We somehow managed to bump into a group of friends after I spied Nigel coming back from a not-very-secret piss behind the toilets – Brits and their non-sitzpinkelling ways, eh? We all sat down at a large table in the garden and welcomed whoever else happened to come along. This included a German woman who talked about “sex wine” for around an hour non-stop. (I never did find it.)
The evening wore on, the rain started, and everyone at the Fest got progressively messier. A German even managed to get me up to dance which is something that rarely, if ever, happens. By the end of the night, Nigel was asleep on the table while gently puking up the fruity contents of his delicate English tummy; Fritz was also asleep but less vomitously so. He would get his comeuppance later though.
In a bid to get back to Ostkreuz, he somehow disappeared at Warschauer Straße, which is one stop before it. There seems to have been some time lost at this point, but he eventually got on a train to travel the final stop. Unfortunately, he fell asleep and woke up in Spandau, nineteen stations in the wrong direction. After a couple of phone calls, we managed to talk him onto another train going in the right direction. He fell asleep again and woke up in Kaulsdorf, six stations past where he needed to be. If only he’d been awake, he would have seen more of Berlin in one night than most people see in their entire lives. Oh well, there’s always next year…
For more information on Werder and Baumblütenfest, click here. (You’ll be glad you did.)