Yesterday was the First of May, a holiday here in Germany. They call it Workers Day. We drove five hours across the country and arrived in Bavaria late in the afternoon. Every village had its blue and white striped Maypole surrounded by the remnants of a May Day party: lots of beer and lederhosen.
Our hotel was called in German “The Beautiful View,” and it lived up to the name. I took the photo above from the terrace where we ate dinner.
It was so pleasant there that after our meal we never left the table but started chatting in half-English, half-German with other people on the terrace. The sun went down and lights came on in the towns of the valley below. The chef came out and bought us a round of schnapps. At some point our party grew to include a couple of young Bavarians, Dom in lederhosen and full Bavarian regalia and Tom barefoot in shorts and an AC/DC T-shirt.
“We started drinking beer at 9:00 this morning,” said Tom, “and now we have reached a good level.”
Dom showed me a photo of his brother, also dressed in lederhosen
, on what looked like a motorized tricycle with cases of beer stacked high behind him. “He is not drinking all this himself,” Dom explained. “He is also riding around giving beer to other people.” Somehow I got an image of him delivering to the shut-ins. “He drank thirty liters of beer today. Then he fell in the grass and went to sleep.”
Dom lit up when he learned we were Americans. “Eisenhower did the right thing when he conquered Germany,” he said. “My Grandpa was in World War Two. He was shot through the neck at Stalingrad, and then he was fifteen years in Siberia. But he was not a Nazi. He had only two choices: fight or die. Hitler was scheiss. War is scheiss. Because of World War Two people think we are bad people.
“I am proud to be a Bavarian. This is the most beautiful place in the world. We have the finest beer in the world. This is not just German beer. This is Bavarian beer. Bavaria is where I live, and this is where I will die. Ee-yah-hoo!“