I should have been studying for an exam on Corporate Governance the other Sunday, but I couldn’t simply say no to go out of my room and enjoy the perfect weather. My classmate-cum-dorm-mate, Omar, and I went to the city center for a gelatto (again, as a reminder, it is not ice cream!). Later, we decided to hunt for a wine fest in a hidden corner of Freiburg. The thing with these little festivals are they mostly unannounced- no posters or advertisements, and only passed around through word of mouth like persistent rumors that refuse to die.
I only know of where to take the bus to reach the place. I don’t know exactly where the festival is. The bus driver we asked pointed us to the other bus station, and we were told it is in a small St. Georgen (pronounced as Sankt Ge-or-gen), a small quarter in the outskirts of the city. The annoying part was the bus we think we had to take stopped further down the street, and when we reached it, the driver won’t open the doors any longer. The bus sped away without its two needy passengers. Defeated, we entered the cage-like football field and started playing soccer with two little kids who knows more footballk than I do. Don’t cover your chest with your hands to stop the ball, the little guy said at one point. We learned they are brothers, probably around 5 and 8 years old. The elementary game turned out to be an intense one, as we played two against two. Later, their father arrived and it was their family against us. I couldn’t really remember who won or if it ended with a tie.
After the game, we decided to take the bus from where we were told to take it, which was near the city center. As we slumped on our seat waiting for the tram to leave, we saw the bus arrive. We jumped out of the tram and run for our lives to catch the bus this time. It turned out it was the same bus that left us earlier (we jotted down the bus number, thinking of reporting it to the Court of Justice!). We made it to the bus this time, and soon we were bound for St. Georgen.
Getting off the bus in St. Georgen, it seemed there was no wine fest going on. It was a typical quiet town on a Sunday. We continued walking to what we thought was the general direction of the festivity. We met a few people and soon we saw the banner that greeted the visitors of the wine fest. Our feet led us to the right place, I thought. Soon we were in the middle of the celebration with wine stalls, benches, and tables on the street- a compact Biergarten, or should I say, Weingarten! We warmed up with a bottle of beer(!), and later bought red wine and some wurst in a bread.
I am no wine connoisseur, but I am starting to appreciate the subtleties of the drink. We walked on found a giant barrel where the stall it belonged sold both red and white wine. We tried a sip of both and decided that the red wine was better.
We continued our hunt for the best wine, yet what I found was this interesting piece of meat called a Häxle. It is basically a big chunk of roasted pork, which you hold by the bone protruding from one of its end. One gets a dip of his choice. It was a carnivore’s wildest dream come true and a vegetarian’s worst nightmare.
Later, our feet brought us to an enclosed part of the quarter where a band was playing some Volksmusik (traditional music) in front of a real Biergarten. Here we met and chatted with some nice locals and a Russian couple, who probably were wondering how we foreigners discovered this little traditional celebration.
After settling down, the alcohol started to take effect. We finally found a really good wine (that’s the best my connoisseur language could go) but I was starting to feel like a bottle has been poked on my head. After the band played, I decided that we call it a day. We took the bus, and afterwards the tram where met some more interesting people. An elderly woman from Poland who was at the Weinfest and a theology student from Müllheim who gave us some flowers she picked from home. My head started to spin at the beginning of our trip back, and fortunately, made it safe and sound back to the comforts of my dormitory.