>Where I grew up, we didn’t have “Carneval”. It was something I learned about later, the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Rio, Venice. But in Germany and Austria, Carneval or Fasching, is a pretty big deal. In Austria it’s Ball Season — from the lowly Technikerball to the Vienna Opera Ball with all it’s elitist splendor and dubious celebrities (Dita van Teese?) There is week’s worth of televised special events — honestly, the stuff is so corny that extreme loneliness is the only reason people would watch them. (There’s nothing comparable in the States, but if you took a 60s comedy special, mixed it Abbott and Costello and the Lawrence Welk Show, took away a good 80% of the talent and added silly hats, you’d be close.)
My beau and I set out for the Viktualienmarkt in Munich on Tuesday, more like anthropologists looking to document cultural behavior than looking for a good time. But we had a good time anyway, just being among the temporarily insane for the afternoon.
In the photos below, we have found ourselves in a street leading to the Viktualienmarkt which was been closed off to keep the crowds from getting too big. Of course, the crowd was building up outside the barricade (manned with police officers), but everyone remained peaceful and friendly.
Then we had an incredible stroke of luck: an ambulance with sirens screaming for us to let it pass. The police opened the barricade — and about 50 of us ran along behind it! I was just at the barricade as they were closing it, but the police were nice and unaggressive and ignored all those of us who scampered around them and into the market square. (I wondered if such a crowd in North America would be tasered.)