03 August 2006

Ruining A Triumph

The recent World Cup certainly showed the world what Germans were really like, rather than the unfriendly and boring but efficient stereotype that is usual. Efficient certainly, but the other two have been reasonably well blown out of the water. Or so I thought.

The weekend before last, I went to the Kaltenburg Knights Tournament. It is like "Medieval Times" in North America, but much better and more interesting. There is a complete festival sites with lots of very interesting stalls, selling not tacky cheap souvenirs, but orginal or authentic fair, plus some excellent food.

Plus there were numerous stages dotted around the place with many different shows to keep you occupied before and after the main show, and the parade was amazing, showcasing all of the participants close up in full costume. The tournament itself in the arena was very impressive, although I think it'd be much better to see it in the evening.

The one thing that soured the day was a small, simple incident as me and Audrey took our seats in the arena. It being a blistering hot day, and the arena being open-air, we were sitting in the direct sun. So, just before the show started, Audrey put up her umbrella to give us a bit of shade for a few moments respite until the event. Barely before it was up though, we heard a shrill voice crying, "Das ist nicht erlaubt" ("That isn't allowed") coming from behind us.

Audrey turned round to inform the middle-aged German woman that the show had not started yet, but we simply got a similar reply. Very shortly after taking down the umbrella, the gates of the arena opened and the show did start. Now I can understand the woman not wanting us to obstruct our view, but the tone of her voice and what she said just brought the stereotypical stern, unfriendly German back into my mind. Is it that difficult to say something politely?

I hope people like her are not going to affect the way the rest of the world now (correctly) views Germany, but she certainly isn't doing the cause any good. And where was she during the World Cup? Did people like her simply keep indoors or go on holidays when the World Cup was on to avoid all the "lower-classes" who follow football?