We fled our apartment this weekend. The crazy carnival ("Fastnacht" if you're a Mainzer) celebrators kicked off the weekend long binge on Thursday evening, and although we heard an occasional screech, it wasn't too bad. Jan slept with earplugs which made it extra "quiet." Last year Blaise was still a newborn and easily sleep through the insanity, we didn't want to chance it this year.
The cities along the Rhine celebrate carnival ("Fasching," "Fastnacht," or "Karnavel") in a big way. The top three cities are Cologne, Dusseldorf and Mainz. Each have their own traditions, but a lot of it has to do with the number 11 and the final celebration in Mainz starts Thursday before Lent and has it climax on Monday, the so-called Rosenmontag, or Rose Monday. Rosenmontag is the day of the big parade - approximately 4 hours. It is peppered with clubs who play music and dance, political themed floats and many silly people in even siller costumes. Center stage throughout the festivies is of course food and drink - hence the crazy loudness as the day wears on, and since we live right smack dab in the middle of the madness, we've fled.
We had a great opportunity to get out of town this year. This is my cousin Kim's first carnival in Germany and she wanted to experience it first hand. So we swapped domiciles for the weekend! We left on Saturday morning and got here in time to stop at the local supermarkt to stock up and let Blaise unwind a bit from the drive before bed. He isn't the happiest camper sitting in the even for a 5 minute drive, but we packed a ton of toys and he had fun pulling things out of my bag. It is about a 3 1/2 drive and we actually made really good time. We'll head back home on Tuesday once the major craziness is only a memory and the bouquet of alcohol and urine begin to subside, until then we are enjoying snow covered pine trees and The Best of Friends and Walk the Line in dolby surround sound!