Though I hate to quote such a loathsome pop reference, Oops, I did it again. While no one was looking, I slipped away out the backdoor, spent a long weekend overseas in Germany, and quietly let myself back in. Talk about a whirlwind trip; there wasn’t even enough time to adjust to the time difference, or get a full night of sleep for that matter. Swept up in the spirit of the winter carnival, none of that mattered for long. It’s impossible not to drink in that energy and share the excitement of the crowd. It’s an annual custom that needs no translation, or complete understanding either. The most inexplicable parts are the best, such as the odd mish-mash of costume themes, the throwing of not only candy off of parade floats but also mini bottles of alcohol, or the exact meaning of “helau!” All that matters is that you yell it at the top of your lungs, again and again, to loved ones and strangers alike. After an hour or two in the freezing cold, feet turned into unfeeling blocks of ice, it simply starts to sound a whole lot like “hurrah!”

I’m sure Mardi Gras in New Orleans was wild and wonderful, but the Germans sure do know how to party, too.

While I struggle to acclimate to daily life at home once more, I will continue uploading photos and anecdotes on Flickr. It wasn’t the same sort of food-focused trip that Hawaii was, but there were  plenty of other fascinating subjects to train my lens on instead.

21 thoughts on “Helau!

  1. You are turning into a jetsetter Hannah :). I agree with Averie, except for the growing up bit…a bit late for that! ;). I am so envious of you guys in the North, just a hop-step and fly to all different kinds of places and Europe is just a short flight away. EVERYWHERE is a long way away from us here in Australia and we need to mortgage our houses for a visit to Europe. Very interesting photos and I thought they looked like Vegan Mardis Gras! Glad you had a great time and got away for a weekend :)

  2. Holy pretzel, I need that in my life! :) I love love love that you’re able to sneak in *weekends in Germany*–now that is a talent I need.

    1. This trip it was just Wiesbaden and Mainz, but I’ve traveled around the nearby areas before, too… Sadly, I still haven’t been able to visit Berlin yet! That’s next on my hit list, for sure.

  3. Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos. You had me at the first one, but then I read “Germany” and I had to check out the whole post. I’m learning German, and keen to expand my vocabulary & cultural knowledge. Thanks for sharing!

    1. What a funny coincidence! Maybe you should chat with my sister- She’s staying there for a few months and trying to learn German as well. I sure wish I could join you since I love languages, but I’m afraid I just don’t have enough brain space for it at the moment… Being so busy is a good problem though!

  4. Those photos really convey the spirit of carnival! You must have been to Düsseldorf or Mainz..
    Because in Cologne and in the region around Cologne where I live, people shout “Alaaf!”. I go in those carnival processions since I was a small child, and everytime after spending hours in a costume outside (this year it was Luke Skywalker) and throwing sweets at small children and tissues at the elderly, I desperately wish carnival wasn’t in february!
    Best wishes :)

    1. Definitely sounds like you know the drill alright- We did indeed spend most of the time in Mainz. :)
      I agree 100% that the timing is less than ideal though. By the time we got home each day, I couldn’t feel my frozen feet at all!
      Hope you had a wonderful celebration!

      1. Yes, I had a great celebration, but not as excessive as my classmates. I’d rather enjoy watching Star Wars than drowning pre-final-exam stress in german beer :D.
        I hope you had a fun weekend, too!

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