Monday, March 18, 2013

Verkaufsoffener Sonntage in Kaiserslautern: biker kitties, marching bands, oh my!

This past Sunday was Kaiserslautern's Sunday shopping day, Verkaufsoffener Sonntage. It's a special event because stores usually aren't open on Sundays. The previous trip to Otterberg for their special Sunday shopping day was cute for how small and community-minded it was. Kaiserslautern's shopping day was like a big party; it was raucous and fun!

I met some friends in town in the middle of a cacophony of marching bands, seated bands, and even singers among the main shopping blocks. There was even a giant Easter bunny running around, handing out balloons. E and I wanted a picture with him, because why not, but he was hopping along so fast that we couldn't catch him (Alice in Wonderland feeling, perhaps?). Then we realized we probably looked a bit silly as grown women chasing down the Easter bunny so we let it be.

As we were walking along, we were drawn into a circle of listeners for a marching band. I loved the band's outfits; the musicians looked like a cross between the Muppets, Hello Kitty, and bikers. It was hilarious; they were wearing Muppet-like fur in hot pink and fluorescent green and some of them had frog eyes on. I do love street marching bands so we hung out for a while and enjoyed their festive music.

Hello Kitty and the Bad Frogs were the band. I prefer to call them Muppets Meet Hello Kitty and Kermit, but whatevs.

Very Muppet-like costuming, but with a touch of leather.

Then we ran across a bread cart. German bakeries have some very awesome bread products and often the street bread carts are just as good too. This bread cart was crazy; it had chocolate-covered pretzels (which didn't appeal to me, but I've only started to enjoy chocolate) in addition to regular pretzels, rolls, etc. E bought a roll and we even had a picture with the bread vendor. He was very sweet about it, playing along and letting us pretend that we were the bread sellers. I whispered to E afterward that he probably thought that we were tourists. On thinking about it more, I told her that I guess we kind of are tourists, though I personally have no set "expiration" date for living here.

We visited some stores and tried to dodge the developing rain showers, while enjoying some more marching band music from another band. I pondered the idea of there possibly being a war among the bands, with the music version of a dance off "war." Since we were tuckered out from shopping and bopping to music, we said adieu. On my way home, I was totally chuffed to see that the crazy frog/kitties band had joined up with another band and they were parading together. There was peace between the bands and it was a festive, but wet day.

 This is the band that united later with the other one. They're marching through an older, small part of town that survived the bombing; on the left is the town's only remaining half-timbered building which houses Spinnrädl (the Spinning Wheel), which serves yummy Pfälzisch regional food and is reasonably priced for being a nicer place.

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