Fortunately, we had advance notice.
Otherwise, we would have been shocked when we arrived this morning at Hamburg's main train station and witnessed thousands of people milling about in flourescent wigs and brightly patterned clothing from the 60's and 70's.
It's called Schlager Move, and it's an annual celebration of the cheesy music that was so popular in Europe in the 70's. According to newspaper accounts, more than 300,000 people showed up in an area of the downtown near the harbour for this year's parade and festival. We only caught the tail end since we decided to spend the day elsewhere, but an hour or so milling about on our return to the city was enough to get a sense of what was happening.
It was very bizarre...while I could expect young men and women dressed up in brightly coloured costumes, it was much more difficult to accept what appeared to be very respectable German businessmen and business ladies wearing these ridiculous outfits.
I don't know how to put this delicately, but this was a very different image of the German people than that which I grew up with, as my dad and other relatives told stories around the dining room table. And these were certainly not the people we saw watching Second World War movies.
But people were singing and dancing and drinking and having a wonderful, wonderful time. The one thing they weren't doing, despite their outfits, was smoking dope. We didn't smell any...although we did see a lot of very drunk people.
But they sure can be
fun-loving too. It's called Schlager Move. Here's a very long and
somewhat boring video from last year's event. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9jpV5l7mPk But it will give you a better idea of what happens at the end of June on the streets of Hamburg.