This travel guide was prepared by: Helmut Ebert, international trading company
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Thuringia, Germany Tourism, Travel Guide
Father´s day celebration in Thuringia, Germany
Father's day in Germany is always celebrated on a Thursday which is a Christian holiday, called Ascension of Christ.
It is along time tradition that fathers go hiking or travel on tractor or horse drawn wagons to picnic places or pubs with food and naturally lots of things to drink.
At least in Thuringia the name of this none Christian part of this holiday has been changed to "Männertag" which means men's day. This is obviously the reason that nobody could be excluded any longer from these festivities.
Men formed still the majority of the celebrating people, but we also met many women and even complete families who enjoyed a day outdoors.
We could not see anybody drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. That was different in Bavaria!
One of the countless parties - here at a fish farm at Trostadt
Many companies made it a policy to be closed on the following Friday. The employees had to work in the respective hours and gained a super long weekend as a trade in. Despite the cold and rainy weather many people used these days for mini vacations. We saw many bikers from other areas in heavy rain gear.
A bracelet with tiny little schnapps bottles may help to keep the cold away. The other man is equipped for "Nordic Walking" which is very popular in Europe. Special walking sticks are used for this special discipline of walking which should burn more fat because you also must use your arms.
Apple cider mixed with sparkling mineral water, (called "Schorle") was also a very popular drink.
A little be lost
We had been invited to join the "Männertag" (men's day) celebration in the Hildburghausen Region of Thuringia.
It was a different experience to those which I enjoyed in other states of Germany. Certainly one of the reasons is that the laws against drunk driving have been dramatically enforced and that people became much more health cautious and learned that you can have a good time without lots of booth.
We had heavy rain when the family with the scooters and the funny bikes arrived. So we could not ask for a demonstration.
The main attraction was barbecued fish. I am not a big fish eater, but everybody told me how delicious it was. Gas grills are still not popular, because everything tastes better when it is prepared over glowing charcoal and it is very relaxing to do it in the old fashioned way.
The Thuringian Forest is a paradise for hikers.
After visiting the fish farm we drove to Reuried a little village very close by. We parked in the village.
Immediately we saw the smoke from the barbecue coming out of the forest.
After a short walk we reached an area which had been cleared of trees and which was obviously always used for celebrating local events.
It was almost continuously raining on this day. But this did not damp the spirit of all the fun loving people.
After or before a walk - or even without walking like us - everybody enjoyed the offered food and all kind of drinks. A local association set up a tent and offered the famous "Thuringian Bratwurst", barbecued over a charcoal fired grill, delicious home baked goods, hot coffee, molded red wine, lemonade, mineral water and naturally beer and schnapps.
Party in the woods
All the work was done by volunteers to collect money for good purposes.
Unfortunately the rain came with low temperatures and the open fire was appreciated by everybody. Especially by Elizabeth, my wife. She regularly came and watched the kids who had fun with so called "bread sticks" which they got for free. At the end of a wooden stick bread dough was attached. The children held this into the fire and eat the home baked bread. However, very often the bread was burnt black and inedible.
Despite the rain boys and girls had obviously lots of fun playing in the outdoors without screaming, yelling and fighting. As you can see also no garbage was littered on the ground - the place was kept very clean.
According to my experience recycling became almost a cult in Germany.
Elizabeth was always feeling cold and the fire was one of her favorite places after she had enjoyed different home baked goods like cheese cake and good strong coffee.
\We were sitting close to this laughing lady and her husband who is shown returning with a "Thuringian Bratwurst".
Please try this specialty which you can buy almost everywhere.
I like them much better than the hot dogs in Canada because they always tasted good which did not apply to our Canadian speciality.
Later we had been invited to their home which they had built completely by their own during the communist system.
Starting with cutting trees for the wood and transporting stones with cow drawn wagons. No machinery had been used at all.
To receive the required permissions to purchase certain needed material some of their farm products had to be given in exchange.
The GDR had the highest living standard in the former communist system and when you talk to the older people you understand why - they worked hard and were inventive to make their live as good as possible.
Health care and child care were excellent and normally both partners worked. Unemployment was unknown, but I met nobody who wants the bad things of the communist regime back.
It was nice to share fun with the friendly people of Thuringia. Don't hesitate to participate also in little events like the "Männertag".
Please be prepared that few people speak an English - Russian was the second official language in the former GDR.
The people were extremely friendly to us, but when you send an e-mail to a tourist office or a business - even in German what I did - you may not always receive an answer. I am trying to educate people but without a powerful organization backing me up the success rate will be not be too great. The same happens also in Canada.
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