Since the moment I met my husband, on a hot sticky summer's day at Twickenham Rugby 7s, five years ago, he has always been posted in Paderborn, Germany with the British Army. The reason I start this week's blog with such a personal fact is that in those five years that we have been going out, I have never made it to Paderborn's famed Libori Festival. That is similar to your significant other living in Pamplona and never making the running of the bulls, or your loved one living in Rio and never going to its Carnival. But I am pleased to say that this year, I popped my Libori Festival cherry, and actually made it.
And I'm so unbelievably glad I could. My first foray to Libori was actually thwarted by an unseasonally cold and viscious storm. The opening of the event was cancelled for the first time in at least twenty years, and I began to wonder whether I would ever make it to the famed festival. Looking back now, I realise what a minor worry this really should have been for me. I live all of a ten minute walk from the ring road on which it is held and had not done a grocery shop the week of the party, and so my husband and I ate amazing German street food all week. I can heartily recommend the (Paleo) garlic infused pork steaks and sauerkraut, as well as the 'meat stick place' (as named by the husband). But there are also Bratwurst for sale, more crepe stalls than you can shake a stick at, and a million and one other food shacks to load up at. And this is just one of the ways that the Germans know how to ensure a great street party. There are the fairground rides that, though they may not be on a Thorpe Park or Chessington level, are miles better than any fun fair I have ever been to. I was a big fan of the long flume.
But let's be honest, the German beer and its subsequent beer gardens are perhaps one of the festival's greatest attractions. I lost my husband to the Almhutte bar one evening (it was a Tuesday night, crowds of people were dancing on tables and shouting Paderborn themed pop songs at the top of their voices). This Bavarian themed wooden chalet was always packed, whatever the time of day or night. There is also the Libori lounge with live music. This is situated on a street of the town that is often empty, yet for the last week of July it is difficult to get past even five steps. And then there is Auffenbergs. A little piece of beer swilling, raucous heaven. The husband and I were hosted there by Herr and Herren D, and, to put how busy this place becomes into perspective, Herr D tells me that its owner works but five weeks of the year as his Auffenberg bar is so popular. It is on the main strip, with the entrance in between some of the food stands, and oddly quite easy to walk by given the noise that the crowds on the inside make. It has a foam machine that creates 'snow' and every night a man gets up on the roof and sings a song about an 'Eis Bear' in a very apt Polar Bear suit. My evenings there were great fun, soaking up the excitement that was emanating off the locals.
Due to the crowds, and the beer if I'm being honest, I only managed to take a few photos of the festival, despite going in for five out of the eight nights it is on. But I am really pleased with the aerial shots that I managed to take courtesy of the Big Wheel. (I only remembered on going up that I am actually not the biggest lover of heights). They make for great momentos of Paderborn for any serving families here who are due to leave, or any locals who love their hometown. The food shots are self indulgent from a food obsessed travel blogger! I hope you enjoy them! I know I had a blast taking them. Until next year Libori.
PS Sorry for the token shot of the husband. I just want to check he actually reads this.