Saturday, July 23, 2016

The 2016 Afrika Fest in Tübingen...

Somehow, I managed to get wind of the Afrika Fest in Tübingen this year.  I think I read about it on Facebook.  Having done last year's Afrika Fest in Stuttgart, I didn't have especially high hopes.  But, in all honesty, Bill and I really enjoyed ourselves at the larger festival in Tübingen.  We had a blast.  In fact, it was so much fun that, as we were winding down our visit, I was actually talking about joining the Peace Corps for a second tour.  My time in the Peace Corps changed my life, but I didn't leave it thinking I'd want to do it again.  If I go through an experience making me consider a second go at life in an exotic place, you know it must have been something special.

We decided to go to the festival this morning after determining that there wouldn't be too much rain.  Although we usually drive to Tübingen, today we decided to take the train from Herrenberg.  When we lived in Germany the first time, we got pretty familiar with the Ammertalbahn, though now that we live closer to Herrenberg, we don't use it.  Bill wanted to be able to drink more.  As it turned out, driving would have been better.  The Afrika Fest is being held at the Festplatz, which has plenty of easy parking.

As it was, we spent five euros apiece each way to ride the train to Tübingen, then walked at least a mile from the train station.  That wasn't a huge deal, except we weren't quite sure where we were going, so it was more nervewracking than it might have been otherwise.  It cost six euros per adult for admission; we got our hands stamped.  Had we wanted to visit all four days of the fest, we could have gotten a slight break by buying a four day ticket.

The Afrika Fest in Tübingen was offering a lot and was well worth the price of admission.  Bill and I ended up having a blast.  There was plenty of seating.  We never had any worries about having a rest when we wanted it.  There was plenty of good African food; although the focus was on Burundi, lots of different countries were represented, including an Ethiopian restaurant in Tübingen that Bill and I had been wanting to try.  There was also Senegalese food and Ghanian food, plus plenty of clothing, art, and food dealers.  We came home with a pound of coffee beans from Burundi and mango coconut candy, as well as several CDs from African musicians.

Speaking of music, that was probably my favorite part about today.  There were DJs playing some great music, but as far as I'm concerned, the African drummers who performed this afternoon stole the show.  I got some raw footage that I hope to turn into a YouTube video very soon.  They were awesome!  People were really getting into it!  But then a DJ rudely cut in with some rather funny but inferior performances.  Bill and I were joined at our table by a couple of young ladies who pretty much confirmed our impressions.  Anyway... here are some photos from today.  Stay tuned for a video that will probably show up tomorrow.  ETA:  Here's the video!



Note the tip bowl on the lady's head!  These folks were awesome and I did get some footage that I'll need to put into a video when I'm sober.




Originally, Bill thought the fest was taking place in that building...


The sign...  You can still visit tomorrow if you want to.


Lots of tents with lots of vendors.


Obligatory shot of Bill.


Awesome drummers.  A couple of these guys later spent some time totally entertaining the crowd until they were rudely usurped.


I have read great things about this restaurant in Tübingen, which was catering at the Afrika Fest today.  We decided to eat lunch there...


Lovely South African red wine.


Chicken with injeera, carrots, eggplant, and zucchini all cooked together...


Bill's version was prepared with beef.  It was delicious.  8 euros per person and more than either of us could eat.


German collaboration with Burundi.


Coffee from Burundi.  We bought some after tasting it in another tent, where we got to chat with a couple of very nice German ladies.


Nigerian beer.  It was somewhat better than I expected and very refreshing.


Lots of flyers.


And some angelic childlike fliers...  These girls were a joy to watch.  They were obviously very good friends and were doing cartwheels in tandem, as if they were performing.  And they were also cooperating with the hardworking German D.J. who was trying to pump everyone up.


This guy was very funny...  we bought his CDs.



Bill obviously having fun.






This guy was also pretty awesome.  He was on the stage rapping, dancing, and motivating the crowd. More people seemed into his music than the guy before him.



After a couple of beers and several hours, we headed back for the train station.  We passed this place and I couldn't resist taking a picture, despite the threatening dog.


Once we got to the train station, we decided to eat there.  We both had schnitzels which came with the above salad.


The main course... way too much to eat.


And a very animated stag party going on in second class on the way to Stuttgart.



Weird action shot...


Yeah... the video will do it better justice.  The drummers were the highlight of the day, as far as I'm concerned.  Anytime I start talking about rejoining the Peace Corps, you know I was moved...

We really had a great time at the Afrika Fest in Tübingen.  I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in visiting tomorrow.  There's lots of parking, good food, good music, and stuff for kids, including games and a bouncy house.  Also, the toilets are clean and not heavily guarded by a Klofrau.  In all seriousness, if we get bored tomorrow, we may even go back for more.  It runs tomorrow night until 8:00pm and tonight until 11:00pm.  

If we're here next year when they do the Afrika Fest in Tübingen, we'll definitely be back.  It was probably one of the best fests I've ever been to.  What I liked about this fest was the emphasis on peace and the fact that everyone there was there to have fun and let their hair down.  The vibe was different than it was in Esslingen a couple of weeks ago... much less formal and more people just enjoying music, food, dancing, and drinking...  I liked that one of the DJs specifically addressed terrorism and how it had no place at the fest.  We were all there to have a good time.  It was a real win.  

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