The birthday celebrations continued at a wine festival this weekend. 

I came home Friday night from the hippy party and James announced that our original plans had changed and we were now going to spend Saturday at the wine fest in Bad-Durkheim. 

This specific festival is put on for two weekends every September and is known for being the biggest in the country. It was my first festival and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything so I did some research Saturday before we left.

The festival goes back almost 600 years and started out as a meeting place for the local wine makers and farmers. Starting from the year 1155, pilgrims came  to the small chapel on the mountain St. Michaelsberg where they would buy a letter of indulgence, which they believed would free them from their sins. Then they would buy wine and and other things from the farmers, who were taking advantage of a good opportunity. In 1832 they officially gave it the name “Wurstmarkt”. The reason that it is referred to as a “Wurstmarkt” or “sausage market” is because besides having wine tents everywhere, there are also food stands, known for their sausage and other meat skewers. I also found it interesting that the only time they didn’t have sausage was after the Second World War, and its focus changed to fish for a couple of years. 

One of the many food vendors. They sold nuts and this place smelled like sugar!

It now attracts several hundred thousand visitors over the two weekends and this past Saturday was no exception to the rule. I have never seen so many people in my life!

The only picture we got together all night!
Everyone happy and celebrating!
It was so busy!
A good view of the goings on.
It started out to be an adventure because I had never used the train system until this weekend and depending on five guys with alcohol in their system to get you around was quite interesting. We got there with only one missed train and one lost friend so I would say it went pretty smoothly.

Looking out the window of the train.
There were vineyards as far as I could see and they went on for miles!

We reunited at the fest and looked around all the tents and rides. We grabbed some food and went through a haunted house. There was so much to do and so many people! We all ended up getting separated several times and I missed out on watching James dance on tables and a stage apparently, but we all met up again and I got to hear stories! 
James telling us stories of his adventure on stage
Similar to the type of tent in which he got on stage and danced
The boys and their sausage
the “haunted” house ride we went on (don’t waste your $)
Delicious food that I scarfed down all night
This was James’s favorite ride. I opted to skip it so I could practice my panning skills.
There I am in the center!
This is the last ride the guys all went on before we left.
My favorite part was riding the ferris wheel. I am such a sucker for this big metal machine and all of its sparkling lights. I took about a million pictures of it as well as on it and couldn’t have been happier about it. 

Here you can see all of the tents.
I really liked the balloons..I probably could have used some fill flash though.
I couldn’t get enough of this hunk of metal
I was lucky the moon was right there.
So lucky in fact, that I decided to take another.
The baskets are so cute!
the ferris wheel had a mirror on the ceiling.
Look at that crowd!
Oh hey! there I am again.
LAST ONE, I promise!

The other thing I really enjoyed was taking pictures of strangers. Because we kept getting separated by people, we did a lot of standing and waiting. I took this as an opportunity to snag some candid photos of random people enjoying (or not enjoying) themselves.
See what I mean about some people not having a good time?
I just thought this family was so cute!
He was such a hipster cutie!
I tried to tell myself that taking pictures of children I don’t know isn’t creepy
I love his face!
The end of the night was crazy. We ended up all finding each other (even the lost friend who decided to pass out by the entrance in hopes that we would see him when we left). James was feeling pretty good after his two bottles of wine and by good I mean bad, very, very bad. He wasn’t the only one either. 

In line for a ride
Some of the guys with a random man in a wig
James’s buddy waiting for us at the gate

There are trains that usually run between Bad-Durkheim and Kaiserslautern but for some reason they decided that this month would be a good time to work on a specific track that is needed for this trip. So we had to get out of the train and then were expected to wait for a bus. There were probably about a thousand other Americans who were in the same position as we were and things got rather crazy. 

James ready to be a bum for the night if need be.

I was so tired and so badly wanted to sleep but I wasn’t all for the idea of being a bum and sleeping in the street. We finally got on a bus and then sat there for ANOTHER thirty minutes because it was too packed and everyone refused to get off. So the polizei had to come forcibly take people off of the bus. James doesn’t remember any of this….

waiting for the bus at 3am
We made it home around 4am. It was such a good day but we paid for it all day on Saturday. We were so exhausted and I was so sore from carrying around my bag of camera gear (and all of the boy’s random shit that was somehow my problem). I had a great time but I hope that if we go again next year it is planned out a little better…and I will definitely be more focused on eating everything in sight instead of the drinking. 

I am also going to keep this in mind if we somehow make it to Oktoberfest this coming weekend. I know my limits and I know I would much rather spend the money on food anyways….not to mention things could get dangerous for my precious camera. 
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