A couple of weeks (months?) ago I read, on the front page of our local paper, that the Schäferbier was brewed, bottled & ready for the Schäferlauf. Now, Schäfer = sheep. Bier is obvious & lauf = walk. I quickly deduced that the sheep beer was ready for the sheep walk, but what was a sheep walk? And why was this beer special?
I spent the next hour reading the full article, coming away none the wiser. My German comprehension is not quite at newspaper-level. Not even local paper-level. So I asked around, and my best understanding was that this village has sheep, once a year they march them down the street, and then they celebrate said-marching with a special once-a-year beer. I was hooked, and I marked it on my calendar.
When my cousin called and wanted to visit, right on Schäferlauf weekend, I panicked briefly. My cousin is 7 months pregnant, Schäferbier cannot be too high on her list of things to try. Thankfully she also has a 1-year-old daughter. Sheep rank very high on her list of things to try. It took five minutes to decide on her trip, and then three weeks of waiting for them to get here.
Waiting for something fun to happen always takes soooooooooooo long, but now last weekend is already over and my cousin, aunt and the baby are back in Holland. I miss them. We had a fabulous weekend filled with hysterical laughing, sharing memories, a little beer and zero sheep.
That’s right. Schäferlauf weekend was without sheep. It was not a lack of trying on our part, we drove out to Wildberg not once, but twice! Wildberg is gorgeous. Nestle in a lush, green valley on the Nagold river in the middle of the Schwarzwald, Wildberg is filled with charm, fachwerk houses, a stunning kloster, friendly people… but no sheep.
We saw cows, horses, donkeys, all kinds of birds, ducks, deer, camels, zebra’s (baby zebra!) but no sheep. In the end, the invisible sheep really didn’t matter. Now all my aunt or cousin has to say is “Schaap!” (Dutch for sheep) and we are all doubled over in laughter.
Only I cannot find sheep at a sheep festival.