Seefeld is abuzz this morning. Today is Blumencorso, the annual Seefeld flower parade. An international audience has arrived to see the spectacular floats driving through the center of the town. Oh the colorful pageantry, the glamor, the excitement. It is hard to sit calmly in our chalet long enough to bolt down a hurried breakfast.
The Blumencorso combines two things that I normally loathe intensely: swarms of people and parades. Nevertheless, in the spirit of camaraderie and good-fellowness, I put on my party face and brace myself for a day of revelry.
Our first sortie into town happens in the late morning. Already the local burghers, decked out in Tyrolean garb and lederhosen, are manning barriers at the main entrances to the town, and charging five euros each for the privilege of entry. We pay the graft and make our way down the already crowded street. Bands are setting up at strategic locations, and one fellow is already accompanying his yodeling on a cheap keyboard.
The parade will not begin until the afternoon, so we return home for lunch. After a short rest, we plunge back down into the seriously teeming streets of Seefeld. The bands are playing, rotund people who should know better are waltzing in the streets, festivity flourishes. The parade is scheduled to start at 2:00, so we take up a strategic position and hunker down for the duration of the ordeal.
There is more to watching the parade than simply admiring the floats. One of the perks of admission is the opportunity to vote for our favorite float. I'm told that the Hotel Klosterbrau has won the competition seven times in the past ten years, but it is a new year and every entrant has a chance.
Blumencorso opens with a twirl of majorettes and the blat of horns: the first entry is an Austrian marching band, decked out in Tyrolean costumes. After the band, the floats process. I am standing out in the hot sun, snapping photos of the entrants, trying to get a clear shot as all the happy snappers keep jumping into my frame with their camera phones. Probably some of the clock tower paparazzi are here on a day trip from Munich.
So where was I? Oh yes, the floats. The early floats are small Austrian cars with small flower bouquets stapled on their hoods. This is followed by the fire department: large red trucks each bedecked with a obligatory flower. One of the trucks aims a geyser of water at the crowd, eliciting some grumbling from me as I duck and cover over my camera and lens.
Next in line: a long procession of farm tractors (the crowd ooohs and aaaaahs). What could top that, I wonder? Chickens? Cows with blossoms woven into their tails?
In fact, after the tractors, what traditionalists might call "the proper floats" began to roll past. Made of flowers, each of these floats had been constructed on top of a car. Somewhat out of place among these floral displays was float number 51, sponsored by the local health club. Two strapping lads were pulling on long ropes, dragging a car behind them (fortunately downtown Seefeld is fairly flat). Draped across the rear of the car, like long-stemmed flowers, were two young ladies wearing the tiniest string bikinis I have ever seen. The float, called “Body and Soul,” was a crowd pleaser. The paparazzi went wild.
After the Body and Soul float, the parade became a touch anticlimactic, but there were still more than 40 floats to see. My next favorite float was the pair of London double-decker buses. They were so small that at first I thought that someone was controlling them by remote control, but on closer inspection, I found that there was a man in each of them driving. Incredible.
All good things must eventually draw to a close, and the same applies to parades. The mammoth Hotel Klosterbrau hotel float came rolling past, and I suspect it will win again this year (but not with my vote: I cast my ballot for the buses). Sun-stroked and sweat-stained, we legged it back up the hill for a rest, leaving the dancing to the hardier Austrians.
In the (almost) cool of the evening we went for a long stroll around the local lake, the Wildsee. The girls thought this was their easy day, but by the close of business we had logged 4.6 miles. We came back up the hill and had dinner in the pizzeria we tried the first night. A lovely evening with the setting sun gilding the face of Harmelekopf, the great mountain to the east of us. We watched the shadows ascend the mountain until it went all gray, then downed our schnapps and trundled home to bed.