Friday I showed up in Germany to visit with my square dance partner and go to a dance weekend at the “western city” in the Harz mountains. He had some things to take care of in the afternoon, so I spent a while visiting with a cat who comes and begs for food at his door, and getting my things sorted out, laundry done, etc.
In the evening we drove to the Harz mountains and the next morning we went to Pullman City, which is something like a historical reenactment town, except without the real historians, or like a permanent faire like Sterling Ren Faire. The concept of a cowboy town in the German mountains just strikes me as a really weird, but evidently Germans think country music, cowboys, and indians are really cool. They dress up as indians the same way Americans dress up as nobles from the middle ages. And thus, as Germans like to remind me, Germans have better square dancing than Americans.
The caller was good, but called at a slightly breakneck speed that was tiring. Almost every tip got at least three squares, and at one point we got five, which was a bit cramped but good. There were a lot of people there from the Leipzig area, so most tips I danced entirely with people I met last year. I had lunch with a family from there whose daughter is about my age and is studying to be a translator. It was insightful to listen to the family’s conversation. In the afternoon there was a horseback performance with some information about the history of the American West and the Civil War and so on, complete with a Canadian country singer.
Saturday evening there was a party in the dining room of the hotel, and evidently Germans like to spend hours at the dinner table together. It was a little difficult for me because most of the conversation went over my head, either because of dialect or because the subject was familiar to everyone except me. Eventually it went on so long that I had to excuse myself for the evening, but I gather that the talking went on until midnight or later. Eventually Saskia and Norman (the two Leipzig dancers my age) and I went out for a tramp through the damp fields under the stars, which was fun. It was dark enough to see the milky way, but none of us could remember more than two or three constellations to look for. Finally we found our way back to the hotel and we watched an episode of Firefly, which kind of went with the cowboy theme.
Sunday morning I woke up early and took some photos, because the light was absolutely beautiful. Breakfast was delicious, thanks to warm fresh rolls with a really good crunchy crust. More dancing until lunchtime, when we all watched Norman successfully build a 13-story card house during the break. Have I mentioned that I really like having a professional flash unit? In the evening we drove back to the Rhein valley and Monday morning I took the train to Cologne to move in and meet my new flatmates.