As anyone who has experienced the recent European heatwave can attest, summer 2019 is unequivocally here!
Every year, at around the beginning of June, my wonderful new home town of Ettlingen comes together for Alb in Flammen – a two-night festival, more than fifteen years in the making, featuring food, fun and flames along our stretch of the River Alb – to see the summer in. As I had arrived, literally, a week before the 2017 incarnation, this year’s event was actually the third year I attended… and what a weekend it was!
Usually, the river is lit up, either by bright lights or, as the name suggests, flames. This year, however, we had to forego that aspect of the event. I was told later on that a flock of dippers had chosen our river as their breeding grounds this summer, and such illumination would have caused them unnecessary stress and disruption. This alteration did nothing to affect everyone’s enjoyment, though!
After a short stroll along the Albstrasse to Ó Neill’s Irish Pub for a cool, refreshing beer perched on the wall outside (a highly recommended summer experience anyway, regardless of the occasion), I made my way across the town hall bridge to the main market square to be greeted by the ever increasing crowd. The live music performed by the band on stage was enough to get your toes tapping and the tempting aroma of typical German street food was in the air. There were beer trucks from the Vogelbräu, a local microbrewery (you have to go there, too!), and other providers of hoppy malt beverages dotted around to keep us all watered and the good vibes rolling.
Heading towards the castle, away from the festivities, and into Leopoldstrasse allowed me to find my way back to the river without having to fight my way back through the crowd. I happened upon a friend and his wife at the second stage, which had been erected near St Martin’s church – a band called PirmJam were performing that night, and their covers of classic rock, country and pop songs were excellent. The Vogelbräu had a beer truck set up here, too, and were selling their unique unfiltered Pilsener at a reasonable price. A fantastic evening was had by all!
The second night promised to be as good as the first. The crowds gathered again, the music rocked, the drinks flowed and the mood was high! The firework display at the end was the perfect way to round everything off – I hope these photos, caught on a smartphone camera, do it justice!
The Alb in Flammen will forever remain a highlight of my year for as long as I live in Ettlingen. Hugely recommended! Who knows? Maybe I’ll see you here in 2020…