27 August 2008

Der Bayern-Markt

First impressions of the Bayern-Markt on Orleansplatz were not good - a line of stalls selling cheap socks, cheap wallets, cheap watches, cheap kitchen utensils and much else straight out of cartons saying Made in China. The Bayern connection was less than obvious. As it turned out the line of stalls were serving a valuable purpose by shielding the good part of the Bayern-Markt from passing traffic and creating a little island of well-being in the middle of the city.

Here, the stalls were much more interesting: garlands of hops for the beer drinker, rolls of cheese nicely warmed in the sun and sending their fragrance across the square, Franconian wines and other drinks of unknown provenance, schnapps in every variety and flavour imaginable, including some served inside a plastic weisswurst.

Naturally eating and drinking played a large part as ever, with the usual chickens, wursts, pretzels and fish on a stick. Since the event was co-sponsored by Andechs we were also able to enjoy some of the the monastery's fine beer.

There was also a small stage. Unfortunately, we were too late for the lunchtime performance but too early for the evening one. Instead we were treated to some enthusiastic, if not entirely melodic, songs and tunes by a small band sitting among the drinkers. When they weren't singing they played a series of Bavarian 'swaying tunes' between chugs of beer.

I'm not sure if 'swaying tunes' is the culturally appropriate expression, but it is an accurate description. You find yourself unwittingly swaying from side to stay, imperceptibly at first, then with growing enthusiasm. It works best with a beer glass in hand on a bench with other 'swayers' - providing no-one starts 'counter-swaying'.

If you are in town the Bayern-Markt is on every day from 10 in the morning to 10 in the evening until 7 September at Orleansplatz.

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