Instead of staying in Weil and taking in the kick-off to Euro 2008, I chose to head up to Walldorf near Heidelberg to stay with friends John and Bérénice and enjoy the town's annual asparagus festival. I know, it doesn't exactly sound like rip-roaring fun, but believe me, it was..
First, though, we drove to the village of Rotenberg (near the town of Rauenberg) to watch friend Paul and his band, The Peejays, play a gig at the "Internationales Hoffest", which - as the German name suggests - took place in a courtyard. Since it featured Paul, who hails from Swansea, I suppose the event could rightfully claim to call itself "international". It was the first time I'd seen or heard any of their music, but I must say I was impressed. After a short trip to a local supermarket to purchase a bottle of local wine from Wiesloch, Walldorf's neighbouring wine-growing village, we returned to John and Bérénice's flat, where we settled down to watch the opening match of Euro 2008, with Switzerland of course losing 0-1.
Afterwards, we went out to the fest. Apart from my hosts, I was also accompanied by Kathryn, Perry, Rob, Melanie and her friend Daniela.
Being a rich town - thanks to tax revenues from IT giant SAP - Walldorf's councillors are in the enviable position of being to able to throw money around on expensive infrastructure-related projects and other stuff like artistic blue lights in the paving stones of the pedestrian area and meaningless fountains and slabs of stone masquerading as art. Our Oberbürgermeister Dietz could only dream of having such a large cheque book to play with.
Anyway, true to form, the Spargelmarkt is pretty impressive - with excellent seating arrangements under numerous giant parasols in front of a large stage where... wait for it... "Phil", the dedicated Phil Collins and Genesis cover band enthralled the masses with a set that ranged from Sussudio to Jesus, He Knows Me.
Gig in Rotenberg