The excitement truly was in the air days before the Stapler Cup (the link is all in German, but if you open in Google Chrome, you can easily translate it), aka “fork lift festival” actually opened for the public. A whole week before the festivities, they were laying the groundwork, in fact. Right in the middle of the town square, they laid huge sheets of plastic down and poured asphalt down (probably 6 or 8 inches thick, even) in a circle. Several days before, there were band performances, and Mike even got a sneak-peak ride in a shipping container! Signs up, tents set, streets blocked… Aschaffenburg was ready to party!
I’ve got to admit, when I first heard that there was a big fork lift festival in town, I figured I had to go in order to re-connect with my roots. I knew that this wouldn’t compare to the good old days at the Fayette County Fair (and those were some good times, don’t get me wrong), but I figured it might at least give me a taste of a fall fair. I was SERIOUSLY underestimating the fork lift festival.
It is actually a pretty intense competition of fork truck drivers (and I didn’t even know that there were any such things), and its a series of events that have been going on all year featuring the best drivers IN THE WORLD! I mean, seriously, people from India, China, all over Europe, etc. (although I have yet to see mention of an American or an American team in the competition) compete in individual and team events in preliminary, regional, national, and international events to become the fork truck driving champion (of the world!). The whole idea of the Stapler Cup was started to promote safety throughout the industry, which is a nice idea that has been translated into a whole community affair! Nice!
We watched were amazed.
And then we went to eat. And were amazed again! Germans are so serious about minimizing their waste that at a huge outdoor festival, I ate my spätzle off of a porcelain platter, which I then returned for the 1 Euro deposit I paid upfront. The same was true of the beer and water bottles. I saw it with my own two eyes and can still scarcely believe it. When we got our dishes/bottles, we were also given a little white chip which we returned with the item’s container we purchased (to minimize fraud; Mike was already wondering why people (not him, he claims, just people in general) didn’t just go buy a case of beer and bring the bottles back there and make a quick buck or 12, but having the white chip with the container means that sneaky souls will have to work harder than that!). Pretty cool, n’est pas?
After all the excitement of the fork trucks (and the dishes amazement), I had to regroup before our next adventure. So, back to the casa for a wee siesta (I’m in a weird form of cross-culture shock today, with it being 2 FULL weeks since we landed; I’ve noticed that this post alone contains English, French, German, and Spanish. Hopefully, I will figure out which language to communicate in and just stick to it!), and then we were off again!
We went on a small adventure to Miltenburg, which dates back to around 1200 (although there are Roman ruins that indicate that the area was important to the Romans as early as AD 155). History is old here!! It is a really pretty town built on the narrowest of river banks, squeezed between the Main River and the Odenwald mountains. See the pretty pretty pictures!