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Munich, Germany
I am married to the love of my life and am finally able to shower him with all of the attention he deserves. I am now retired and living the life here in Europe. I am an American, he is an Australian, and this is our second overseas address. The first was Shanghai, China and now Munich, Germany. Come along and live the life with us as we continue our adventure of discovering all Europe has to offer.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012



     Sounds like a typical Bavarian dish, doesn't it?  Something along the lines of Schnitzel, perhaps?  Not even close!  This word was not in my vocabulary a week ago until a friend here in Munich clued me in.  Schaefflertanzer refers to a Bavarian dance done by a group of Coopers, or barrel makers.  If you don't want to wait 7 years, you can see the next best thing in the Glockenspiel (clock) in the Marienplatz (main square) in Munich. At the strike of 11:00 am,daily, the Coopers, or their painted figure resemblance, do the Schaefflertanzer for the crowds to view.

     The tradition of the Schäfflertanz dates back to the year 1517 when Munich was suffering the plague. Almost half of the city’s 20,000 inhabitants had succumbed to the dreaded disease. When the Plague ended, the Schäffler (coopers, or barrel-makers) journeymen, took it upon themselves to raise the spirits of the people of Munich by dancing through the streets with hoops wrapped in greens, accompanied by lively music. As Munich’s residents heard the commotion, shutters opened, faces appeared and slowly it was decided it was  safe to go out into the streets. The Schäffler clowned with the crowds, bringing smiles to those who had suffered so 
much grief.

Today, the barrel makers make their way throughout our fair city at designated time and locations.  The Reifenschwinger has the most difficult job. He holds a wooden hoop with an indentation on the inside rim for a small glass filled with wine. Standing on the keg in the middle of the circle of the dancers, he twirls his hoop over his head and between his legs, being careful, of course, not to spill one drop of wine from the glass. At the end of his performance, he drinks the wine and tosses the glass over his shoulder where one of the
clowns catches in his cap.

     This event grows large crowds of people of all ages.  We went to a local department store at 2 pm on Saturday and nearly didn't get an opportunity to watch it the crowds were so intense.  I wish I had an actual photo of the dance itself, but I was four or five deep in the crowd and astounded by how tall the German's are!  Truly!  Getting a decent photo was impossible, but I hope the ones I did get will do for now.

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