Samstag, 10. Mai 2014

Where on earth's the Hallertau and what the heck's a Titty Twister?

Happy Hallertau - Beautiful beer served with a smile

Willkommen to the Hallertau. Spanning over 2400 sq. km it’s officially the largest hop-growing area in the world. Inofficially it's the land of Titty-Twisters, where they dance on beer benches with the Bürgermeister.

The Hallertauers are lovely people, but they do tend to contradict themselves a bit. They happily fork out the 20 € surcharge for "MAI" (short for Mainburg) on their car number plate, yet complain when Guiseppe at the local café jacks up ice cream prices by 10 cents every summer. They busily sign petitions calling for a local cinema, and like the MAI-Kino page on facebook. Same time they're premium subscribers to 

Language is a thorny issue too. Two Hallertauers living just a couple villages apart might speak totally different dialects. But they'd NEVER dream of conversing in High German. That's a foreign language. English is much easier. Locals struggle with names of foreign shops like "Woolworth“ (pronounced here as "Vollwort“), yet at carnival time they sail through the lyrics of "What shall we do with the drunken sailor?”  

Hallertauers can sit for hours on end, debating engine specifications and lifting capacity of their favourite tractor, the bulldog. But when the Bürgermeister starts dancing on beer benches at the "Gallimarkt" (the region's answer to the Oktoberfest), they drop everything and join in. Hallertauers love to boogy, even if they move more like robots. They go to "Titty-Twisters" - farmers' parties staged in massive tents, in places with delightful names like Niederpumpernickerl and Oberaffengeilbach. You'll not find these villages on Google Earth, but they're somewhere between Kleingundertshausen and the autobahn junction "Dreieck Holledau".

When I moved here ten years ago and initially commuted between Munich and the Hallertau, the journey between the Bavarian capital and Mainburg felt like it took forever. Not surprisingly, Münchners joke that the Hallertau is in the middle of nowhere. That doesn't bother Hallertauers at all - and me neither. Seen geographically, we're right in the middle of Bavaria. 

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