This morning I spent a very pleasant few hours at the local Essen exhibition hall. This week is the "Mode, Heim und Handwerk*" exhibition and Emma had free tickets courtesy of her wine supplier (who had a stand there). Emma and Laura (at 20 months old she gets no say in where she goes and what she does, she justs gets to sit in her buggy) picked me up just before ten and we were at the messe** shortly after the doors opened.
We started off in Hall 1, "fashion, beauty and wellness***", there was a reasonable amount of grey/brown/sludge coloured ruffled fashion (steered a wide birth there) alternative (i.e. brands I didn't recognise) make up stands, hair accessories (both Emma and I have hair that is too short for such things) scarves (the Germans are OBSESSED with scarves and I have to report that it is contagious, I now have two drawers full of different coloured scarves, before moving to Germany I had maybe two scarves. But scattered amongst all this health 'n beauty were many wine tasting stands as well as many food stands (dried fruit, würst, cheese, bread, chocolate, more würst) and the very first wine stand we came across was the company that had sent Emma the free tickets and so we felt honour bound to take a seat and sample a few (is eight/ten a few? Or is that a couple more than a few?) bottles of wine. The poor guy who got stuck with us must have cursed his luck, first there was the small child in the buggy who insisted on tipping her (non alcoholic) grape juice over herself, her buggy, the floor around us and quite probably passers by, but she did keep quiet (as long as we kept her occupied with pretzels) and then there was the fact that Emma and I are both English. Fortunately for him we both liked the Columbard white wine and two of the reds so we left the stand on the hunt for coffee with an Auftrag in hand that says we'll be receiving 30 bottles of wine shortly for us to divide between us.
After the wine we meandered our way through Hall 2, "living & free-time" which didn't seem to be that much different to Hall 1, less 'fashion' maybe but the same amount of food and drink stands, through to Hall 5, which was "Africa". Probably the most bizarre part of the exhibition, the stands were full of displays of the kind of stuff you might think it amusing to buy on holiday - eight foot tall wooden giraffe (although tricky to bring back on a plane) dresses and skirts in the colours of the South African flag, stuff (baskets and possibly mats - I didn't look too closely) made from coke bottle tops welded together, weird. Onto Halls 10&11 which were deadly dull, "building and technical" - garage doors, marble steps, fire places and then we were through to Hall 12 and Christmas.
All in all it was a pleasant way to spend a morning, although I don't think either of us would have paid the 7euro for the experience but as a freebie, why not?!
* Mode = fashion, Heim = home, Handwerk = handicraft
** messe = exhibition hall
*** wellness is one of those dinglish words that really grates on me, what they mean is not beauty or cosmetics but rather things that make you feel...'well', a massage chair or aromatherapy for example...