Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whipping Boy

Getting ready to call them to order

Resetting the whips....

And GO!!
Today I thought I was going to a Brass Band concert. And I did, in a fashion. We were suppose to go to the Stiegl Brewery and on the poster that we saw there was a picture quite like the ones above on it. Although better quality. I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, I was just a dutiful follower. About three blocks away we started to hear cracks in the air and followed it. Sure enough it led us to a row of whip-cracking women in Dirndls (unfortunately, I did not get a picture of them). As awed as we all were, we were behind a fence a couple hundred feet back. We walked around the enclosure, which was a large yard, until we found a smaller fence. Only as I was jumping it did I realize that this was not land, but in fact a frozen pond, hence the lower fence. We all traversed the pond and fence perfectly, including Rachael, who was in heels. Once we got closer two girls in the classic garb came up to us and asked us if we wanted a shot. So, for a Euro at three in the afternoon watching burly men crack whips in Leiderhosen, all of us took a "traditional Austrian" shot. Where else could you do that? Oh, and did I mention that this was all in the literal back yard of the brewery that practically owns Salzburg?
I probably should have added this earlier, but there is a point to the whip-cracking. It is a tradition that when it gets to a certain point in the winter people literally "whip away the winter". Yup, these leiderhosen wearing men and women have took it upon themselves to whip winter into submission. I hope it works, it has been a wee bit chilly here! Their culture fascinates me....
After we had our shot to warm ourselves and watched a few more rounds of Winter Whipping, we went inside the brewery. It was a great hall filled with kids running around in even more leiderhosen and parents with pints of beer following. It was loud and raucous, just as a beer hall should be. We ordered some food and, of course, a beer. I, myself, had the Stiegl-Radler Grapefruit. Quite tasty if I do say so myself. Then, just as I thought I was not going to see this alleged brass band, A group filled on stage and took up playing. They were really good and fit the scene perfectly (and had a backdrop of crates of beer). As we were walking out, all of the professorial whip-crackers had gone in for a beer, but a bunch of small children were lined up and cracking mini whips of their own. Walking past them was one of the more frightening parts of my day. I have to say, giving unsupervised children things that break the sound barrier and could possibly take something off that shouldn't come off does not sound like a good idea. But that is why I love it here so much! Those kids have more self-control that quite a few adults I know back in the states. I guess that goes to show you that if I have kids, I must teach them how to crack a whip!
What an adventure to have on a Sunday afternoon, and full of information too! Although it seems all I got from today was that I really want to buy a Dirndl.


  1. How cool is that! Maybe next winter I will get a whip and you can come visit my back yard and whip winter away here and start a new tradition! Of course you'll be needing that Dirndl! :D

  2. I will! Also, I will have to learn how to crack a whip....details! Although one of the leading men had a large bandage across his face, I'm not sure what that means!