I don’t venture out to Reservoir Road very often, and when I do I rarely make it past 4101. Tonight was different as I made it all the way to 4645 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Germany’s reunification at the German Embassy in the United States.
This event is one of the biggest celebration that the embassy hosts every year, the equivalent of France’s July 14th party with thousands of expats, special guests, German businesses or business partners and dignitaries attending. And, you know, random Frenchies like me 😉 Typically, it’s held closer to the actual Day of Unity, on October 3rd, though it was moved to October 1st last year out of respect for the Yom Kippur holiday and was moved as well this year to October 6th to coincide with German Federal President Joachim Gauck’s official visit to the United States. October 6th is also German-American Friendship Day so I guess that worked out pretty well, though given the fact that there was a lot of beer at the event, October 3rd, which was a Saturday, would probably have worked out better for everyone…
After a week of non-stop rain, the weather couldn’t have been better and the guests present had a great time celebrating German food, culture, music and of course, beer. The food was organizaed in regional stations, showcasing the best dishes from around the country. There were chicken doner kebabs and Berliner curry worsts from “cosmopolitan Berlin,” sauerkraut, kassler, and sauerbraten with braised red cabbage and kummelweck rolls at the “Dusseldorf to Heidelberg station as well more fishy offerings, like Bismark herring with poached potatoes and cornichons on rye bread, at the Rostock to Emden station. I even tried some German red wine, boldly going where very few French women dare to go…
The most popular regional station was, of course, the Munich-Erfurt one, featuring a traditional German biergarten (pictured here before the crowds arrived). I have never been to Germany, except for quick stop at the Frankfurt airport on my way to Finland, so this was officially the closest I’ve ever been to celebrating Oktoberfest in Germany!!
Of course it wasn’t fun and food and there was a serious portion to the evening’s celebration. As traditionally happens at any embassy event, anthems from both the United States and the host country were performed prior to a series of speeches in both English and German. Ambassador Peter Wittig spoke first, reflecting on the significance of reunification for Germany as well as on the role that the US played then. President Gauck also made some remarks and shared thoughts on this historic occasion.
What’s next for Federal President Gauck? Today, he meets with US President Barack Obama at the White House and will have lunch with Vice President Joe Biden. He will also formally present an original segment of the Berlin Wall, to be displayed in the US Diplomacy Center, to US Secretary of State John Kerry. This will be the fourth piece of the Berlin Wall to make its way to Washington, DC. The other 3 can be found at the German Embassy, the Newseum, and John Hopkin’s University.
What was next for me that evening? This AMAZING cake by Cake Boss, who was filming an episode of his TLC show at the event.
And of course no celebration at the German Embassy would be complete without a quick trip to the Embassy’s not-so-secret “secret” bar for a little after party.
You can read more on this off-limits gem as well as that of the British embassy here. Not mentioned in the article though is the fact that the Berlin Bar serves the best goulash in the city! Perfect nightcap to a great evening celebrating Germany!!