We returned to Lobethal on Wednesday the 21st of December.We stopped by the Lobethal
Bierhaus where our friend Jeffrey is the chef. Normally they are only open Friday,
Saturday and Sunday but this week before Christmas they are open all week. The town
of Lobethal goes all out for Christmas. They are known for their home light displays
and the parade on Friday. We are in the middle of summer with the temperature in
the 80-90’s F but the traditional Christmas is snow and icicles. Notice the “snow”
under the reindeer and the light strings of “icicles” on the eves.
At night the town is overrun with cars coming from far and wide to see the lights.
Not every house joins in but most seem to. Lobethal is a small town of a couple thousand
people but is a bustling and active town.
On Thursday we worked on unloading and cleaning the van. We have lived in it for
nearly 4 months and it needs the inside cleaned! We have washed and vacuumed but
not really cleaned it in the four months. Then we walk (one can walk anywhere in
town in 20 minutes) down to the Bierhaus for a pint.
Jeffrey has to work but Al , the owner/brewer, has gone down to the bowling ground.
It is bowling night and the Bierhaus sponsors a team. We decide to go to the match.
We have driven past other bowling matches during our travels with the bowlers in
white suits and very formal. Tonight is not that serious. The suits are at home and
beer and casual clothes rule the match. There are several matches going on side by
side. Al is in the dark shirt on the right. Each match has two teams of four bowling
two balls each trying to be closest to the small yellow ball that was rolled down
the course first. One of the yellow balls is by the lady-in-pink’s foot.
On Friday we drove an hour north to the National Motor Museum. They have an extensive
collection of cars and motorcycles, even a 1975 Honda GoldWing.
Two of the oldest items are the 1899 steam powered “Shearer”, which took 14 years
to complete and was built by the Shearer Wagon Co. It could do 10-15 mph. The 1896
“Roper steam Velocipede” is a replica and not the original and therefore not really
“old”. It was built by Neil Doyle who machined the parts and built it to the original
specifications. The original was clocked at 60 mph before the builder/rider had a
heart attack and died while riding it. The reader board says he therefore became
the first motorcycle fatality.
Friday afternoon, the day before Christmas Eve, we walked down to the main street
and checked out the various events. There were food booths, craft stalls, displays,
etc. The bank employees under the purple tent were handing out sidewalk chalk and
the kids were having a ball.
We ate at the Lion’s club booth, to support a worthy cause, rather than a merchant’s
The crowd built as the evening approached. There were clowns selling balloons and
streamers and glow sticks and other carnival stuff. Cotton candy and ice cream and
popcorn and other junk were everywhere.
We went down to the Bierhaus to have a pint. The Bierhaus was sold out for dinner
tables but there is room at the bar. We would have loved to have some of Jeffrey’s
food but we know he is cooking the food for Christmas Day at the beach so we abstained
and let others enjoy.
The parade was led by the fire department and its mascot. There were the usual bands,
school cheerleaders, charities, and business floats.
The reason for all of this followed along in the middle, with real camels and a real
baby representing the Christ child.
Towards the back were some floats that were confusing as to their relationship to
And of course I have to include the motorcycle group. They liked to roar their engines
and scare all the little kids.
After the parade we went back to the Bierhaus and sat around with a pint until it
closed. Then the staff and some friends gathered around to talk, relax, have a beer
and exchange gifts.
This was a very convivial gathering and we could tell that both Al (third from left-left
picture) and Jeffrey (on right with beard-right picture) were well liked by everyone.
The Bierhaus had closed at 10 PM and this party continued until about 1:30 AM. We
left at midnight, went back to the house and to bed. We just can’t do all those late
Christmas Eve day Jeffrey, his wife and fellow chef Helen, Kathy and I headed to
the B&B they rent near the beach. They do this every year and they are joined by
several family members, parents, siblings, nephews, etc.
The B&B was built in 1876 to be the school’s headmaster’s house. It was used for
nearly 100 years and then vacated. In 2005 it was bought and remodeled into four
en-suite apartments. The owners did an excellent job and the apartments are luxurious.
But they are all rented for the holiday and we stayed in our van in the back driveway.
That’s fine, we’re glad to be invited along on the family holiday get-together. We
use one of the indoor bathrooms and hook up to power. We also get to use the pool
and enjoy the shade of the huge tree.
Although the house is not on the beach Jeffrey and I took their dog down to the water
to play for a while. She ran around in the wide open space and splashed through the
water and enjoyed herself immensely.
When back at the B&B the humans had a good time in the water too. I don’t know who
won the war but blows were exchanged and landed by both contestants.
The afternoon saw an exchange of gifts in the shade of the tree. The temperature
is around 32 C (90 F) but the shade makes it very comfortable to sit around in t-shirts.
Then it is time for the feast. Jeffrey did it again with shrimp, sausages, chicken
skewers and a “lamb” ham. A lamb roast cooked as if it was ham. Very Good!
While at the Museum we had seen the local paper. The headline is that the capital
city of South Australia, Adelaide, would be the hottest capital on earth with a predicted
40 C. (That is 104 F.) Adelaide is about 30 minutes drive from the B&B where we are.
We have a nice sea breeze keeping us cooler.
The prediction was 40 C and they reached it by hitting 40.7 C breaking the record
of 40.1 set in 1945. The next day, known as “Boxing Day”, a cold front moved in and
it rained most of the day reaching 32 C in Adelaide. That’s still t-shirt weather.
Back in Lobethal, a 30 minute drive east of Adelaide, we reached 27 C (81 F). (Boxing
Day is for boxing up old toys and giving them away, not for fighting.)
We are headed to Tasmania for New Year’s. They hold a Tasmanian food festival on
the weekend closest to New Year’s every year and this year New Year’s eve is Saturday
night, right in the middle of the festival.