Discovering the everyday, little quirks a place has to offer is the whole point of living somewhere new, but too often we focus on traveling to far-away, exotic places and forget to take the time to explore home. I’ve tried – not as successfully as I would like – to keep this in mind when it comes to this blog, but my snapshots of life in Marburg have been less regular than I would like. With that said, I give you the first official post in the Walk around Marburg feature.
Even though Marburg isn’t a big city, there are still parts of it that I visit more often than others. Weidenhausen is a neighborhood that’s just far enough away from everything that I never really need to go there. I only heard about its annual Entenrennen while I was out for a coffee the evening before (sadly too late to purchase and build the ultimate racing duck). Truthfully, I had absolutely no idea what a duck race was or whether the contestants were real or rubber. I promised myself I would return the next afternoon.
Rubber ducks, not real ones (I had assumed as much). But what did shock me was the number of people who actually showed up to watch the race. Duck race in Marburg, who actually goes to that? Living with college students in a college town, it’s easy to forget that students only constitute one-fourth of Marburg residents.
As for the other three-fourths, they were at the duck race. There were rows of people packed onto the riverbank, sitting at every table, on the bridge, on their balconies. It is apparently a big deal for Weidenhausen. Really, this event has its own website…
The course was a straight shot, making this race all about speed. It took a while for all of the contestants to make their way to the starting line – thanks to a rogue Viking ship that the Marburg Lifeguard Association had to swim after twice – but once the ducks were freed, the race lasted just a few minutes. The crowd of people followed along the sidelines trying to find a treeless vantage point. It was because of the trees that I didn’t get to see the actual finish. But I heard it was close and that there was an exciting, come-from-behind winner!
There were eight winners in both of the two age groups plus a beauty contest, so there were a lot of little prizes to go around. Each one was donated by a local business in the Weidenhausen neighborhood, which I thought was pretty cool. Personally, I didn’t know anyone that participated in the race, but the man next to me was a winner in the adult age group!
The fact that I was able to google Weidenhausen entenrennen and find information is impressive, but I was also able to find another blog post about it (awesome!). I guess it’s a pretty German thing… But if you’d like to read more about neighborhood duck races or hear from an actual participant, check out Sara’s post on A Different Piece of Sky!