A Living Past

It is a small town in Bavaria, and it is at least 32 degrees C.  The camera weighs heavy in my hands, and I can feel speckles of sweat accumulating beneath my black rucksack, as it soaks up the sun like a square and sinister sponge.  All around us are people similarly suffering, but good-tempered withal—a Sol-worshiping Mare Germanicum of blonds and blondes as far as we can see in all directions.  They, too, have cameras (and speckles of sweat), and they, too, are looking along the road in the same direction.  As the vehicle comes around the corner beside the Elefanten-Apotheke, dozens of fingers depress camera buttons, and an admiring “Ooh!” can be heard from the finger-chewing children.

There is a large horse pulling the heavy covered cart, a hairy-hoofed behemoth like an English shire horse, or the steed of the famous Bamberger Reiter.  It is not this magnificent beast that has elicited the response, however, but its yokemate, a massive ox, its cable-like muscles surging beneath its supple and shiny skin, as he and his equine assistant take the strain of all that wood, together with the weight of the four men who sit inside, clad in the most festive fashions of the first half of the 17th century.  “It is the Prince of Denmark!” a black-clad woman announces excitedly through a microphone, to the enthusiastic applause and excited chatter of engrossed Bayerische families.


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