Bush, Merkel dine on roast pig at homely fest
17 July 2006, TRINWILLERSHAGEN, GERMANY - US President George W. Bush dined on a roast pig shot in his honour as hunting horns sounded on the final evening of his visit to Germany on Thursday.
17 July 2006
TRINWILLERSHAGEN, GERMANY - US President George W. Bush dined on a roast pig shot in his honour as hunting horns sounded on the final evening of his visit to Germany on Thursday.
Bush himself cut the first slices of piping hot meat at a barbeque held at a defunct collective farm popular with East Germany's communist leaders in the village of Trinwillershagen.
The president, dressed in an open necked blue-checked shirt, appeared in a jovial mood, mingling with guests and drinking what seemed to be beer.
It was not clear whether this was real beer or a non-alcoholic beverage, as the president is known as a strict non-drinker.
Merkel, who the president praised earlier in the day as a "fine chancellor who I'm proud to call a friend," was also dressed casually in a dark jacket and light blue jeans.
Some 800 policemen protected the gathering, more than the entire 780 population of the village, which was once home to the model communist collective farm "LPG Red Banner."
Around 60 hand-picked guests attended the barbeque after the number was increased following complaints that the guest list contained too many supporter's of Merkel's right-of-centre Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Harald Ringstorff, premier of the leftist government in Mecklenberg-West Pomerania, where Trinwillershagen is located, boycotted the event, complaining he had been invited only at the last moment and was not really welcome.
The president greeted well-wishers after he stepped out of his helicopter. He lifted two babies from the crowd in a classic political pose, although one of the infants burst into tears and the president quickly handed the baby back to its mother.
On his way to the restaurant the president stopped in front of a brass band playing marching music and took the leader's baton and began conducting.
The pig was shot on Monday by Olaf Micheel, an enthusiastic hunter and owner of the restaurant where the barbeque was held.
Trinwillershagen, a short distance from the resort of Heiligendamm where Bush is spending the night, was popular with the communist East German elite like leader Walter Ulbricht back in the 1960s.
Officials said that bringing Bush to Trinwillershagen was meant to underline the long march towards freedom and democracy as well as Merkel's biography as a former East German scientist turned politician after the collapse of communism.
Bush ends his 36-hour visit to Germany on Friday morning and flies to Russia for a summit of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrial nations in St Petersburg.
Subject: German news