About six months ago my friends and I were trying to organise a ERASMUS reunion in Grenoble, but were struggling to find a time that suited people from all over Europe.
About four months ago our friend Manuel invited us to his 30th birthday party in Germany. About half an hour after that we’d decided to go! I don’t actually think Manuel expected us all to go, I still think he was in disbelief when we turned up on his doorstep a month ago.
So five of my friends who I studied in France with and Matt went on an adventure to Germany. We found the cheapest flights, organised how we’d actually get to the airport a few nights before hand, booked car hire last minute and took a stab in the dark with accommodation on Air B&B. It wasn’t until we were in the airport we realised none us had visited Germany previously and that none of us knew more than two words of German!
We took a flight from Stansted and landed in Dortmund which in the West of Germany – about an hour from Dussledorf. We picked up our bus of a car and navigated ourselves East to the countryside, to the little town that Manuel lives in; Stockum.
Upon arriving at Stockum, Manual showed us to our accommodation that night which was the towns Football Club. The locals were nice enough to hire it out to those who needed it, kitted it with P.E mats to sleep on and sleeping bags. It is definitely one of the strangest places I’ve slept – the floor of the Football Clubs bar on a P.E mat.
We then headed to Sundern which has a very picturesque lake. We took a walk along the promenade and stopped for our first of many beers of the holiday and a bite to eat. Thankfully we had Manuel to translate the menu – unfortunately this was one of the only times he was able to do this for us! We headed back to the promenade and decided to hire some pedelos- because why the hell not!
We returned back to our humble abode and got ready for the big 30th Birthday Party! The party was held in the local town hall just a short walk down the hill into town. We decided to try one of the local bars first for a couple of pre-drinks. It was in this bar that the language barrier came back into play when my friend tried to order some tequila. He ended up climbing over the bar to rummage through the top shelve bottles to try and find the bottle of tequila!
The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I know there was lots of dancing, lots of fun in the photo booth, lots of food, and lots of drink! We were very surprised to find that it was a free bar all night. The custom in Germany is very different to the UK – on your birthday in the UK you never have to buy a drink, in Germany you have to buy all the drinks all night! A very expensive birthday and completely bizarre! The night flew by considering we arrived at 8pm and left at 5am!
After a great night of partying and not much sleep a few of us wandered back into town from the football club to collect the car. Manuel and his parents turned up with breakfast for everyone – which was very greatly received by us all! As we were staying in the football club we thought it would be rude not to enjoy a kick around. So we grabbed a ball and had an England vs. Germany penalty shootout – for once England actually won!
After a good football session to blow away the hangover we jumped back into our bus of a car and headed south towards Cologne. The roads were windy but the views were spectacular. We stopped off at Lake Biggetalsperre for lunch in the sun and a few of my mad friends decided to take a dip in the lake. They tried to ensure me that it was warm, however considering the others that were swimming in the lake did so while wearing wet suits I decided to keep my feet firmly on the grass!
We all jumped back in the car and progressed on our journey to Cologne. Which I will blog about next week!