24th July 2015
It’s been well over a week since I landed back in the UK, but here’s a belated post on my eight day trip to Germany with Rhea and Izzy to visit Luisa and her lovely family in their house down in Bavaria.
Naturally, when me and Rhea landed we headed straight to the Smith family house in Herzogenaurach, where made a beeline for the local Eiscafé (ice cream cafe) after Luisa had been gushing over Spaghettieis (spaghetti ice cream). Here was mine – it was delicious!
Later that evening we picked up Izzy, who had flown into Nürnberg airport separately, and headed for the part of the trip I had been most excited for – the local Sommerkirchweih or Bierfestival (beer festival). It was an amazing evening of beer drinking, music, and tipsy dancing on benches. It was lovely to see that nobody there was too drunk or aggressive – it was just a lot of fun for all the townspeople.
We returned to the Kerwa for a second evening of festivities the day after, where I cracked out the tackiest shirt I could find and me and Iz treated ourselves to the biggest pretzel I have ever seen…
The day after, still in Herzogenaurach, we headed for the Freibad. The Freibad (literally ‘free pool’) is a huge open-air pool, complete with a trio of diving boards and a waterslide, which cost about 3€ for all-day entry. With an entry free equivalent to £2.50 or so, I did not expect the place to be so beautiful, clean and well-equipt! We spent most of the morning there making a nuisance of ourselves, splashing around and trying to re-enact Dirty Dancing…
That evening we headed out into the centre of Herzogenaurach for more ice cream and some tea, and found ourselves in a lovely little Italian Restaurant, where I had a delicious pizza. We then headed back for an early night for an early start – for we were travelling up to Berlin for four days!
So for the next few days we took a bus ride up to Berlin, where we’d booked a hostel, and spent the time exploring the cosmopolitan city. Signing up for the Alternative Berlin Tour, we spent time poking around the city’s thriving urban art and graffiti scene, as well as visiting some more kooky spots.
The tour ended in a place called Urban Spree, a huge outdoor art/club venue set in an abandoned railway hangar. We took a peek around their art gallery, and stopped for a burrito, but spent most of our time just taking in the endless street art. We even returned to Urban Spree in the evening for a night out organised by Alternative Berlin. It was awesome!
On our tour we also visited the Kunstraum Kreuzberg, an ex-hospital which is now an exhibition space and music school, where we spent some time looking at various projects, including one where the artist had activated spray cans and let them whizz around the room of their own accord. Another one which caught me off guard was installed in the actual toilet facilities – one of the sinks was continually spouting deep blue water. Being the fool that I am, I put my hands in it and ended up parading my blue-tinted digits around for the rest of the day. Nice work, Briggs.
One morning we took a trip to the Bauhaus Archives, where I was in my element – the Bauhaus philosophy and the whole modernism movement in general are of great interest to me (check out this project I completed on Online Typography and Modernism). Unfortunately photography was forbidden within the archive, but the building alone made a striking statement…
After this we headed on down to the East Side Gallery, a graffiti/street art gallery set on the remnants of the Berlin Wall through the centre of the city. There we spent a while admiring the work, and then ended up being offered free beer and a space to drink it right on the street! Only in Germany…
Sadly though, before long it was time to leave Berlin, but all was not lost as we headed back to Bavaria to visit Nürnberg (Nuremberg, as we English like to call it), spending a day wandering round the beautiful old city. The most breathtaking views could be found from the castle atop the hill, where we enjoyed the gorgeous architecture as well as panoramic views of the city.
After time spent lounging and napping on a man-made beach, and a mouthful of chilli chocolate Mexican ice cream, it was time to head back to Herzogernaurach – but all was not lost, as we had time to head out for one last night at the bierfestival!
Overall my time in Germany was amazing – from the traditional beer festivals of Bavaria to the cosmopolitan and liberal Berlin, it’s a country I severely underestimated and am very keen to visit again. Having been inspired and having already started learning German, who knows – maybe I’ll try and spend some significant time there one day!
Update: I’ve added some extra photos which were taken on my old film camera in a new post, Film Aus Deutschland, which can be found here.