20.07.19 — Travel

Herzo & Kerwa

The strange words which form the title of this blog post may have you wondering what it shall be about, and I don’t think I mentioned it here on my blog before heading off, but these two German words mean that I spent last weekend in Germany!

I knew that my friend Luisa was headed back to her hometown, Herzogenaurach (Herzo for short), for the summer, and there had been talk of a few of us going over to go to the town’s beer festival. Rhea, Izzy, and I attended the rowdy festival four years ago, and we had an absolute blast dancing and singing to the cheesy German and international hits, and so I was very keen on getting a huge Maß back in my hand and re-visiting the Sommerkirchweih (beer festival, Kerwa for short).

Who wouldn’t love a big outdoor party in which everyone dances along to hits from ten years ago?

After leaving plans to the last minute, I luckily managed to find some cheap flights to and from Nuremberg, and so headed off just over a week ago, landing late in the evening to be picked up by Luisa and family from the airport!

Well, we were welcomed to Germany with the news that, due to local thunderstorms and heavy rain, the ground crew at the airport were unable to operate any of the machinery. This meant we spent a good half an hour sat rather uncomfortably on the plane, but once we’d been disembarked I was soon in the arrivals hall and reunited in  a flurry of hugs with Luisa, her parents, and her sister Evie.

Once we’d arrived at their house in Herzo, we were treated to a little tasting session, involving a lime and strawberry flavoured vodka and a drink flavoured with a native herb called Waltmeister, of which I am a big fan. As it was already late, however, we didn’t stay up too long, and I headed off after a few drinks and a bowl of Luisa’s delicious homemade chicken.

A view over the rooftops of a German village.

The next morning was mostly spent lazing around the house, with a beautiful slap-up breakfast spread laid out by Luisa’s parents. Once we’d caught up over bread, pretzels, and charcuterie, we hopped back in the car to head to one of their favourite ice cream spots. There, I simply had to order a Spaghettieis, which has been a firm favourite of mine since I tried one during my first visit to Herzo and then again in Tenerife!

Me, Luisa, and Evie enjoy ice cream.

This time, I got myself a pistachio flavoured Spaghettieis!

Once I’d devoured the delicious pistachio-flavoured Spaghettieis, we headed back to their house, where we proceded to spend most of the afternoon chatting, tracing my ancestry online, and petting their two gorgeous cats. Once we hit late afternoon, however, it was time to begin preparations for the big event – the beer festival!

After a meal of delicious homemade sausage rolls (it’s been so long!) and dressing up for the evening, we headed out under threatening skies and into the forest which forms the location for the big party.

We were greeted by the sounds of the local band playing a selection of international music, the delicious smell of cooking sausages wafting over from the food huts, and a rather unfortunately timed downpour which I was not prepared for! It sky soon cleared, however, and so we found a spot to sit at the yellow wooden benches and headed off to grab our first beer of the evening.

Me and the Smith family begin drinking at the beer festival in Germany.

We must have angered the rain gods as we inhaled the first round of Steins, as the heavens suddenly opened once more, determined to soak us to the skin. Slightly tipsy by this point, however, we weren’t all too perturbed by this sudden washout, and me and Evie decided to stay sat at the table, dancing our way through the worst of the rain!

No amount of rain could stop our tipsy jiving to Cher.

A video of me and Evie dancing in the rain at the beer festival.

Thankfully, this second downpour didn’t last too long, and a guy with a large squeegee on a stick was soon making the rounds removing the water from all the tables and benches – talk about a well-organised event! After jiving through the rain, it was time for the tipsy selfies to begin, which really caught the worst angles of everyone involved…

Luisa and I look terrible at the beer festival.
Evie holds two jars of beer at the beer festival.

As everyone continued working their way through further rounds of drinks and the sun began to sat, the atmosphere really began to pick up, and before long we were all on our feet and dancing on the benches, singing ourselves hoarse to Robbie Williams and Cher! I have many a hilarious photo and video which document the evening, but I shall keep those to myself for the sake of the dignity of all involved…

The stage at the beer festival in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

The night, which had already been plenty of fun, then really entered it’s most entertaining phase. I really cannot describe the sheer hilarity of dancing on benches, beer in hand, and trying the little German I know on a group of employees who’d come along together and who were partying on the bench next to us. It’s a truly unique experience and one which has to be lived to be fully appreciated!

That said, here’s one of the last photos of the night, which was taken as I fell off the bench whilst trying to take a photo of Luisa and Evie…

A blurred photo, taken whilst falling of a bench at the beer festival.

Once the band had finished their set, it was time for everyone to start heading home, which we did. Luisa, Evie, and I, however, didn’t feel like calling it a night so soon, and so we veered off and entered a restaurant-cum-nightclub to continue dancing off the beer at the after party!

Needless to say that the next day we didn’t rush to get up, but once we did, we lounged around the house and garden once more, enjoying the pleasant weather and another lovely brunch spread.

A view out of Luisa's house in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany.

With the town heating up a little in mid-afternoon, I suggested we go for a walk through the gorgeously quaint centre of Herzogenaurach, which we planned to end in yet another ice cream parlour. The little wander served quite nicely to clear my head, and also allowed me another chance to take photos around the town, adding to the collection I began when we last visited back in 2015.

One of the two towers which stands in the centre of Herzogenaurach, Germany.
A gold sign reading "Paul Belker Fleischer" stands over a door.
An example of the old architecture in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
An example of the old architecture in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

I ordered yet another Spaghettieis when we arrived at the ice cream parlour, which I tucked into on the terrace, where the three of us sat waiting for the arrival of a friend I haven’t seen for a long time – Tina! I last saw her during the second year of university, when she came over and stayed at our house for a few days as she was considering moving to Leeds for university herself.

Once Tina arrived and we’d had a good catch up, we received a phone call from Luisa’s parents, informing us that we should head home as they were preparing a BBQ! After hitching a lift back in Tina’s car, she sadly had to head off before too long, and so we said our goodbyes again before tucking into a delicious selection of barbecued meat and homemade pickles and salads!

Luisa waits for the BBQ to begin.

That evening we planned to once again head out to the beer festival, and so we began getting ready for another night drinking in the forest. This was to be the last evening of the beer festival, and so we were promised a late firework finale, so we didn’t exactly rush out of the house.

I make a 'peace' sign in the sunlight.
The sunset creates a pink sky over Herzogenaurach, Germany.
Luisa, Evie, and I take a group photo in the mirror before the beer festival.

We arrived at the Kerwa to be greeted by a group of Luisa’s family friends, and once we’d grabbed our first round of beers, I was introduced to a guy who was also visiting from Madrid! We got chatting away in Spanish, but were soon interrupted by the news that the beginning of the firework show was imminent.

Everyone gathered in the travelling fair section of the festival to watch the firework show over the tops of the trees, after which I’d assumed that there’d be further music and festivities. “Angels” by Robbie Williams had already been played just before the beginning of the fireworks, however, and any good beer festival attendee knows that that song signals the end of the night – just like Mr Brightside in pretty much any British club does!

It’s not over until the band and the crowd join in a cacophonous rendition of Angels by Robbie Williams.

On our way out of the festival we ran into some of Luisa’s friends from high school, and so this meant that we did in the end spend a decent amount of time standing around, finishing off our beers and chatting away to everyone who was around.

Needless to say that we didn’t arrive home late that evening, and so stopped for one last drink in the Smith family living room before heading off to bed ready for a relatively early morning – the morning of my last day in Germany!

As I was to fly back to Madrid from Nuremberg airport that afternoon, it only made sense to spend what remained of my time of my visit exploring Nuremberg city centre. This we did in earnest, stopping off at a few craft shops, another lovely ice cream parlour, and a stall in the market for one of the best lamb kebabs I have ever tasted!

Looking over the water in Nuremberg.
Looking over the main square in Nuremberg.
Evie and I take a selfie with our kebabs.

All too soon though, it was time to head for the airport, and so the three of us caught the metro to the tiny terminal. There I waved goodbye to Luisa and Evie as I headed for security, and then had a rather dull two hour wait in the pretty abandoned departures lounge before finally boarding the plane back to sunny Spain.

The view over Germany as the plane takes off.

As mentioned earlier, I really cannot put into words the amount of fun which is to be had with Luisa and family at the Sommerkirchweih, and so there’s no real need for me to wax too lyrical about the fabulous weekend I had – but know that it was an absolute blast!

So many thanks have to go to Luisa’s parents, who were so kind as to not only put me up in their house, but also to pick me up from the airport, drive us around, invite me to food, and so much more. In between the excitement of the festival and our visit to Nuremberg, I was also able to kick back and relax to my hearts content, which was very much needed after a busy week, and very easy to do as I felt so welcomed.

I am now back in Madrid, spending the Saturday doing much less fun activities such as defrosting my freezer and dusting my flat, but I still have all the hilarious videos on my phone and invaluable memories of a fabulous weekend. I hope to be back soon, and I hope to see the Smith family in Madrid very soon – I spent the weekend nagging Luisa to return after her last visit last year!

Let’s see what the next few weeks of scorching summer in Madrid have in store for me – until the next post!