A night round the bonfire with fun loving crazy Germans.
Our plan while in Southern Germany, was to head down the “Romantic Road”, so named because of all the fairytale towns and villages along its route. We’ve just spent some days walking around the beautiful medieval towns of Bamberg, Würzburg and Rothenburg and we decided we’d had enough of beautiful buildings. What we really love is being out in the country. So we headed for a campsite about 50 miles west of us, in the middle of the country, on the edge of a beautiful lake -“Hammerschmiede”
What a dream this was, we parked up on gently sloping grass overlooking the lake in a massive field. We were pretty much the only people there. We spent a couple of idyllic days, sitting in the sun by the lake. We saw an Osprey fly over with a massive fish in its talons, and loved enjoying watching the adult grebes fishing and feeding their chicks. The only noise we could hear was the squeaking grebe chicks, and the sound of apples falling off the trees and landing with a big splash in the lake. It made us chuckle every time!
Come the weekend and everything changed. All of the local campers turned up, and suddenly there were lots of people about. Even so there was so much space we still had a clear hundred metres all around our van.
Saturday evening was obviously party night as we could see groups of people starting to gather around their campfires. Maybe they could see us looking longingly at their groups, or Kathrin felt sorry for us after we walked past all alone earlier in the day, because all of a sudden a German guy appeared out of the dark, started chatting to us and asked if we’d like to join them round their campfire. Before you could say “Geoff Hurst”, we had a bag with our wine and beer packed and we headed off to join them.
What a fantastic night we had this group of crazy German people!
Peter and Alex provided the music, Peter was fabulous on his guitar with Alex tunefully accompanying the vocals, along with the rest of us very un-tunefully. A couple of hours in and out came the German sausages for cooking on the fire. Michael amazed us all with his “grillorator” a home-made spiral wire device for threading into the sausages so they wouldn’t fall off into the fire. Sausages eaten, out came the selection of Scottish malt whiskey, for which Michael was obviously a connoisseur.
With plenty of wine, whiskey and beer drunk, there was plenty of banter regarding the different nationalities. Inevitably the 1966 World Cup was raised. It was very heartening to learn that the Germans are still incredibly sore about the Geoff Hurst goal that won England the World Cup. While the ball was clearly over the line, the Germans just don’t see it that way! They got their own back by asking us about English penalty taking.
They tried to teach us an apparently well know German phrase, which appears to be some sort of check list for a mans health “Köpfle, Bäuchle, Feuerwehrschläuchle” which translates to “Head, Belly & Firehose” but at that time of night we couldn’t get to grips with it. They were overjoyed when we gave them a similar British checklist “Spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch” – (apparently) a checklist for making the sign of the cross!
The region of south west Germany that we were in is called Swabia. According to our hosts, the Swabian people were apparently rejected by the Scots for being too tight! This is their claim to fame! From our experience they are anything but tight, their generosity and hospitality that night was first class.
We eventually got back to our van about two in the morning. Once we were away from the campfire we realised how cold it was and for the first time on our trip we had to put the heating on!
In the morning after a leisurely start, Phil joined the guys for a game of Kubbe. A simple game with wooden sticks and blocks of wood which had to be knocked down. Partnering with Michael, Phil threw away the first game after knocking down the king which is instant disqualification, and caused Michael to wander away shaking his head in disgust, amid great glee from Peter and Ramona our opponents, but Phil redeemed himself in the second game with a great victory for England! If we do ever get back to Hammerschmiede we have a decider to play.
It would’ve been so easy to stay in this beautiful place, but it was time to move on after saying goodbye to all of our new friends, with a promise to return if we’re ever back in this part of Germany again.
Auf Wiedersehen Freunde – Goodbye Friends