I’m determined to see as much of Germany as possible so when my good friend, Manfredas, invited me along on a trip to Münster, I jumped at the chance.
We set off at around 2pm on Friday afternoon. No, I tell a lie – we set off at EXACTLY 2pm on Friday afternoon. Once we hit the Autobahn, I did what any self-respecting woman would do – lifted up my top and yelled, “ROAD TRIP!!!” at the top of my voice. Don’t worry, I was wearing a t-shirt underneath it – I didn’t want to cause a pile-up.
This was to set the tone for what were probably the longest five hours of Manfredas’ life. If I wasn’t chuckling at “Ausfahrt” and “Gute Fahrt!” signs, I was targeting place names that started with “Bad”, shouting things like “BAD Nenndorf” in a strict voice while wagging my finger.
After a couple of hours, we pulled into a truck stop for food and drinks. For some reason, I chose the stickiest-looking Danish they had so the shop assistant, obviously suspecting my mental age, took no chances when handing it over.
Amazingly, Manfredas didn’t abandon me there and, a few hours later, we arrived safely at “Barbaras Bed and Breakfast” in Münster. The key had been left in a little safe for us, so we let ourselves in and went to our room. We were staying in “Cloud 4” which was a bit disappointing as I’d rather be on cloud nine, but ho hum…
I soon cheered up when I saw that the Münsteraner also favour the two-duvet approach to bedding.
The room was lovely – light, clean and airy. A little too airy actually as ze Germans tend to go a bit nuts when it comes to lüften (airing), even in the depths of winter. One surprise feature of this property is the punching bag and boxing gloves on the second floor. Gropers of Münster beware…
I boxed for a little while, we freshened up a bit and got ready to hit the town. On our way out the door, Barbara showed up and immediately offered us a lift.
Barbara: So, where are you from?
Barbara: No way! I lived in Ireland for a few years! In Dublin.
Me: No way! I’m from Dublin!
And so on and so forth. We were practically best friends by the time we got out of the car a few minutes later. I certainly couldn’t fault the Münsteraner on their friendliness and helpfulness so far. After taking a photo for the file I like to call “Random stuff that tickles me”,
we found a lovely restaurant called Cult Eck and ordered. I had the chicken with tomato and mozzarella, fresh vegetables and fried potatoes. You’ll have to take my word for it that it was amazing – I ate it before I could take a photo.
After we’d finished, we walked down the street to a party being thrown by some of Manfredas’ friends. It was in a bar with the rather amusing name of “Nippes”. You paid €25 at the door and your drinks were free for the whole night. With an Irish woman and a bunch of Germans, this could have led to disaster, but it was a great night. Manfredas’ friends were really welcoming and more than happy to be tortured by my ScheißGerman for the evening.
The next morning, I bumped into Barbara on my way back from the loo so she made me a cup of tea, and we settled in for a natter about life, love and the universe. Shortly afterwards, Manfredas appeared.
Manfredas: Is there a flower shop around here? (We were going to visit his sister.)
Barbara: Yes. There is one a seven-minute walk from here.
Manfredas: Not five, not ten, but seven…
Barbara: Yes, seven.
But, you know, if you can’t beat them, join them.
Me: OK, so if it takes you seven minutes to walk there and seven minutes to walk back, that’s fourteen. Let’s say that you’re in the shop for three minutes choosing and paying, so that’s a total of seventeen minutes. I’ll be out of the shower by then and able to let you back into the room.
Manfredas and Barbara: (collective jaw drop)
With alles in Ordnung, we set off for Manfredas’ sister’s place.
The day was a bit gloomy but it was a pretty walk through leafy streets and along the canal. When we arrived, we were brought into the kitchen where more food than I could eat in a year was laid out. Three or four types of meat and cheese, around eight different types of bread, two baskets of fruit, butter, jam, Nutella, juice, water, tea and coffee. The woman had had her appendix out a few days earlier and she was still a thousand times better Hausfrau than I would ever be.
Me: Jesus. She really pulled out the stops for us…
Manfredas: No, this is just a typical Saturday morning for them.
Manfredas’ sister and brother-in-law were probably wondering why he’d chosen to bring a mute person to breakfast, but I was too busy eating to mind much.
Stay tuned for Part Two – coming soon!