Every New Year’s, for as long as I can remember, has been pretty much the same. Different faces, different cities, sure, but the usual partying til the wee hours and then feeling like shite for the next three days. This year, however, I came up with the rather loony idea that if I start 2016 off in a slightly different way, maybe it will be a different sort of year…
This was when I decided to do something a bit
Latvian odd, and booked myself a room in a hotel in the middle of a forest in Northern Germany.
As an afterthought, I sent my German friend, Simone, a message:
Me: What are the chances of me being eaten by wolves in a forest in Northern Germany?
Me: Or bears?
Simone: Zero to miniscule.
Me: Oh, OK, good. Just thought I’d check…
And so, armed with my deep knowledge of wildlife, forests, survival skills and all things “nature”, I boarded a bus for Lübeck. I figured I’d be seeing enough trees when I got there so I slept for most of the four-hour journey.
I was ravenous by the time the bus pulled into the station, so I took a couple of half-hearted photos but was really on the hunt for food. After wolfing (haha) down a sandwich and a cup of tea, I was feeling more human and ready to check out the delights Lübeck has to offer.
As with most German cities, it’s ridiculously pretty and well-maintained. If only all of its residents could get with the programme…
The promised blue skies didn’t materialise and it was bloody cold but I wandered around taking in the sights anyway. I was rewarded with what every woman is looking for – a horny little devil…
And this one wasn’t all mouth and no trousers either. No, he had a great back story. It seems that when the first stones of St. Mary’s Church were being laid, the devil thought that it was going to be a wine bar, so he enthusiastically joined in with the building project. (Can’t say I blame him.)
But one day, the devil realised what the building was actually going to be and flew into a rage. (Can’t say I blame him there, either.) He picked up a huge boulder and was about to smash the place to pieces when one daring local told him to leave it alone; they’d build him a wine bar across the street instead. The devil was very happy with this so he dropped the boulder and has been sitting there happily ever since. I don’t know if he ever made it to the wine bar…
As I was half-frozen at this stage, I decided a far quicker way to see the sights would be to go up to the viewing tower at St. Peter’s Church and kill all the birds with one stone. (In a figurative sense. I love wildlife.)
Thankfully, with all of the other tourists crammed into Niederegger Marzipan Café, I made it to the top in no time. It was COLD.
For some reason, being truly frozen for a short time instead of gradually frozen over a longer period of time made sense to me. The views were pretty spectacular as well.
After a quick glass of wine at a cute little bar, I got on what I hoped was the right bus. It was already dark when I got off at what I hoped was the right stop.
I tripped over a twig 2.5 seconds after getting off the bus and thought, “YES!! This the rustic, outdoorsy, solitary existence I was looking for!” Then, thankfully, I found the hotel because it was a little scary out there, all alone in the dark…
The hotel has been in the Grotkopp (yes, that is their real name) family’s hands for generations, and Mrs Grotkopp greeted me like I was her long-lost grand-daughter. There was hand-holding and chuckling, chatting about the weather and my Trump “do”, and I wondered what I’d done to deserve such royal treatment. Then I remembered. She’s German. They’re nice.
It was quite possibly the quickest check-in I’ve ever experienced. I was given my key card, told where to go, and that was it. My room was cosy and well-equipped, had working wifi, typical German beds and no poo shelf. Perfect.
After spending a few minutes scrolling through the usual dreck everyone posts on Facebook around New Year’s, I decided I’d earned a nap. In trying to find the switch on the bedside lamp, I accidentally touched the base of it. Like magic, it came on.
So I touched it again. It got brighter.
So I touched it again. It got brighter still.
After a very satisfying snooze, it was time to go hunting and foraging for food. But luckily, this is Germany and therefore civilised, so there was an inviting little Italian place down the road.
As usual, I was the last to leave, so the Italian owner came over for a chat at the end of the night. He didn’t speak a word of English but we still managed to have a fine old chinwag about the breakdown of society and how nobody had the staying power to really make a relationship work these days. Incidentally, he was on wife number three, a Ukrainian, with three kids in total, one from each wife. People never cease to amuse me…
And what better way to start the New Year than on a cliff-hanger. Stay tuned for part two – there will be trees, oh yes, there will be trees. BUT spoiler alert: I lived.
Happy New Year everyone!