Tag Archives: lüften

We did the Münster mash (Part Two)

We left while I could still walk under the weight of all the food and headed for the Altstadt (Old City) of Münster in search of German prettiness. I have to admit, from the area we had been in the night before, I was starting to think that the internet had lied to me about Münster being so scenic.

NEIN!
NEIN!

But, fear not. Yet again, Germany did not disappoint. For those interested in a little extra information – the rest of you can skip this paragraph – Münster is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia and is considered to be the cultural capital of the region. Münster was where the treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648, putting an end to the Thirty Years’ War in Germany. Today, it has a population of around 300,000 and is known as the bicycle capital of Germany.

For good reason
With good reason

With Manfredas periodically sweeping me out of the cycle lanes, we wandered around while I took photos of the beautiful buildings. Considering he’s been there umpteen times, Manfredas wasn’t much of a tour guide. Instead, he read the plaques on the sides of the buildings to me which, really, I could have done myself… (Ungrateful much, Linda?) Seemingly, there’s also a Latvian high school but, tragically, we missed that…

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Anyway, after walking around for hours under an hour, we’d worked up a bit of a thirst. We found a likely-looking café and, as it was a mild day, sat outside. Germans and their love of Luft and lüften… as long as it’s not lashing rain or below freezing, you’ll find them sitting outside. I huddled up under a blanket and we ordered some wine.

Don't ask me why I'm looking in the wrong direction. That was only my first glass, I swear.
Don’t ask me why I’m looking in the wrong direction. That was only my first glass, I swear.

The great thing about being in a smaller city is that you’re really under no pressure to rush around visiting all the “MUST-SEE” sights. We had had a nice stroll and now we were more than content to relax and chat with a few glasses of vino. The perfect day. Until the sirens started.

Me: Oooh, a demonstration! 

Manfredas: Ja.

Me: What’s it about? No more refugees? 

Manfredas: No, the other side. 

So, I dashed off to take a photo of the 20-30 people in Münster who think taking in more refugees is a good idea.

Not a German flag in sight
Not a German flag in sight

With darkness starting to fall, we decided to head back to the B&B for a power nap before dinner.

Clearly, Barbara had been up to her old tricks with the lüften again and the room was like an ice-box. Still, once I thawed out, I managed to get in a bit of shut-eye and, after a quick change, we were off out for dinner. Café Garbo picked up where breakfast had left off and served me my own body weight in Frikadellen (German meatballs) and fried potatoes. This time, I was too in shock at the size of the portion to take a photo… or I just ate it. You decide.

Manfredas rolled me into a taxi, and we drove to Kittys Trinksalon to meet up with a couple of his friends from the night before. Outside Kittys, I spied what is possibly the best invention I have ever seen…

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You dirty-minded bunch of…

This is what it actually was.

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Still pretty cool, right?

They even have their own website –

tail.de
tail.de

Having laughed myself sober, we headed for Münster’s Rock Factory where, I was told, no tourists ever go.

You lookin' at me?
You lookin’ at me?

We were stamped on our way in and didn’t make it out until around 4am. Well, I had to keep the Berlin side up, after all. The next morning, I woke up with a very fetching imprint of the stamp on the outside of my thigh which will give you a brief insight into how I sleep – if you ever wanted it.

We had booked breakfast for that morning so we went downstairs to see the ever-cheerful Barbara.

This is not Barbara
Not Barbara

Scrambled eggs, fruit in Greek yogurt, more bread than you could shake a stick at, juice, and as much tea and coffee as you could drink. I would definitely stay at Barbara’s again.

Barbara: Say “Würstchen”. (Würstchen = little sausage)

Me: Würstchen.

Barbara: (peals of laughter) I love getting foreigners to say that word!! 

Me: WüüüürstCHEN!

Barbara: (hysterics) 

Manfredas was clearly about to crack a smile but then realised that he would have to spend five hours in a car with a potentially annoyed Irish woman so he held it in. Germans are very sensible people.

Once Barbara had picked herself up off the floor, we hugged goodbye and Manfredas and I hit the road again. Luckily for him, I was exhausted after the night before so I slept for most of the first couple of hours. We stopped off at the Marienborn Memorial, the largest border crossing during the division of Germany. A bleaker, grimmer place would be hard to find.

Luckily, there was a truck-stop restaurant and shop nearby so we popped in for a Sitzpinkel and some food. It seems that where Germany depresses you one minute, it instantly tries to cheer you up in the next…

Mission accomplished
Mission accomplished

Little did I realise that the best was yet to come…

 

 

 

We did the Münster mash… (Part One)

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.

Road trip!
Road trip!

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.

Nice...
Nice…

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.

I ate my sweet before taking the picture.
I ate my sweet before taking the picture – oops.

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?

Me: Ireland. 

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”,

Effing studio...
Effing Studio…

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.

Me: Germans.

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.

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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. 

Me: Jesus.

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!