A quick trip to Germany…for sightseeing and football ⚽

We had been to Dusseldorf many years ago but I didn’t  have any recollections of it. The only vague memory I had was,  I thought it was quite an industrial place. Well I was pleasantly surprised! It was far from industrious. I had expected factories with billowing smoke gushing out of their chimneys. Instead we were greeted with nice shopping streets, walks along the edge of the Rhine river and large hidden ponds with swans, beautifully coloured Canadian ducks and Coots going about their daily life. 

The sun was out and it was 23 degrees. The streets were full of restaurants and bars, with outdoor seating, and the locals had downed tools and were enjoying lunch in the sun.

We had come to Germany as Kev loves watching German football and I was keen to see the different towns. So far this was impressing me. It always makes a difference when the sun is out so we joined the majority, sat on the steps facing the Rhine and did a bit of people watching. I think we were the only ones that didn’t have a bottle of alcohol! 

Along the edge of the river are numerous restaurants serving various cuisines. It’s a very popular place to eat and drink. It felt like being at the coast.Not sure how it would be here in Winter though.

There  was a football game on in the evening and the town was full of supporters wearing their team’s shirts. There were fans singing and shouting merrily as they drank copious amounts of alcohol.  All were in good spirits, no violence or fighting and not one policeman in sight. It would have been very different in England!

We sat outside eating a Vietnamese meal and heard someone shout “LEEDS”. There was only another Leeds United supporter here…all the way from Pontefract!  Kev had to go shake his hand… MOT. 😉⚽

We did some window shopping (can’t buy much when you live in a motorhome!) and headed back to our apartment. Kev went to the football I stayed in and booked future sites for Barbara to stay on in Summer. For €13 Kev got a ticket to watch a second division game and it included his return train fare too…England you need to catch up!

The following day we were on our way to Frankfurt. The sun seemed to be following us as we wandered the streets in search of our hotel. Kev said he’d stayed at the hotel on a previous football trip and knew exactly where it was. Off we marched in the direction of the hotel. “It’s quite nice knowing where you’re  staying. “At least we’re not trawling the streets, as usual,  looking for our accomodation”.  I said to Kev as he confidently lead the way. As we got to our hotel I was pleasantly surprised. It was very upmarket, not the usual type of place we book. lol. It seems we hadn’t booked this one either! He’d taken us to the wrong hotel..Ours was the other side of town with a room that was the tiniest we’ve EVER stayed in! Oh well it was only one night.

We headed off to the city to explore. It had a huge shopping district and a really nice old town. 

We enjoyed a quick walk along the river before heading back to the hotel to get ready for football.

When you purchase a football ticket in Germany, the cost of your return train fair is included. We got on the train and it was filled with both home and away supporters. In England this wouldn’t be allowed or tolerated by either set of fans. Here it was like a rugby atmosphere, very friendly banter. The stadium was huge and we were sat up with the Gods. (Highest seats possible)  Neither Frankfurt nor Mönchen Gladbach scored a goal but not for the want of trying.  The fans sang and cheered all through the match.

European football has a much better atmosphere than that in the UK so I can see why Kev likes it.

A fight broke out when we were leaving but the German police were quick to contain it. With their full riot gear on and fully armed, the culprits were soon taken down.

The journey home was interesting. We were crammed, like sardines, onto trains. We were literally being pushed in to create more space! 😮. 

Up and off early the next day to get the train to Stuttgart. At 7.30 am there were still people drinking from the previous night! 

We jumped on the train and tried to find a seat. We hadn’t reserved one as they charge €10 each for the pleasure, so we sat and hoped at every stop that we didn’t get asked to move. People would come in the carriage looking at the seat numbers and we’d say…”keep on walking” under our breaths. Phew! We pulled into Stuttgart Hauptbanhof in the same seats we started in. Lucky 😀

We found our airbnb, dumped our bags and headed to football. Stuttgart v Dresden. The police were out in force again.

We’d got tickets right at the front behind the goals and were caught up in the shouting and singing. It  was a great atmosphere I just didn’t like being in such close proximity to smokers. 😷

The game started and the fans held up their red and white flags. We got some thrust into our hands so we joined in waving them whilst Stuttgart players made their way onto the pitch.

The game was eventful. 6 goals scored! Dresden were 3 -0 up at half time and Stuttgart equalised in the second half with the final goal coming from a penalty kick in the last minute. The crowd went crazy celebrating a 3 – 3 draw. 

Back in the town centre we were surprised and quite pleased to see that shops don’t open on Sunday’s. It seemed strange that they weren’t open 7 days a week but good for the staff. 😀  People were sitting on the grass and benches having chats and picnics and generally making the most of the nice weather. We had a great Chinese meal for €8 then walked back to the apartment.  

Stuttgart has some nice old buildings but mostly it’s a shopping place. There is a huge high street with plenty of shops, restaurants and places to people watch. We saw one woman wearing a beige  shoe on one foot and a pink knee length boot on the other foot, holding a dog leash that had a washing up brush attached to the end. She was happily pulling this along the high street. 😂.  A 10 minute walk from the shops takes you to a huge park.

Kev has been quite nice so far…not many derogatory comments. I’ve had a couple though (all said in jest). We were watching Broadchurch and a beautiful shot of the beach came on. “I want to go there” he said. Next shot was one of a field with corn growing in it. “And I’d  bury you there!” One night I had been watching Fifty Shades of Grey. The following day he said “You look like you’re in a world of your own?” “I was just thinking of Christian Grey” I replied.  Quick as a flash he said “pfft…he won’t have enough rope to tie you up!” I don’t know how he thinks of the sarcastic replies so fast but they crack me up. 😂

Munich was our next port of call. We got an early train as the football game had an early kick off. Munich were playing Stuttgart at 5.30pm. The Stuttgart fans started drinking at 9am on the train! 

We checked into our hostel before we had a walk around the centre of Munich. We had a private room and it was huge, clean and within walking distance of the centre.

The centre of Munich holds more history and culture  than the other places we’ve been to so far. There were markets selling flowers and various food stalls. There was a huge church in the centre of the shopping district which was the most amazing carvings in it. 

The church below looks like something from Disney compared to the old church that it stood beside .

We had lunch in an old traditional Bavarian restaurant then headed off to football. Tonight’s game was 1860 München v Stuttgart. The stadium was very futuristic looking and on the way out it was lit up electric blue. Quite a sight.

We walked back through the town and saw the best buskers we have ever seen or heard! Stood in a shoe shop window with a grand piano, flute, cello. They were amazing, playing the 1812 overture 🎻🎵.

I could come back again to Munich. It’s quite diverse. It has a nice shopping area, a huge park with fast flowing rivers and waterfalls that skilled surfers pass their time on, much to the delight of bystanders. There is also a concentration camp called Dachau where the Third Reich tortured and experimented on vast numbers of humans. We didn’t get to see this or the fairyland castle that Walt Disney based his on, called Neuschwanstein. A return visit is in order.

Here are a few shots from various places in Munich.

Below is the famous Hőfbrauhaus where they do hearty Bavarian food  served with steins of local lager/beer and an ‘um pa pah band’ plays noisily in the background.

We had lunch in a traditional local restaurant, where the staff wore the Laderhosen,   and Kev sampled some of the local wood barrelled beer. He’s so thoughtful sometimes. He knew my knees would be aching from walking around all day, so after we’d finished our meal and I visited the ladies room, he ordered himself another beer so I could sit down for longer! How thoughtful of him! 😂🍺🍺

We walked our lunch, and beer, off around the edge of the river. The water was crystal clear and not a shopping trolley in sight!

A two hour train journey from Munich took us to the medieval city of Bamberg. It’s buildings in the old town had managed to come through the war unscaithed. It was the quintessential German city with a population of 70,000. We wandered around its cobbled streets admiring the multi coloured houses and ornate buildings all nestled in a small town at the bottom of 7 hills. In 1993 it was inscribed on UNESCO’S list of World Heritage Sites, due to its medieval origin. 

From here we went to Leipzig, only for the day as there was a football game on in the evening..RB Leipzig v Bayer Leverkusen. The stadium is an accident waiting to happen. We had to walk up about 60 stairs, to then walk down 45 stairs to the stadium itself then we had to queue to get up more stairs to the stand! If there was a fire or bomb scare the place wouldn’t be able to cope. 

Once on the block you are sitting in you then have to walk around the front of it on the bottom row, then go up more stairs, to walk around the top row, to then walk down more stairs to get to your seat!!

The game was crap, no score and didn’t look like anyone had a chance of scoring a goal. We left with 5 mins to go. Walking away from the stadium we heard the crowd go mad! Final score 1-0 to the home team. Kev wasn’t impressed that we left early and missed the only goal. 😣

We jumped on the train and headed to  Magdeberg for the next 2 nights. We were staying in an airbnb that cost us £22 for 2 nights! We couldn’t wait to see what it what like. 😲 It turned it we were sharing with 4 guys from Bangalore, India. We had our own room with a shared bathroom and kitchen. It was Saturday night 9pm and what were 4 young college students doing? Preparing the ingredients for a homemade authentic Indian chicken curry 😀. This was promising to be a good start…..or maybe not! They were eating the curry in the next room to us until 11.30pm with the tv on really loud. I asked them to turn it down as we were trying to sleep…no problem they said. They just talked loud and slammed doors until after midnight 😴

The sun was shining the following day so we headed into the centre to see what the old town looked like. It was Sunday and again all the shops are closed. There was a very unusual apartment block that reminded us of the Gaudi design in Barcelona. The building is straight but the design makes it look as though it’s leaning. Very clever and very unusual.

The town didn’t have much to offer so we had an early lunch and Kev headed to football. I went for a wander along the river side and found a large market…perfect I could wander around in peace.

The sun was out and in was a warm 21 degrees so I sat and chilled,  read my book and people watched for a few hours in the park then wandered along the rIver bank. It has a lovely summer haze over it.

Kev enjoyed the football, it was a third division team with a strong 16000 attendance. The supporters were singing that loud that one little boy was wearing ear defenders to drown out the noise! He was obviously used to it. 

Germany you’ve been very interesting but now to head home tomorrow back to our home on wheels. I’ve missed “B”

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