Sunday, July 02, 2006

Let's Get Out Of This Country

Now that the World Cup is finished with (for England, at least) Dead Kenny supposes it's about time he gave you a brief report of his short trip to Germany and Belgium a couple of weeks back. This is a much-requested item, which is kind of like people actually chasing you to show them your holiday snaps - strange, but nice. However, don't panic: I've edited out my white bits.

Day One: Tuesday 13 June 2006

Keef picks me up from my house at 8pm for the long drive through to Germany. He drives, I bring the CDs, seems like a fair trade to me. First time for me in terms of using the Channel Tunnel - the cars load onto trains and the journey takes about 40 mins. In all honesty, it's kinda dull - like being on a plane, but underwater, obviously. The security is shit hot, though - 'any guns or drugs, lads?' being the trick question that nearly caught us out.

Day Two: Wednesday 14 June 2006

Travel through a bit of France, into Belgium, a short frisky ride through Holland and then we're in Germany where lunatic motorcyclists take full advantage of the lack of speed limits on the autobahns. Reach Bamberg about 2pm - our hotel is a microbrewery (a real timesaver) and the staff are friendly, jovial sorts who are quite civil about the fact we've made no attempt whatsoever to learn the mother language. Bamberg is a stunningly picturesque small town, the food is cheap and the beer really strong (here, 6% is considered weak). Bottles of Pilsener are best for bingelong-haul drinking. Watch Germany beat Poland in the last minute from an outdoor ice-cream cafe where the staff keep themselves amused harrassing all the attractive young ladies as they walk by. There follows mass celebrations and mucho horn-honking from the locals right the way through the night - you'd think they'd be used to winning football matches by now, eh?

Day Three: Thursday 15 June 2006

Breakfast in the brewery is pretty good (the Germans are one of the few overseas countries who know how to brew a decent cuppa tea) but perhaps this isn't a country to go to if you have a gluten allergy as it's bread rolls with everything. Head on the train to Nuremberg where we get talking to a power-drinking US soldier on his way to meet up with his German girlfriend. He's never been to Britain so we'll forgive him for never having heard of Birmingham ('I only know the major cities') and thinking Manchester United play in Scotland (Fergie wishes, huh?).

In Nuremberg we meet up with Raimundo and Grarm who have secured themselves tickets for the game (England v Trinidad and Tobago, fact fans). The atmosphere is buzzing and boisterous, but no real hint of any trouble. Get talking to a guy who claims to be Michael Owen's father-in-law - seemed genuine I thought, although it's quite strange for him to be drinking in a bar on his own that near to the match. R and G head off to the game while Keef and I move on to a Thai Restaurant where I tuck into a quite fantastic Chicken Panang before watching the game on their rather nifty TV. We end up doing a Robodance when Crouch scores the first goal, much to the waiter's evident bemusement. Despite the fact that I do an astonishingly accurate impression of a crap dancer this free entertainment does not entitle us to a discount on our meal. Shame.

While waiting for R and G, Keef and myself entertain ourselves by talking to two women sitting outside in a bar/restaurant. It's a mother-daughter combination, and maybe I'm getting old, but the fortysomething mother was much more attractive than the daughter. Think I do alright because when Keef nips off to the loo the mother tries to give me directions to the next bar she's heading to. My German really needs to be better, though, so gott in himmell (or, whatever) I still end up back on the train to Bamberg with Raimundo and Keef.

Seemingly the only bar open late in Bamberg tonight is a Bavarian equivalent to a fun pub which is rammed to the rafters with German teenagers and early twentysomethings. Shelves above the tables are used as kind of ad hoc dancefloors, and sure enough, by the end of the evening all three of us are up there dancing to Gnarls Barkley and 'Three Lions' amongst other things. Keef even strips off his top at one point to show off his new boobs (who needs implants, when there's beer?). The German girls are friendly but prove predictably efficient at fending off advances from horny and paralytic tourists.

Day Four - Friday 16 June 2006

Start heading back, and decide to stop off at Brussels for the day. A missed turn adds about 80 miles to the journey so by the time we find a hotel and get showered/changed it's already quite late in the evening. Compared to Germany, Brussels seems livid and lurid, full of an urban energy that seems likely to erupt into violence at any point. The waiters are really aggressive and won't take no for an answer when trying to hustle you into their restaurants and the whole vibe isn't pleasant at all. Go to a couple of Irish bars and a small samba bar, (the majority of unattached females in the last two bars seem to be working prostitutes).

Head back to the hotel about 4am when we decide for a last quick drink in a little karaoke bar populated by a mixed group of people of varying Asian extraction. There's about five of them around the bar taking turns on singing, with another group of guys playing cards in the corner. After a few swift-un's and some boisterous badgering I agree to forego my usual say-no-to-karaoke doctrine and select Nirvana's 'Heart-Shaped Box'. It's 4.55, I'm weary with drink, and forget about the lines that go something like 'I will eat your cancer until I turn black' until they come up on autocue. The locals, who's favourite song like ever is 'Wind Of Change' by Teh Scorpions, look at me like I'm some kinda sick fuck (even the gamblers stop what they're doing), but everything ends happily with a group rendition of 'Don't Look Back In Anger' (I knew my Liam G sideburns would come in handy sometime).

Day 5 - Saturday June 17 2006

Take the short journey into the popular coastal resort Ostend. Needs a bit of legwork to find a hotel, but once that job's done, have a walk along the (long) beachfront before heading back on the beers. Ostend seems a bit more civilised than Brussels as a whole, although there is a small rock bar which we venture into which seems to have some sort of knocking-shop thing going on handily situated next to the gents downstairs. The night ends in another Irish bar - a friendlier one this time, with entertainment provided by a live band and populated by thirtysomethings looking for a good time. The drinking is taking its toll on Dead Kenny's internal organs, however, and we shizzle you not, your correspondent spends as much time on the crapper as he does on the dancefloor. The more things change etc.


Blogger Ben said...

I look forward to witnessing the Dead Kenny Robodance in person. And I'll be willing to buy you a couple of pints to help you along the way, if that's what it takes.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Stevie Nixed said...

wot, no bruges visit? bummah!

9:03 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Yeah, that was a bit of an oversight but it *was* a whistlestop tour. Will have to do Bruges next time - keep the vibes warm and the beats chilled in readiness!

7:13 PM  

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