Three years ago, I studied abroad in Ireland. I’m sure most of you know this because I never shut up about it. Probably never will. Anyway, that’s not the point I’m trying to make. Three years ago I made friends with two girls from America, a Mexican, a German and a Dutchman. They became my family over the next few months and we made priceless memories together. Goodbyes were hard. We always joked about the next time we’d all be able to get together. A wedding? A baby? A funeral? Ten years from now? Thirty years from now? Your guess right now is about as good as ours was then.
Well guess what?
The German was about to get married.
WHEN I WAS SUPPOSED BE ABROAD. AYOoooooooooooooooo.
Oh yeah, I was also invited, that’s probably important information.
So from Croatia, I boarded my plane and began my journey to Frankfurt, Germany. I arrived and was picked up by a familiar face, Simone (the German getting married)!!! Yay!!!!!! Oh yeah, and then I was reunited with my better half (aka the woman I’d be spending the next 12 months of my life with), Megan Painter.
Let me try to paint you a picture of us three being reunited. It looked a little like,
There’s your painted picture.
So there we were, half of the original wolf pack from Ireland. The next day, we picked up Victor (the Mexican portion of our family) and things got spicy. Over the next few days we stayed with Bjorn’s parents (the groom) and traveled around the surrounding German towns. The countryside was beautiful. Most of the time we were driving up and down the Rhine river. I kid you not, there was a castle on the top of a hill that we would pass at least every five minutes. Some were restored into restaurants, hostels and museums. Others were abandoned, the towns they resided in unable to afford the upkeep.
When we first arrived in Kastellaun Megan and I were told that we were going to be eating dinner in a castle. For free. And a band was going to be playing. IN A CASTLE. MUSIC IN A CASTLE AND FOOD. WHAT. (castle pictured above, concert below)
I died a little on the inside.
Days passed and we hung out, caught up, ate icecream, explored more castles, learned random German words. Bjorn’s parents took us under their wing, let us stay in their home, fed us an amazing German breakfast everyday. I felt so at home I almost forgot I was in a completely different country.
Finally, the Polter-Gartenparty arrived (Aka “Porcelain smashing party in a garden”). This is a German tradition that normally happens the day before the wedding. The soon to be married couple invites the whole town they reside in and has a huge party. There are many beers, too much food and all types of porcelain. You bring anything made of porcelain and smash it against a house. After, the couple has to clean up all the shattered dishes for “good luck”. Let me tell you…. IT WAS AWESOME. I mean I got to smash stuff and drink beer. Germans are soooo doing it right.
A couple days passed and Megan and I decided to stop mooching off of our soon to be married friends and take a trip to Luxembourg. For those of you who don’t know, Luxembourg is a tinyyyy little country to the west of Germany. We took a four hour bus to the capital, Luxembourg City (once again, so creative these Europeans). As soon as we got off the bus, we realized it was a little different scene than we’re used to. We walked around town and about 75% of the pedestrians were dressed in suit and tie, dresses, ect. It was a very classy place. Megan and I are….. Just not as classy let’s say. Either way, it was beautiful. We only spent about 48 hours there, but managed to get up to quite a bit.
At one point during our sunny afternoon, we were exploring the fortified walls that surround Luxembourg City’s old town. I looked down at the town below and saw a stage being set up. I told Megan, “Oh that’d be cool let’s go back later and see who’s playing.”
Six hours later we are sitting in the square by the music stage, trying to sneak into a concert set up for none other than the band, ALT-J. ALTTTTTTTT JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ
AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHALKSDFJALSKJ. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. ALTTTTTTT JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ.
Time to pause.
For those of you who are confused (I’m assuming everyone reading this), Alt-J is the band that I met about a month ago at the music festival I went to in Croatia. I LOVE them. Here’s the picture of me a month ago in Croatia meeting them:
Look somewhat familiar? Yeah.
Needless to say, I freaked out a month ago and when I discovered they were randomly playing at this castle thing in Luxembourg, a place Megan and I randomly chose to go to, I FREAKED out.
Unfortunately, we ended up getting kicked out. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Tickets were hella expensive too. Plus, since I just saw Alt-J a month ago I wasn’t too keen on paying $70. Instead, Megan and I talked to some locals and found out you can sneak near the fortified walls across a nearby river and listen for free. Here was our view the whole night:
Yeah so basically, we were “backstage”. I mean that’s how I like to put it.
Sitting on that wall, listening to Alt-J, drinking some beers with my better half and new friends we made that night, I was content.
I had no expectations for Luxembourg and was absolutely blown away. I think that’s one of the most important lessons I have learned so far for traveling in general. To stop setting the bar so high, go with the flow, be open minded and the opportunities will appear. Just have to give it a bit of patience. Some of my best experiences have been when I just roll with the punches.
With Luxembourg in the rearview, we headed back to Mainz, Germany for Simone and Bjorn’s wedding. Thomas (our Dutchman) finally arrived. And, as tradition serves, we all shared drinks in the local Irishpub. It was bittersweet, bringing up all the old memories and catching up. I felt, and still feel, honored to be part of such a fantastic group of people.
The wedding was beautiful, I only cried a little anddddd danced a lot.
Before the long night could end, one of our many theme songs, Spice Girls “Wannabe” blasted from the speakers. At one point, I remember tripping over my own feet and sliding under a table. Such an Alexa move.
Cheers to the happy couple and to friendship forever.
……..anddddddddddddd……… I GOT TO RIDE MY FIRST EVER MOTORCYCLE IN EUROPE THROUGH SOME COOL GERMAN TOWNS IN EUROPE. IT WAS SO FREAKING COOL.
Literally completed my bucket list for this whole trip in 33 days. SHAZAM.
Not bragging sorry friends. If you’re reading this, please send me bucket list recommendations. Thanks.