After we had explored Belgium, with a wee detour to Holland we headed to our next country – Germany! I’ve been to Germany before but this time it was all new places I hadn’t been. Our first stop was Cologne.
We rented an air bnb and wandered around Cologne, there were a few interesting buildings but I did’t find Cologne anything super memorable or any pull to go back. The weather was rather horrendous the first day we had to explore so we ended up sitting inside an Irish pub for several hours getting tiddly waiting for the rain to stop. I feel bad saying negative things about some places I travel to but let’s face it, I am not going to like or feel drawn to every place I visit! I’d rather be honest than just tell everyone everywhere is fantastic!
After Cologne we headed to our next destination – the whole reason for our two week roadtrip – to attend Rock am Ring rock festival at the Mendig air base in Germany. Needless to say it was definitely an adventure we will NEVER forget! We arrived and had to drive ages down a dirt road to a carpark which was a paddock in the middle of nowhere. We then had to carry everything – tent, clothes etc 5km’s to the actual air base. Once there our first task was to skull anything we had that was in a glass bottle because there was no glass allowed. We carried on our trek to find a campsite to set up, it started raining and my excited buzz was beginning to dull a bit. We walked and walked and could not find space to put a tent anywhere, this place was HUGE. 93,000 people huge. We eventually found a tiny spot and pitched our tent right by the road, another couple managed to pitch their tent right beside ours, nice and cosy. All the while it continued to rain. Once we were set up we chatted to our new neighbours, a couple from a nearby town in Germany and had a beer with them. We checked the schedule and headed off to find the stages and catch our first gig – luckily the rain had stopped for now!
Weird Statues in Frankfurt
The walk to the stages itself took ages as we were pretty much as far away as you could get, each time at a guess i’d say we walked around 20 half an hour, mostly through mud so it was slow going. Once we got there it was massive, the main stage was huge with an epic sound system, people everywhere, clubs, food stalls, loos, even Ferris wheels! Our first band of the day was Amon Amarth who Alex wanted to see, personally they were a bit too heavy for me! We watched from a wee way back as there was so man people and it would take forever to get closer to the stage and you’d likely get crushed. After Amon Amarth we watched Breaking Benjamin who I enjoyed and then Disturbed! I could finally tick another band off I’d wanted to see for years and they didn’t disappoint! We headed to get some food and wait for Tenacious D to start. Alas the weather had other ideas and the heavens opened up and it PISSED down. We took shelter under the awning of a food truck with several others. Our gumboots filling fast with water the lightening started. There were announcements over the loud speakers but only in German so we had no idea what was going on. We just waited and waited and eventually it stopped raining and we wandered back to the stage area and waited some more. It was actually quite scary as the thunder and lightening was INTENSE! Eventually Tenacious D came on and all was well. We headed back to our tent and discovered our worst nightmare. The storm had ripped the top of our tent off and everything inside was in a puddle of water. Our phones, clothes, everything wet. We had no choice but to leave the tent and take our shit 5kms back to the car and try and sleep in there as at least it would be dry! Needless to say, we didn’t sleep. Alex walked back to the tent the next day to see if our sleeping bags had dried out and i hung our clothes up around the car to dry and just sat and waited…..Alex eventually came back and we walked another 5ks back to the tent site. At this stage we’d discovered Alex’s phone was fucked and my mp3 player died. Thankfully everything else appeared to work. When we got there our mates beside us told us that the festival had been put on hold as their was threat of another thunderstorm. So we sat in our tent and waited, and waited. There was another storm but very minor compared to the night before. We headed back to the arena and caught Deftones, Billy Talent, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and more. We headed back to our tent after Bill Talent and a nice German guy asked if we spoke english, we said yes and he said I just wanted to let you know that the festival has been cancelled and everyone has to be out by 12pm tomorrow. We were like, your joking right? Nope. They cancelled the last day due to more threats of thunderstorms. I really cant believe such a big festival did not put english announcements over the loud speaker. Ridiculous. So we snoozed a little that night but just decided to get up early and take our shit to the car, at this stage everything was thick with mud so we had no choice but to abandon our tent, as did many others – that’s if they still had a tent as during the various storms many people lost their tents in the rivers of mud everywhere. Thank god for gumboots! Because we got to our car early we managed to get out of the parking before th mad rush of 93,000 trying to get out at once! As we thought we would be at the festival another night we had to find free wifi somewhere and book a nights accommodation. Our next stop was Frankfurt so thats where we headed. We stayed at a cheap hotel on the outskirts then headed to our air bnb the next day.
Chocospoons in Luxembourg – choose your milk, add spoon and stir to melt :)
Frankfurt I liked more than Cologne, It just had a nicer vibe to it. We walked around the city from our air bnb, sat by the river and had an apple wine, wandered across the river and had a bembel of apple wine, took photos, explored the old district and chilled at our air bnb getting some much needed washing done. We weren’t in Frankfurt long as we had one more country to explore – Luxembourg! It was so close and kinda on the right path back to Calais and England so we thought why not. We had a bit of trouble on the way there with our tyre giving us grief. Luckily we managed to get to our air bnb but realised how serious our tyre issue was. Our air bnb was too far out to walk so we changed the tyre to the space saver and hobbled to get some food for dinner. The next day our mission was to get the tyre fixed as we could not drive all the way to Birmingham on a space saver. Luckily we found a garage nearby who fixed it for us for around 20 euros not bad! We were back on track. We explored Luxembourg over the next few days, wandering around, indulging in chocospoons and some delicious local cider and we also ventured out for a drive in the countryside. Luxembourg city is certainly a unique place to visit I recommend!
Pretty views in Luxembourg
Delicious local Cider in Luxembourg
Mud everywhere at Rock am Ring
Our final trip was driving all the way back to Birmingham, we drive through Luxembourg into France where we stopped briefly in Lille for a wander and a drink, before continuing on to Calais where we managed to get an earlier ferry before arriving back in Birmingham ready to sleep for a week!
My first European roadtrip was done! Definitely had it all, ups, downs, crazy weather, nice accommodation, crap accommodation, cancelled concerts, fucked tyres. But most of all great memories! We found out after the Festival that the first night 85 people had actually been struck by lightening, so it was quite bad and that is the reason they eventually shut the festival down as they didn’t want to risk any more lives. We were pretty gutted as the last day was Korn and Black Sabbath, but it just wasn’t meant to be!
Main stage at Rock am Ring
Have you been on a European road trip or been to a European music festival? Did you have as many adventures as us?!!