I took a small detour from Holland to visit my dear friends Carina and Florian in the small German town of Recklinghausen. I met them back at my very first Oktoberfest and have kept in touch ever since. Here we are last year in Munich at Oktoberfest.
Instead of meeting up at Oktoberfest again, they invited me to their home town for more of a personal visit. (Turns out it’s kind of tricky to really connect during the dancing on picnic tables, singing German songs while balancing your stein of beer in one hand and a giagantic pretzel in the other.
Rather than jumping directly into the photos of my 48 hours of Recklinghausen, let’s all sit for a short story of “Proper English by the Dutch.”
To get to my sweet friends I had to take a train from Amsterdam to Munster, then another from Munster to Recklinghausen. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable In my abilities with public transportation because well, it’s all I use now. I have my 8:50am ticket to Munster in my hand as I shuffle through my bag when the train pulls up. I double check the watch in my purse… 8:50. European trains, on time as always!
I skip on board (maybe I just walked, but I felt like skipping) and sat down for the 3 hour journey. The train pulls away jusy as my eyes catch the well lit number clock above the schedule sign… 8:48, Oh no. This may be the first time a watch set 2 minutes fast will cost me. Once I put my stomach back to it’s orginal position, I gathered my thoughts and decide to go back to Amsterdam to catch the next train in then correct direction.
You can imagine at this point that I’m a little more assertive when making the decision to board but with confidence this time, I’m on my way!
A solid hour into the ride, we make a 4 min stop which gives me time to confirm my future transitions.Wonderful, a kind looking gentleman in uniform stands by at the station, he”ll validate my direction form sure! I walk over not rushed, but certainly with a pace to give the idea of “Let’s not sit and chat over tea.”
The conversation goes as follows:
Me: “Excuse me sir, am I on the correct train”? (as I show him my ticket).
Him: “No mam…”
This is when my stomach returns to it’s dropped lower sick position.
Him: As he cocks his head slightly to the side, “You’re in the right train.”
With little time to figure out if this frustrated me or tickled me, I continue:
Me: “Ok great, will they call out my stop?”
Him: “I’m sorry no…they will not call it out.” With no eye contact at all, he finishes his thought.
Him: “They will announce it upon arrival.”
Me: “Thank you for your help.”
My inner thoughts: “Aahhhhhhhh!!”
I actually don’t remember if I did or said anything here besides a smile and thank you. Either way, looking back it makes me giggle.
Ok, on to my amazing time with Carina, Florian and new friends Sebastian and Julia.
Upon arrival I was warned that the only neat thing in Reckinghausen is the flat of Carina and Sebastian. I knew they were correct judging by the front door…
Check this place out!
The beautiful woman in the frame is Carina!
Couldn’t leave this place without a few pics with effects.
For the bathroom, can you pick out his and hers?
They love to recycle!
As soon as I arrive they have a spread of fresh ingredients for us to make our own sushi. What a perfect start!
I was informed during dinner that their favorite futbol team was playing and we were headed to a local joint to watch it, score! If you know me at all, you know I was game to dive into the appropriate jersey and cheer when necessary. I also mastered how to say the team name and where they were from (just in case I was questioned… Which I was). Wooohoo BVB!
The following day we went for a little “sport”, as they call it. Carina showed me the highest point in Recklinghausen where the Horizont-Observatorium sits. There are over 500 steps that lead to the 360 degree panoramic view.
Side note- On the way there I pulled over to ask in all seriousness,
“Is the second set of random letters a real word… and if so, how do you say it?”.
Turns out it is! If you’d like to hear what it sounds like, I suggest you find a German friend to read it to you.
The start to our mini climb.
Up we go to the first level where you can rest and sneak a peak of the panoramic view. I personally found the fence more intriguing. This is fairly traditional in Belgium but I’d never seen it here. Couples take a key lock, some even have it engraved, and together as a symbol of their commitment, they attach the bolt to the fence and toss the key. In Belgium it’s done over rivers and canals. I wonder where these keys went? Either way I think it’s the closest thing to marriage that I’m comfortable with so far… Maybe.
After this level we turned around to find this inviting set of stairs. Let’s do it!
At the top, we reach a view stretching as far as you can see! I’m still learning the panoramic setting on my camera, but you get the idea.
This enormous man made structure is the Observatorium shown on the diagram above. It also ended up being the pick for the handstand photo. Can you see me?
For lunch, the crew decides to show me one of their favorite meals, currywurst with french fries and mayonnaise. “Sure!”
(Please feel free to insert whatever face you think I made followed by a clearing of the throat).
Carina’s plates is on the right and my dish is on the left. I ordered beets, saurkrauat and a homemade dill coleslaw. (Yes, I tried hers and “No thank you” was my response).
Florian’s plate before…
To wrap up my last night, Carina bundles me up and leads the way to the roof for the sunset.
That cool design in the distance is the Observatorium from our earlier climb earlier.
I found these two pictures for a fun comparison. The first is a shot from last year then followed by a photo from my recent visit.
As always, I want to thank my amazing friends for the extremely warm welcome, fun food, and the opportunity to experience the local life in Germany. Turns out they all don’t wear dirndls and drink from steins everyday. Florian and Carina, I’m so thankful I met you years ago and even more grateful that we’ve stayed in touch. Next round is on me! Tschuss!