Kieler Woche - sailing, drinking, camping.

Kiel Travel Blog

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ein schöner Ausblick

Recently I went sailing (which I'd never done before) in Kiel, north Germany. In the last week of June every year, Kiel (a city on the Baltic Sea coast of Germany) is host to one of the biggest annual festivals in Europe - with over 3 million visitors each year!! - Kieler Woche.

I was invited to go with one of my English classes, from an engineering company near Hamburg.

We went on Friday 15th in the afternoon. With German efficiency we loaded the minibus: tents, sleeping bags, food and most importantly...a bbq, plus few crates of beer and a fridge!

We were camping right next to the harbour inside a military base.

in Kiel
  I loved the sight of so many huge warships, and even a couple of submarines. The first night we had a barbeque laden with steaks and sausages, plus plenty of Becks to wash it all down.

After an early rise on Saturday (something I normally avoid at all costs anyday of the week), only the thought of popping my sailing cherry pushed me on. Heavy rain prevented us having a practice sail before the competition began, which left me a little anxious, not wanting to be a complete  muppet on board and lose the thing for everyone else, especially as there were great expectations  after they'd won the previous year.
champions


The sailing went fine, exciting on the first day for the novelty factor, despite the lack of real wind. Then even better on the second day due to the wind, the speed of our ship, and the brief storm that drenched us!!

During the evenings we walked down to the Mile long stretch still by the waterfront, which had countless stalls selling alcohol and food, etc. There were loads of people, a big wheel, and plenty of different live music bands all over the place (even on board some ships). There was also a large stage with a free concert by some band that all my companions had heard of, but who'd obviously never crossed the language/musical barrier to countries outside Germany. It was all fun though :)

The last day sailing was a bit of a non-event due to the complete abscence of the slightest breeze.

chuga-chuga boat (not sure if that's the correct nautical term)
Fine by me...I was happy to be gently rocked in the sun and have a bit of shut-eye. We started a race which was cancelled (otherwise we'd have still been there now), and i learned we'd won the competition by default as we were in the lead from the previous two days. Fantastic.

Half the team had to head home, while i stayed with the the others to collect our prizes. In the few hours we had to wait beforehand, we headed up the coast a few kilometres and found some breath-taking beaches with stunning views. Seeing the big wooden ships with loads of sails made me feel like a kid watching pirates.

As for the presentations, we were treated to a show by a bunch of south Germans dressed in Lederhosen, green waistcoats and funny hats - they danced and cracked whips.

armed, ready for a drive-by
It was very German, very cultural, and being the only non-German in the room I felt like this was the sort of thing I'd left the homeland to experience. We collected our certificates and big trophy at the climax of the award-dishing-out ceremony. I milked the applause as anyone in a foreign country winning a prize for doing basically nothing has the duty to do. After a few pumps of the glory-fist into the air, we headed back home.

All in all, a great time was had. The week was only just beginning and I didn't have the chance to head right into the town where I hear there are many more celebrations that take place.

I feel that I only had a bite of the cake that is Kieler Woche, but I definitely plan to return for more one day, and would recommend anyone else to check-it out next year or sometime in the future.

 

 

 

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ein schöner Ausblick
ein schöner Ausblick
in Kiel
in Kiel
champions
champions
chuga-chuga boat (not sure if that…
chuga-chuga boat (not sure if tha…
armed, ready for a drive-by
armed, ready for a drive-by
cool boat, beach, sea
cool boat, beach, sea
the enemy
the enemy
Kiel
photo by: laurensteer