Kieler Woche - sailing, drinking, camping.
Kiel Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.