Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany has never particularly been one of my ‘see before I die’ destinations. However, when one of your best friends is getting ready to marry her German boyfriend, you never know where the wedding will take you. As a jaded New Yorker, I honestly had pretty low expectations for this seemingly small Germany city. However, the six days I spent here were some of the best of 2017– and truthfully, the dreamiest way to step into the New Year. I was surrounded by my best friends, pleasant new acquaintances, and a magical Christmas-drenched backdrop, so that could have helped in my insanely positive outlook.
Anyways, here are 12 things I learned from my time in Braunschweig, Germany.
- Flying to meet your friends and roadtripping to the final destination will definitely take longer than a direct flight, but will absolutely be worth it; and if traveling with your best friends, factor in 2.5 hours longer than what Google Maps tells you for a realistic ETA. (This will account for bathroom breaks, cigarette stops, coffee runs, and all around random debauchery.)
- Have Euro coins readily available at rest stops. In Germany, one pays to pee.
- Those Air BnB photos? Probably a little nicer than the actual apartment. Though it might make you feel a little less bad about breaking the Nespresso machine (which of course, you’ll never admit to.)
- PACK A CORKSCREW AT ALL TIMES. Alternative solution: Shove sharp objects into the cork and push it down into the bottle. (I personally don’t advocate for this, but desperate times [and even more desperate friends] call for desperate measures. Also, you must then consume the entire bottle… and it might taste a little… off.)
- If you’re in your mid-20s but can pass for 18-25, always ask for a Student ticket at the museum. Generally, they won’t ask for proof– and you’ll save a few Euros.
- Buy the damn souvenirs at the Christmas market, even though they seem like a waste of money at the time. Not doing so will result in extreme, painful regret. (Yes, I am currently working through this.)
- The words for Entrance & Exit (‘Einfahrt’ and ‘Ausfahrt’) will still be funny, even if you are past the age of 12 and claim to be a respectable adult.
- As if I didn’t already feel this way, I can officially confirm that City Hall (Rathaus) weddings are 100% the way to go.
- You never know who you’ll meet at a wedding. I’ll just leave it at that.
- The best way to step into a New Year is sharing a hearty meal amongst old friends and new acquaintances, followed by running through an empty field, counting down the seconds until the clock strikes 12, surrounded by incessant fireworks. Yes, this really happened.
- On that note, fireworks are legal in Germany; however, when setting them off, one should probably avoid pointing them at a nearby stable. A few horses may or may not have been traumatized, and angry farmers aren’t exactly fun to deal with when under the influence of alcohol.
- Be present. Act ridiculous. Take that late night train back to the city six hours before your flight to see the girl you met 48 hours ago for a short 90 minutes. Kiss her at midnight. Live in the moment. You won’t regret it.