A few months ago, while on the phone with a friend of mine's mother, she and the family had invited me down for a visit to celebrate Michael's father's 50th birthday. A large party was planned, and of course I said I would definitely be there. As time got closer, and the birthday nearing, I started to look for a way to get back down to Berlichingen again. The last time that I went, I found a ride on a ride sharing website called mitfahrgelegenheit. The guy driving me, Dennis, was very friendly, and the cost of gas was quite cheap, however, this time I had no luck finding a ride that way. My next option was to look at trains. Most train tickets were pretty expensive going that way, but the Deutsche Bahn does offer a “Schönes Wochenende” ticket, or “Have a Nice Weekend” ticket. Honestly, they should be more careful with what they call this ticket, because even though it is relatively cheap, it is only good for one day, and only good on the slowest possible trains that stop at every known train station along the way to your destination, and even some stops not so along the way. Anyways, I bought two schönes wochenende tickets, one for Saturday, and one for the return journey on Sunday. Michael had arranged for me to meet up with his cousin, and her boyfriend in Frankfurt, and after I took a train there, got on a city tram, I met up with them, and they drove me the rest of the way to Berlichingen.
As soon as we arrived in Berlichingen, we went directly to find the party. After some directions from some villages folks, and after a humorous parking spot search we finally walked down the steps into the cellar of what is the village community hall. The cellar was actually what appeared to be a converted wine cellar, well over a hundred years old. I spent time with Michael, his family, and all of their friends (about 50 people were there). They had a great dinner of schnitzel, spätzle (soft, thick noodles popular in Baden Wuerttemberg), and a plethora of cakes made for dessert. I ate a piece of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (black forest cherry torte) cake made by Michael’s grandmother, and was rather delicious.
The night went on until about five the next morning. It was a night full of old German singing, eating, drinking, and happy people- an experience that I am sure is not typical for a foreigner.
The following day, Sunday, I woke up a little bit late since we were awake for so long. We ate breakfast, and before I knew it, after spending some time with the Haak family, it was already time for me to leave back to Cologne. This time I would take a train from the nearby town of Möckmühl all the way back to Cologne. The car ride from Michael’s place to Cologne is generally only about three to four hours long depending on traffic, however, it took me about seven hours to get there by train, and I had to switch to different trains four times! Oh well, the important thing is that I was able to be there for the party, and have some relaxation time outside of the big city with Michael and his family.