The Alternative Stag Do
Something a little different this week which I thought would be a great share considering it’s Wedding based. During Easter this year I participated in a 8 day whistle stop tour of France, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. In short, me and two friends travelled in a car to Berlin, Germany and back. Here’s the catch, one of my friends is getting married this year so yeah this was his alternative stag do. I wanted to share the whole story as I don’t believe it to be a conventional stag that everyone thinks of when they hear that word. Please excuse the photo quality, they’re all shot on my iPhone or a friends, oh how I wish I’d taken my DSLR.
Whilst planning the trip, we all decided that it needed to be somewhere in Europe, we narrowed it down to between 5-10 places and finally chose Berlin as our main destination. We really wanted to absorb as much culture as possible and all agreed that this wasn’t possible in one destination, so we chose many and decided to plan a road trip to Berlin and back. The stag has a fascination for all things automotive so he decided to buy a specific car for the trip which just added to the excitement.
The stag consisted of two stages, Stage 1 which was the Road Trip and Stage 2 which was 2 nights in Berlin. Only 3 people took part in Stage 1 and 8 more flew in for Stage 2. This added a great dynamic to the trip and changed things up quite a lot.
A whopping 1,982 miles travelled in total with a total estimated cost of £1,000 per person and too many different types of beer to remember. Everywhere we went we were welcomed with open arms and introduced to their culture. This is a very condensed version of events and if you are planning a similar trip and want some input on what to do and what not to do then contact me here. Click on the map to open a Google Map of the trip.
Dover, UK – 11th of April
So that we did not have a mammoth drive for the first leg of the trip we decided to travel down the night before and camp just outside of Dover at a small campsite called Little Satmar for just £20, it was an absolute steal to get a head start on our trip. The next day we awoke early, packed the tent and set off for the port.
Amsterdam, Netherlands – 12th of April
Upon landing in Calais we wasted no time hurtling towards Amsterdam so that we made the most out of our one night there. After navigating possibly the worst entrance to an underground car park smack bang in the middle of Amsterdam we headed to our Hotel Luxor. We’d been to Menorca the year before and had some brilliant Xoriguer Mahon Gin to get us started on a miserable rainy evening in Amsterdam. We spent the rest of the evening wandering from cafe to bar sampling the culture, food and beer. Probably one of the best parts of the night was wandering upon the Ton Ton Club, a retro arcade with beer, food and a great vibe.
Wolfenbüttel/Beversee, Germany – 13th of April
After awaking with a fuzzy head we grabbed some Old Amsterdam cheese and went on our way to our next stop. We arrived in Wolfenbüttel with minutes to spare to attend our private tour of the Jägermeister factory. We donned our coats and hair nets and had a fantastic free tour of the factory complete with a goody bag full of Jägermeister items. After we’d finished we headed into the town to grab a 1.75litre bottle of Jägermeister from the shop because “When in Rome, do as Romans do”. We then headed on to our campsite at Beversee Camping, we set up the tent and joined the locals in the campsite “bar” where only 2 people spoke broken English. We shared shots of liqueur with the locals and exchanged stories. We later fired up the bbq and ate some beautiful sausage we’d got from the local deli. Waking up the next day we headed to the Volkswagen Auto Museum in Wolfsburg where we entered for a measly €2 as we were “students”.
Berlin, Germany – 14th of April – 15th of April
Arriving in Berlin late afternoon we connected with all the other guys that had flown in. That night we headed to Hofbraeu Munchen Wirtshaus Speersort for an evening of pork, stein and dancing to a tradition German oopah band. This night was probably the classic tourist trap for Berlin but it sure did provide a lot of laughs and fun. The next day we met for breakfast in Schwarzwaldstuben which was by far the tastiest breakfast most of us had ever had. We then soaked up the culture wandering around the city with a guide learning about the incredible history. Another night of stag related activities and a beautiful kebab saw out the last night of the Stage 2 part of the trip. A final breakfast at Schwarzwaldstuben and a trip to a huge outdoor market full of even more food and beer saw out the last day. A completely unexpected find at the market saw me drop some hefty euros on a Polaroid SX-70 that I’d been hunting for a while.
Naumburg/Nurburgring, Germany – 16th of April
A late leaving time from Berlin saw us arrive at our next campsite, Camping at Naumburg, at 11:00pm to a sleeping camp ranger who very kindly woke up to let us in. After one of the coldest camping nights I’ve experienced we woke up and got on our way early as we had a big day ahead of us. €17 to camp and shower was a bargain that we were sure had been mis-charged by the ranger the next morning. Whilst driving to the Nurburgring it was clear why we were freezing that night as we entered a snow blizzard while driving across the hills. Upon pulling up to the Nordschleife-Nurburgring we caught a lot of attention with our 17 year old maroon jag. After the car had taken a thrashing around the Nurburgring complete with a spinout on the first corner from he who shall not be named we headed onwards to Düsseldorf.
Düsseldorf, Germany – 17th of April
We arrived in Düsseldorf in the late afternoon and booked in to our slightly strange Bellevue Hotel. Heading straight for the waterside we tucked into the last of our German meat, including Pork, Schnitzel and Leberkäse topped with a bottle of Reisling. It was the last night of the trip and there was a lot of reflection on how great the last few days had been, some more emotional than others depending on the amount of alcohol consumed. As it was Bank Holiday Monday the night life was slightly subdued but we found a bunch of locals in Brauerei Kürzer that we hung out with and then they showed us around a good selection of local bars. The last night which was supposed to be the quietest was probably the best with it’s reminiscing and great culture.
Bruges, Belgium – 18th of April
On the way back on the last day we couldn’t help pit stopping in the incredible Bruge. Dropping in for lunch in the square was an absolute pleasure. If we hadn’t of thought that Amsterdam parking was bad well it had nothing on the tight windy streets of Bruge.