220 years! The birthday party in Neckarsulm, Germany. Are you thinking who could have completed 220 years? Don’t think more…
Four “primos” (cousins) have completed 20th, 30th, 40th and 50th. I know if you add all of them the result is 140 years, because the Grandpa has completed all of 80 years.
My business partner is 40 years old already! We used the party to meet the directors of QDesign in Germany and Spain there. We planned to stay a couple days after the party. It was difficult for me, being a long way from Mumbai as we were in the middle of negotiations for a new project. It was perfect, three weeks before the party we bagged the project and I booked the flight the same day.
Mumbai, 3rd September 2015.
3.30 am. Tring, tring, tring. The alarm rang. I got ready and I booked an Uber cab. Since the start of Uber in Mumbai, life has changed.
11pm. Neckarsulm. ( 2.30 am in Mumbai). The train stopped, I push the door. I was not lucky opening the door. It was jammed! Suddenly someone from outside open the door…. My business partner was there with his parents. I jumped on him I said:
I need a German beer, right now!
From where have you sent the sms? It is a long story I will explain it to you on the way until I get a German beer.
My flight was at 7.20 am, I was early as always. When I passed the passport control I heard 2 guys saying; Oman,Oman, Oman…. I didn’t pay attention and I went to the washroom.. Oman, Oman, Oman…again! I headed to the departure screen and saw that my flight was 40 minutes early.
I headed for the gate and I said to the air hostess: how come my flight is early and I don’t have an email or sms? You are lucky, you will arrive early. They told me. I am going to Germany and now I have to wait longer for the transfers. I didn’t have a coffee and I was too sleepy to argue. My trip started!
Muscat’s airport is small; there are not too many options. I had a splitting headache and I went to the pharmacy to buy ibuprofen. I always carry it with me, but it was a long month and I had finished the last one the day before.
Have you seen green Ibuprofen pills? Trust me, they are very effective! You can find fuchsia ones in Mumbai, but this was new for me green and with gel. I always try to have ibuprofen from Spain.
I sat in Costa café and I had an American decaf coffee and black chocolate doughnuts. Black coffee without milk and without sugar. In Mumbai you have to repeat a million times: without sugar! They always give you the coffee with sugar, although you say: without sugar!
When I was struggling to close my trolley after putting the tablet inside, an Indian guy sitting next to me helped me to shut it. He had one more hour longer to wait than me. I thought: Oh ! Poor him!!…
We were talking about business, parties and life in Mumbai. His parents are building a house in Aamby Valley, where we have most of our projects. He loved our projects and said: why did I not meet you one year ago?. Don’t worry I will follow you to make your new house. Always business!
The flight from Muscat to Frankfurt was delayed.. At least the plane was new all full of European people, most of them coming from Thailand. My co-passenger was a nice girl, we talked, drank wine and watched movies together and shared stories. I sat before her and when she arrived next to me it was fun to observe the time that she took to be ready before sitting down.. I was laughing because I do the same. I need with me: a book, a notebook, small computer, sunglasses, glasses, jacket and sweater, socks….. and of course my toilet bag!
Before we landed, she asked me: What do you think I should do? (She was giving me different options and different viewpoints). Really? Are you asking me that? I am living in Mumbai, one of the craziest cities in the world!
We landed one and an half hour late. I lost the last bus directly to Neckarsulm, so the adventure begins anew.
Me: I landed right now. Lost the bus.
My business partner: My flight was delayed too. On my way from Bonn to Neckarsulm. Take the train!
Me: No, it is not direct and slower. I know there is another bus.
My business partner: Take the train!
Me: Let’s see…. Don’t worry I will arrive; I just have to figure out how and when. See you soon!
I took a bus to the train station where I supposed there are also buses. I was asking everyone for the bus, but people didn’t know about. The funny thing is when a German friend told me: German people don’t know about these busses because we have them since the last 10 years. Really?!. I asked myself Is 10 years is a short span???…
There are amazing machines to get the train ticket, with dozens of buttons and screens, yet they don’t give you the time of the train and the platform. I went to the information point to understand what time was the train that I wanted to catch. He started to print papers and papers to give me all information. After four papers printed I ask him: but when is the next one, I have still a long way to my destination. He told me: right now, so you have to wait one hour. Really?! I quipped with a wry face.
Train time in Germany! The coach was empty, only a girl student next to me. I approached the girl and asked if a could send an sms. She wrote the sms for me: I will arrive at the train station at 11pm in Neckarsulm. Marisol.
I was in the train for an hour. I had 10 minutes to change the train. The train arrived 5 minutes late and I was running to find the platform and catch the next train. Thank God that the second train was late if not I would need to wait one more hour. I was checking all printed papers and the train did not halt according the printed papers. I was wondering for a while if I had caught the wrong train, but I arrived at Neckarsulm.
After almost 24 hours travelling I had 3 German beers in a local before taking my room 105 and sleeping.
It was nice to meet all the people already there and share our experiences in reaching Neckarsulm. Great time, great people, great beers!
Neckarsulm, 4th September 2015
I woke up very early. The bedroom was hot but a cool pleasurable breeze came through the open window. It was amazing to stand up seeing through the window the green views and feeling on my face that fresh breeze.
I decided to start the day early. I took a shower and I went downstairs to have a coffee in the restaurant of the hotel. The restaurant was full of corks as decorations around everywhere and of course bottles of wine. Unbelievable but is that area of Germany is famous for wines.
I sat on the terrace and suddenly the architect appeared. He also woke up early. We had a coffee and went for a walk.
We got lost around the village, taking photos of the façades and studying the architecture. I was in love with the balconies, no matter what is the façade or style of the house; they always have at least one balcony in cantilever attached at the façade and mostly open on all of three sides. We enjoyed a cold sunny morning in Germany. It was 9 degrees!
It was time to have a real breakfast and a second coffee. We decided to go to the place where we had been the night before. It is logical when you are travelling in a group and the first day you take a liking to a place it becomes the meeting point. In fact we were right, people come there.
After an amazing breakfast and a really nice conversation we went to the Audi exhibition. The Audi factory is in Neckarsulm. We enjoyed ourselves and played at table football.
I always say that I prefer a nice house to a car, but if you give me a black with some details in red convertible Audi car I would say: Yeah! I can imagine myself driving this car along the Mediterranean coast. Do you want to come?
The family was organizing the party, so the first group went to have lunch in a garden, Biergarten Saline ( Bad Friedrichshall). I had my first sausages with curry in Germany. I have to clarify that in India the food is not with curry, it is with masala. Masala is composed of different powdered spices and one of them is curry. Sausage with beer, of course!
Then, we went to the hotel to rest for a while and get ready for the party. Everybody was coming from different parts of Germany and different countries. I couldn’t resist gossiping and talking with everyone. The girl from Bosnia was lost looking for her room. The neighbours from next door with beers in hand around the hotel. People coming and filling the hotel. The hotel was ours!
When I dressed up and went downstairs my business partner was there with his friend from Russia. I had heard about everyone over the years and finally met them. Suddenly, a guy came up to us It was an Italian guy friend of my business partner in Rome, and also my friend. We went out several times together and he visited our house as it would also be his house. I was happy to see him after almost 4 years. It is amazing how you find people along the way and after years you meet them again.
I remember one night: a friend from Russia visited us in Rome. We went out to have dinner at Vecchia Locanda restaurant (www.vecchialocanda.eu ). We were a group talking, eating and drinking good wine around a round table. I had spaghetti alle vongole. We went to different local restaurants and the last one was Shari Vari ( www.sharivari.it ) opposite home. And of course we passed the night at home drinking a full bottle of vodka that the Russian girl brought. Vodka shots as if we drank water with sugar. Good Vodka! The bottle was inside the big Matryoshka.
An old Mercedes car driven by a gentleman in black jacket with jeans was coming to pick and drop us at the party. The driver was a handsome Portuguese living in Germany. I was talking a lot with him at the party. He is 50 years, but looked to be 40 or less! I don’t remember how many times I asked to him if he made a deal with the devil. He told me: the devil is my friend. I want to meet your friend, right now! He speaks Spanish and Italian and we were talking most of the time in Italian. I was practising my Italian with him and with my Italian friend with whom I enjoyed a lot talking about life, memories and deals.
You will not believe me, but I was drinking white wine all night. In Germany! I told the girls: this is the last bottle! And the six girls from Russia, Germany, England, Bosnia, Turkey and Spain filled the glasses and said: Cheers in different languages.
It was such fun that night; eating, drinking, dancing, talking, smoking….nothing to beat that night!
It was an emotional moment when my business partner started to call his friends who came from different countries and gave us a Memento.
RC B-Day 2015
Who was the winner? Someone coming from Mumbai, India…
The party was in a private forest outside the village. It was a cool night of September, but we didn’t feel that. People from different ages enjoying together.
I was talking to the handsome man when suddenly I was lying on the floor. One of cousins was dancing the hip-hop or something weird; he stumbled and landed on top of me. It was just 3 seconds on the floor, but enough to set one thinking: Really, has this happened? I got up with a nice smile. Alright, all is well!
The handsome man in black jacket and jeans looked at me and said: look at you. You wear a nice a smile. And smiling I said: What to do? Cry? Girls don’t cry!
Later in the night there were more people in the kitchen eating than on the dance floor dancing. Of course I was in the kitchen laughing, eating some chocolates and talking some nonsense about wanting to fix the world with love.
The funny part was when the party was almost over and it was time to return to the village. We called for cabs. They didn’t come or took too much time. Always the same situation.. People tired, cold, hungry, missing things and wishing to be in bed. Take it easy!
Neckarsulm, 5th September 2015
It was not any bottle of water in the bedroom, but the small Haribo packet saved me. ( Haribo is the famous brand of candies. They made in Germany, and trust me they are very good for hangovers. The Hotel staff leaves a small Haribo packet every day on the night table.
We would meet all my partner’s friends for lunch. I am always the early bird around the hotel, but that time I was not. When I decided to get out of my room, just one girl was in the Hotel, the rest were together blowing bubbles. Yeas soap bubbles…
I met her and we tried to find two coffees, and it was not easy. She is a half German and half Turkish. She is my business partner’s girlfriend. She left Germany for travel around the world, but she stopped in Utila, Honduras to learn diving. Now she is a good diving teacher with a million stories and I would like to know all of them. I knew the story of her since the past 4 years and every step that she took. My business partner also has something to say about her. They met in Germany in a top flat on one of the beautiful areas in Bonn. It was long time ago….. One of my dreams is to do at least one diving submersion, now I know my instructor.
We went downstairs to find the coffees and the hotel was closed. The owner the hotel left us the full hotel; we were nice people, of course.
Everybody was coming back and we were enjoying another sunny morning in Germany. How amazing is to have a coffee on a terrace in a cool sunny day with new people feeling like family and sharing stories and recovering from the night before.
We were thirteen going for lunch, but two left early. Eleven nice people around the table drinking red and white wine on the restaurant terrace. I was handing out my green, gel pill around the table; some of them had a slight hangover. I was awesome, thanks Haribo!
We went to the Hotel to rest a while before starting the evening-night again. I didn’t rest, when I am on holydays there is not time to rest, you can rest in the plane, at the airport or wherever, but not when you have someone around you with whom you can share moments.
It was time to visit the wine festival in Neckarsulm. The group reduced, people left and wanted to rest more. Five of us went ahead and enjoyed some beers with pizza. Finally we were drinking beer in Germany in a wine festival. One more nonsensical thing.
After a couple beers and German sweet coffee with pizza we went to the cousin’s house. Amazing loft on the ground floor.It was a garage, but he made an amazing house, also I have heard a lot of this place. Walking through: entrance, studio, bed, sitting area, kitchen, dining area and bathroom at the end of the loft. Every space separated with different styles and memories. It is like a museum about your life and experiences. I liked to sit in the kitchen area and to observe the ambience. The cousin and the handsome Portuguese who stayed in the same building on the first floor joined us.
We assembled at the main square and everyone joint us. The main streets were full of small wooden houses selling food and drinks. Different areas played live music or just recorded music. Perfect synchronization, a lot of people around there, different music, different ambience, but well-coordinated.
We went place to place, but I don’t know for what reason I stopped in the jazz area and sat around a table. We felt old, but suddenly the revolutionary team had an idea. We got a big Jagermaifter bottle.
When we finished the bottle we moved to another place and we opened a champagne bottle to celebrate another birthday. She was German and she is wished to visit India in 2 years. I will be there. I told her.
To finish the night we went to the nightclub, and people were leaving bit by bit. I was the last to return to the hotel with the Russian girl and the Italian. The night was over and almost the weekend too.
Neckarsulm & Bonn, 6th September 2015
Time to leave for Bonn! People was leaving early morning only those going to Bonn woke up later. We checked out at 11am and we went for breakfast to the family house of my business partner. You couldn’t imagine all delicatessen food that was on the table. And of course there was prosecco. The aunty asked me: Do you want prosecco Marisol? Yes, why not!
We left for Bonn in 2 cars; I was with the parents and Grandma of my business partner. Wes stopped twice on the service area on the highroad. How amazing are the highways in Germany!
Bonn is beautiful; we went for a walk dropped the bag in the apartment. We stayed in an amazing apartment with a big window leading to a cute terrace. The terrace was half covered and half open to sky. When I sat down on the terrace I felt I was in a garden. Wooden floor and ceiling with a long wooden table, the railing was a tree trunk with greens plants and amazing views of the green forest, such was the terrace. We started our business with a barbecue with wine on the terrace and a hot chocolate in a cafeteria in the main square in the city. It was a cool night but it was a great moment with a tasty hot chocolate in hand and listening a classic concert from Vienna on a big screen in front of the council building.
Bonn, 7th September 2015
We worked all day just we stopped to have a good lunch in the city center and an amazing dinner. Of course, we had several coffees at different point of the city.
Cologne & Düsseldorf , 8th September 2015
I arrived at Cologne from Bonn by train; I bought a coffee and bread with salmon and cheese. Sitting on the steps leading at the cathedral. I felt lost and alone. There were a lot of people around me, but I was alone in that square with my thoughts. I walked around the river and I decided to continuous with my trip to Düsseldorf.
I was waiting for the Düsseldorf train. I was trying to understand how people say that the trains are amazing in Germany. Trust me; I will rent a car on my next visit to Germany and visit Berlin. My sister says that Berlin is the ideal city for me. All right, now I ask myself why I had not planned to go to Berlin.
Suddenly a guy asked me for help:
Korean guy: Can you help me? We are going at the airport and we are not sure if this is the right ticket.
I: Yes, it is. Do you know the time and the platform?
Korean guy: No, I don’t. We are looking for it, because it is not printed on the bill.
I: I know it. Come with me.You need to check it on the board, but be careful, there is
frequent change of platform, and there are fast and normal trains.
Despite reading and reading we didn’t find it. They left for the information desk.
I was waiting on the platform number 1, and I was not sure if finally I was right. It was time to see my friend again. She was waiting for me, they were waiting for me.
I met her in Rome, one night of August of 2011 around Li castelo di Sant Angelo. She was visiting the city with a friend, and they spoke in Spanish. We were talking for a while and we said: We will see again wherever!
Do you know where we see again? You are not going to trust me, but it is true. I met her again in Mumbai after two years from Rome.
She is German and a night in an event from Internations, she met him. He is an Indian guy who is working 8 years in Germany already. I meet them in Mumbai, It was an emotive moment. We couldn’t guess that moment in Rome that we will see again in Mumbai. A German and Spanish girls in India. One for love and another one for work.
They came to Mumbai to visit his family. We didn’t spend too time together, but again we said: We will see again wherever!
After one year they sent me an email: we are getting married in Mumbai! Yes, you are reading property.
Already in Düsseldorf I toke walk and I sat down to have a beer. When the waiter came he told me: Hola! What would you like? He spoke in Spanish and he guess I was Spanish. Well, people have always some doubt if I am Spanish or Italian. I am Mediterranean!
It was time to meet them again. Italy, India and now Germany. Congratulations! I said them when they opened the door of their house.
I had a great time eating, drinking and talking around the long table in the living room with an amazing window covering all façade.
I felt very happy to live moments like that, just I can say: Things happen for some reason.
The coffee is always ready in that house in the morning. This is one of the thing I love it. We had a hot coffee on the terrace looking at the sun. It was another amazing sunny morning in Germany. The bedrooms and the kitchen are surrounded of a cute balcony when you can enjoy sunny days, have a red wine or rom after work in theevening , also a barbecue at night.
After that relaxing moment I went at the supermarket to buy some wines and some sausages to bring to Mumbai. We had a lunch and I left running at the bus station to Frankfurt to take off again.
See you soon! We met one month later in Mumbai again to talk about the weeding coming next 27th and 28th of December. Another Christmas in Mumbai, an especial one.
The way from Düsseldorf to Frankfurt airport was normal without any issues. Time to back home in Mumbai!
Muscat, 10th September 2015
I fell asleep in a chair at the costa coffee when I was waiting the flight to Mumbai. The mobile alarm woke up me with my thoughts, my feelings and with a pain in my knees.
It is incredible how many things can happen in a short time…