Björn and I drove back down a couple of hours south of Hamburg to his hometown of Dorste. Dorste is a small town in the countryside parts of the area. My first perception of Dorste was that it was a clean and cozy community where everyone knew each other. I met his dad and mother, both whom were really nice and welcomed me to their home for a few days. I also met Björn’s younger sister Svenja, who spent a year abroad in New Zealand just recently. The whole family was really nice!
We planned on going on a hike to one of the smaller mountains near Dorste called Brocken. It’s a popular hiking/biking trail amongst the locals. We brought Björn’s dog Neele with us too!
It was really foggy and misty out. The visibility was low and it was hard to get any good views of the landscape during the hike. I did notice that there were posts along the pathway with drawings of witches on them. I asked Björn about that and he said that at the top of the mountain was a witches castle. The posts indicated we were going the right direction. The fog played perfectly into the atmosphere of the whole story of the mountain witch .
Along the way, the mist intensified and it began to rain a bit more. I don’t mind hiking in the rain, it beats the heat any day! Poor Neele was soaking wet, but she didn’t seem to mind one bit.
If you didn’t feel like hiking to the top, the only other alternative route was to take the steam train to the top. It was an old school train that blew steam out of its top and went ‘choo-choo’ all over the mountain.
The hike was a couple of hours and fairly easy. Once we made it to the top, we could barely see anything ten feet in front of us. The fog covered the entire area!
There’s also this giant boulder at the top of the mountain with a plaque describing the details and history of the region. The thing to do here is take a photo with it. The mist was horrible for any photos, but at least the cute dog made it better!
We did see the witches tower but it was hard to make it out. Instead, we ate at a restaurant up top and made our way back down the trail. The rain and fog began to let up, and we were able to see some of the viewpoints around, including this cool little lake.
Near Dorste, and even in other parts of Germany, Beer Festivals are held in smaller cities. Imagine Oktoberfest but on a much, much smaller scale. Björn and a few of his friends planned on going and he wanted me to come experience it too! This would be great practice for the real deal later this month! Björn’s dad drove us and his sister to a nearby town where there were large stalls featuring a different kind of German beer. Germans are known for drinking beer so it was the German thing I oughta do. It was great!
The plan was simple. We would all get one beer from a different stall every time. Each beer would be different and each of us got a chance to choose. Everyone had to keep up with each other though. It was a team effort.
I can’t remember the names of any of the beers we tried but one of them stood out in particular for being one of the worst beers I have ever had in my life. It was the beer brewed from Björns hometown! Sorry man, my taste buds just didn’t agree with it! Even the 11% beer I made everyone try tasted better. Prost!
We stayed at the Beer Fest for a long time. I was so tired that I was asleep for the entire taxi ride back home. I passed out immediately.
The next few days, Björn and I chilled out in Dorste. One of his hobbies is collecting mushrooms from a nearby forest and cooking them for his family. We went on a trek one day to collect some mushrooms that he ended up cooking for dinner for us the very same night. Along the trek we came along to this quarry that was being mined for…something. I have to ask Björn what it was.
We closed out our last night fighting each other. Not for real, but by use of the classic video game Street Fighter II! I haven’t played that game in ages and I´d say we were evenly matched. Björn and his family have been great hosts for my stay here. They whipped up homemade dinners every single day. I never had so much bread in my life! It was all really good though and I appreciated everything. Unfortunately, it was time to leave Björn and head to Bielefeld, another small town near the countryside. This however would be a short-lived goodbye as we planned on meeting up again during Oktoberfest later on in the coming weeks. to reunite the Pai Guys, minus Viola unfortunately.
Thanks for everything Björn! Off to Bielefeld to reunite with an old friend I met in South Africa. 🙂