We were very excited to have finally arrived in Kiel. Sure, the city is beautiful, but not a usual stop on your average backpacker route. So why the special trip to the far north of Germany? We were visiting my cousin Liv, her husband Julian, and gorgeous kids Leda and James. We would also be catching up with my cousins Tom, Bec, and her boyfriend Luke, who would also all be in Kiel at the same time.

We caught a taxi to Liv’s place where we were greeted with warm hugs and a fresh brekky. After a long catch up, Liv and Tom walked us around the corner to our shared Airbnb for the weekend. We dropped off our stuff, wrapped ourselves in layer upon layer, and returned to Liv’s to go for a nice stroll around Kiel as the sun went down.

The city itself is very quaint, and the beautiful Christmas lights which decorated the houses and streets only added to it’s charm. We walked alongside the harbour and back through the centre of town before returning to Liv’s where she and Julian retired for the night. Tom, Anita and I then decided to head to the supermarket and grab a few drinks. 

The selection of beers in Germany is mind-blowing. There’s all different varieties, from all different areas, in all shapes and sizes. There’s actually so many that we spent over 20 minutes trying to decide. Not only are there hundreds to choose from but they’re all incredibly cheap, so when we finally made our decision it was only a few euro that we ended up having to spend. What a country. When Bec and Luke finally arrived late from Hamburg airport we were nearing the end of our beers, so we decided to visit a nearby tapas bar and squatted there for the remainder of the night, as well as a good portion of the morning.

We shook the next morning’s headache off with some strong coffee and a full breakfast, courtesy of Liv and Julian. It was there that we also first got to try mettwurst, a type of raw minced pork spread which is preserved by curing and smoking. Topped with a generous serving of creamy potato salad on a fresh bread roll, it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Most of us then collapsed, catching up on some much needed sleep before showering and heading back into town for some glüwein, bratwurst and German sweets at the local Christmas market.

The Europeans definitely do festivities in the lead up to Christmas better than we do in Oz. It feels more like a time of unity, generosity and celebration, rather than having such a heavy retail focus like we do back home. We really liked this about Christmas time in Europe.

After a few mugs of glüwein we stopped for a quiet drink at a bar before grabbing a highly-recommended “Germanised” kebap from a local Turkish eatery. These things were seriously massive, almost too big to finish, but so very delicious. The shop also offered 0.5L cans of beer cheaper than 0.3L cans of Coca-Cola, another indication of exactly how cheap beer is in Germany. We grabbed a few drinks and headed back to the apartment where we shared laughs and YouTube videos until the early hours of the morning.

With only three hours of sleep, Anita and I rose early the next morning and made the cold walk to Liv’s place where Julian was waiting to take us to the bus stop. After one last squeeze of James’ cheeks, we jumped aboard our bus to Berlin, nestled ourselves in, and caught up on some much needed sleep.

Thank you Liv and Julian for welcoming us into your gemütlic home, introducing us to and spoiling us with such great food, and taking the time to show us around your beautiful city.

– Dek

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