Trip to the Veltins Arena

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What happens when a German (myself) an Irishman, a Dutchman and an Englishman drive over to Germany to watch Schalke against HSV?

Rules for the trip: Keep the luggage to a minimum as I needed enough space for three crates of Veltins beer in my Ford Focus. Take an extra towel because we will be visiting the sauna on Saturday morning. Listen carefully to the Schalke songs that you will be hearing while on the Autobahn. Finally, work out who has the privilege to wear my two spare Schalke shirts for the match (there was a scarf left for the unlucky one).

Theses rules basically guaranteed a successful trip: Here are the highlights:

Language training on the motorway which included useful words or phrases like ‘Zecken’, ‘Luedenscheid’, ‘Kumpel und Malocher Club’ and, of course, ‘vier Veltins bitte’.
Visiting the Schalke ground, enjoying a pint of ice-cold Veltins beer at the Schalke ground and trying to glimpse at the players doing their secret training session in the afternoon (and seeing Gerald Asamoah who was enjoying a pint with some friends).
Eating a delicious curry sausage and chips with sauces of various hotness at Gerd Herzog’s famous snack bar Die Currywurst in Wanne-Eickel in the early evening.
Checking in at our hosts, Pat and Peter, then off to the Kasino Unser Fritz to meet old friends over a couple of beers
The lads getting on with hosts Pat and Peter like a house on fire and putting the world in order while enjoying a couple of Fiege beers on Friday evening

A hearty breakfast served by Peter, including grapefruit, crisp rolls, ham, a boiled egg and lots of old Dutch cheese (Peter was brought up in Holland)
Going to the leisure centre in Witten-Heveney to sweat off last night’s beers and relax in the warm water pool. And yes, you needed to wear your birthday suit (which was a new experience for the lads).
Having a Taxiteller at the Nikolaus Grill in Wanne washed down with a couple of Köpis)
The choreography before the match the roof, the noise and the efficient way of paying for your beer.
Having a couple of Veltins beers at the Wanner Treff and taking a photo with publican Willi.
Sitting outside the Pinte at the Bermuda Triangle in Bochum and watching the world/girls go by while enjoying Hoevels beer from Ludenscheid.

Sunday: After another hearty breakfast (see above) Peter who used to be a mining engineer took the boys to the German mining museum while I enjoyed a couple of hours in the Lago Therme. The journey back to England was fantastically smooth (even at the Antwep ring) and we arrived home well in time for Match of the Day.

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