ROCK AM RING 2010: Day 1 & 2, Rock N Roll Train

Tuesday, June 2, 2010, 9:07 PM – A southern bound night train screeches to a halt at Kolding train station. As Tina, myself and our new traveling buddy Pernille gather our stuff and say goodbye to Tina’s boyfriend, a door springs open and a scrawny shape comes flying out onto the platform, a smoke wildly waving in one hand. “There’s Lars,” I simply say, as we watch another familiar figure bolt out the door, taking one look in our direction and yelling “WHAAAA?” .. “And there’s Christian,” I add, as we all laugh and make our way down the length of the train to hook up with our friends from last year’s Rock Am Ring festival.. And to actually get on the train before it departs.

As we say our hellos to our prodigal friends and make our way into the train carriage, we try our best to introduce our new travel companion, Pernille, but pretty quickly realize that the boys must be a little ahead of us in alcohol consumption as they’re more interested at yelling at each other and us than listening to what we have to say. “Oh well,” we shrug and follow them into their reserved compartment where we hook up with a couple of friends of theirs, Per and Bo, and the two odd cases of beer they brought for the ride. Not wanting to feel too much left behind, we grab a case of our own and settle down all seven of us in a compartment designed to hold six people. Within minutes, we have a beer of our own open and Tina has managed to position herself in a way in which her ass is firmly planted on one seat and her feet firmly planted in my lap.. But then, that’s just how she is, she might be small but she needs her space. I in turn get position between Lars and Per while Pernille gets position right in the line in the corner alongside a drunk, rambling Lars  looking to make conversation.

And so it begins. Ahead of us were a nine hour train ride to Cologne, Germany where we were to shift trains at 6:15 AM the next morning. Spirits were high, spirits had been consumed, and spirits were yet to be had.. And we had a seemingly endless supply of beer – it seemed only appropriate to agree to pull an all-nighter and party our way to Cologne.. And so we did, much to the discomfort of a lot of other passengers, I’m sure. We pulled out more beer and our good party moods, we even found a bottle of jäger that someone (*cough* Tina and Johan *cough*) had brought for the ride.. And off we went. Of course no party is complete without snacks and music so when we found out that Pernille had baked a cake, we were pretty well ecstatic. We even managed to find some music for the party in the shape of a boom blaster and a couple of hard rock CDs that Bo had bought.

I’m reasonably sure this is around the time that the first noise complaints started pouring in, but we really weren’t paying too much attention to those at first, we were pretty busy getting drunk and stupid and it was all in all quite amusing, seemingly even to the conductor who had no choice but to deliver the complaints from the other passengers but looked to find the whole thing quite entertaining.. But then again, how often do you get to see seven Danes putting on a mobile rock party in the confinement of a train compartment?

It wasn’t until after midnight things really started getting out of hand as our travel companions who had been at it a few more hours than the rest of us started getting really intoxicated.. I’m not gonna name any names but there was a fair amount of passing out going on as well as some sleeping on the train toilets and in the hallways, there was even some spewing and a few bits of really strange homoerotic behavior going on, but all in all it was all in pretty good decency..

No, really, I mean that.. While the night had in fact started with a seemingly unnecessarily long discussion about shaving of private regions, it eventually spun into a heated debate about politics and the current state of the world. Tina and I even withdrew for a while to catch some fresh air and have a long talk about friendship and the likes.. It’s really the only time I’ve seen a party go from circling around lewd conversation to politics, feelings and the like.. Quite strange, really..

As the sun rose over the railroad track, the party had died down a little, people were still trying to sleep in the corners while others were busy trying to keep them from sleeping. Nobody really succeeded at either task so by the time we pulled into Cologne central train station, all of us were in a state of zombiefication; half awake, half asleep.

But this was a case of no rest for the wicked so off the train we jumped an unto the platform we landed. Some took this brief bit of terra firma as a chance to light a smoke while others decided to fall asleep instead.

All of us enjoyed the bit of fresh air, though, before piling into a new train bound for Koblenz, the only major city in close proximity of the Nürnburgring where Rock Am Ring is held and as such, a good place to catch a shuttle bus to the ring. This last leg of the journey was pretty wild and disorderly as fucked up drunk Danes mingled with ordinary German commuters on their way to work. Some of us were having incoherent conversations, others were trying to sneak away and catch some shut-eye on the train floor while others again were trying to engage people in conversation in a mix of Danish, English and German on such subjects as the 1992 European Championship in football and fictional Dutch bicyclists.. It was a bit of a mess and I’m reasonably sure everybody were well happy when the train terminated in Koblenz.

Well, everybody but the Danes anyways for whom this meant a five hour long layover before the first official shuttle bus for the ring departed. We spent the time wisely: Had breakfast at McDonald’s, bought a few beers, some water, juice, soda and other necessities and settled down in the morning sun for a bit of rest, a little sleep for those who could manage and some much deserved rest and slight hangovers from the night of mayhem that was now behind us.

Koblenz isn’t much of an interesting town so a full account of our (lack of) adventures here would only serve to bore you as much as our time there bored us.. Let’s just say that we were pretty well happy by the time the first bus shuttles arrived and we managed to get seven seats on the first bus to the ring.

The ride to the ring is an absolutely beautiful one so it’s only a shame that it’s usually undertaken at a time where you’re absolutely weary from traveling and just not in the mood for being stuck in a crowded bus, no matter how great the view might be. This year, though, the ride was particularly straining as some 7,000 tickets extra had been sold compared to last year and as the festival had been extended by one day.. This meant that huge traffic chaos ensued right around the time when we were scheduled to arrive and as such we had one hell of a time being stuck in traffic for extended periods of time before the bus finally screeched to a halt at the familiar parking space right outside the fair, sleepy city of Nürburg located next to the ring.

At this time last year, our road ahead was pretty simple: We walked right from the bus to the nearest camping ground, pitched our tent and got wasted. This time, the road ahead was bumpy and full of turns.. The extra volume of people meant that every camping site within miles was filling up and as, due to logistic reasons, our preferred space was not yet open, we ended up being sent to the closest open site which was conveniently located “Im Arsch der Welt” as the Germans would say, or the middle of fucking nowhere as the English would probably say. Basically, we were as far from everything as could be and it was quite a disappointment for us at the time to say the least.. But oh well, tough luck.

After discussing other options, we ended up pitching our tents in the middle of nowhere and settling down for a while to rest and have a beer before taking a trek around the area to see where fate had landed us… A long trek, I might add.. In reality our new camp site wasn’t that much further from everything than that of last year, but since distances are generally insane at Rock Am Ring, it still involved a lot of walking to get from where were to where we wanted to be.. But oh well, with a smile on our lips and a beer in our hands, we pretty quickly discovered that things went smoother than expected. Our trip first led us back to the small, fair city of Nürburg where we had a pit stop at a bar us two-timers frequented last year for a horrible burger and a small beer. We then sorta split up as the boys wanted to go grab a few cases of beer and the girls and I were more interested in an evening trek around the Ring.

We grabbed a few beers from the boys and then headed off for a few hours where we all had fun in our own little ways. The guys back at camp getting hammered and the girls and I walking around, checking out campsites and the general area while getting hit on by random passer-bys and all sorts of other nonsense. By the time we got back to camp, everybody were pretty well worn out so after a few more beers and some talk of this and that, we eventually decided to call it a night pretty early as all of us were absolutely wrecked from traveling and partying.. And besides, we had a big day ahead of us Thursday..

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