On Tuesday and Wednesday, I took some time off work for my first solo overnight out-of-town journey by train since arriving in Germany.
It’s been pretty cold for the last few days, with the temperature staying well below freezing. This has the benefit of giving us more sunlight, though, so the train ride was populated by views like these- fields of snow, blue skies, and the occasional road or small town. I love the blue skies though-
Near the end of the trip, I was further south, near the Austrian border, and in the Alps- much more snow, more white, and more trees covered in white. At the start of the trip, however, there was a lot of green in the distance, as in this photo.
So much snow…
At the midway point, I had to change trains in the Munich Bahnhof, which is the central train station for the city. The Munich Bahnhof is, to date, the coolest thing I have seen in Germany. When I was walking between my trains, I saw all the trains lined up at their platforms and I couldn’t help but think that this place reminded me of spacedock from the Star Trek movies.
The stopover in Munich also gave me a chance to get a fresh butterbreze, or buttered pretzel. I am addicted to butterbreze- they’re my crack. One more train ride and I was in the little town of Kempten, down south. My purpose for the trip was a concert, but first I had to get to my hotel near the concert venue. Both locations were a little bit more than a kilometer away from the train station, so I went on foot. This allowed me the opportunity to laugh heartily at this store:
Apparently, the idea of “US Streetwear” here is synonymous with gangster rap- it was sneakers, sweats, giant hats, and gold bling. The entire store was unintentionally hilarious.
My hotel was roughly 150 or so meters from the concert venue, and both were across the street from a shopping mall- this gave me the opportunity to get some food before the show and to people-watch, which is always fun. The hotel, The Hotel Am Forum, is a nice place with a very friendly staff. When they saw me struggling with the German, they immediately switched to very good English. The rooms were clean and well maintained, and the hotel had a nifty floor structure- you go up a spiral staircase to get to your room:
But all of this is set-up for the reason I went to Kempten in the first place. I was there to attend a VNV Nation concert at The bigBOX Allgäu. I was originally not sure why they chose Kempten instead of, say, Munich for the show. However, the bigBOX turned out to be a pretty excellent concert venue. The bigBOX has an upstairs for super huge events, and a downstairs area for smaller shows like this one.
When I got to the bigBOX, a question I didn’t even know I had was answered right away- what do a few hundred concert-goers do with their coats during the show? In restaurants here, it’s not uncommon to have coat racks or hooks near your table for you to hang up your coat while you dine. In a place like the bigBox? There’s a garderobe (wardrobe) with an attendant- for one Euro, they will hold your coat and give you a numbered chit to retrieve it after the show. This is a brilliant and elegant solution- I had assumed I’d just have to hold onto my coat for the entire show, and I’m glad I was wrong.
I’ll conclude this post with three pictures from the show. VNV Nation puts on a great live show. They truly enjoy playing for their fans, and it shows. I’ve seen them about half a dozen times, but all the other shows were in Florida. This is more or less what they look like.