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Thrills and pils

Beer. Football. Girls. A man’s three favourite words, are they not? Germany is guy-heaven, with its endless supply of beer, cheap football tickets and relaxed attitude to sex. Maria Pierides does the navigating and groundwork for you, to leave you more time to enjoy your holiday. After all, those frothing steins of pilsner aren’t going to drink themselves…

Avid beer drinkers should already know that September to early October is the prime moment to visit Germany as it’s the time of Oktoberfest in Munich – the biggest beer-drinking festival imaginable; the very thought of which forms an even bigger foam around men’s mouths than the one that sits atop the beer.

But don’t panic if you’re not planning to go during the festivities; aside from this gargantuan celebration of the foamy stuff Munich has other things to offer too, although beer is never too far away.

St Peter’s Church offers a great view of the Alps and Olympic Tower, and the inner geek in you may enjoy the Deutsches Museum – one of the world’s largest science museums. If you just want to hang with the locals, check out Hofgarten where you may even catch a glimpse of the cello-playing street musician Barjo Ajkic. Beer is also available mere inches away, and in plentiful supply throughout the entire country, so missing out on the beer festival isn’t going to leave your mouth dry.

Germany also has its fair share of nudist beaches; however, if you’re hoping to run into any Playboy beauties frolicking in the sand or see a buxom blonde replicating that famous Baywatch run minus the bikini, you’ll be bitterly disappointed. But if you want to tan evenly and try some skinny-dipping away from the nudist families, the Lido of Berlin is a good option.

Now if you boys must see naked women – and if you’ve come to Hamburg, you may as well – you should do it right. Instead of traipsing around from street to street, your best bet is to find all the strip clubs you can handle in one convenient place – the Reeperbahn. You’ll find it in Hamburg’s St Pauli district, so if you also want to catch some local football in the daytime, you can kill two birds with one stone. If you want some Dutch courage first, or just want to pretend you’ve ‘accidentally stumbled upon all the strip clubs’, then your plan will be relatively convincing, as in among the sex shops, brothels and sex museum are restaurants, bars, clubs and discotheques.

The Reeperbahn may not be the same thriving place it was in the 1960s and 1970s, where the Beatles even performed in its famous Star Club (which sadly isn’t open any more), but it still makes for a memorable experience. John Lennon famously said “I was born in Liverpool, but grew up in Hamburg”, and there are many tales of what the band got up to – including George Harrison playing a set with a toilet seat around his neck. The Beatles obviously made quite an impression on the Reeperbahn, as a Beatles-Platz is dedicated to them in the district, which is definitely one to put on the sightseeing list.

There are also many cultural elements to Germany, which can be enjoyed alongside the aforementioned less cerebral pleasures. If you want some sober tales to relay on your return home, why not walk along the remains of the Berlin Wall and check out the Reichstag and Unter den Linden, which has a lot of history in one place, including the Brandenburg Gate. If vertigo doesn’t affect you, admiring the impressive skyline from above will leave you with great memories – visit the Panoramapunkt in Potsdamer Platz, where you’ll be whizzed to the top in Europe’s fastest lift and be presented with an awe-inspiring view.

For those wanting a holiday reminiscent of a Las Vegas one, there isn’t a shortage of casinos here. But, be warned, there’s a very strict dress code; a tie is essential for some places such as the Spielbank Aachen and Spielbank Baden-Baden, so stumbling in wearing a t-shirt with a ketchup stain from your earlier bratwurst is a definite no-no. Poker is popular in this country, and the Berlin leg of the European Poker Tour is held in early April with a buy-in of €5,000 and a total prizepool of over €3 million. Texas Hold’em and Seven-Card Stud are the two most popular variations, and you’ll be sure to find at least one table for each in the casinos.

The word ‘shopping’ may have previously been met with a shudder and a flashback of seemingly never-ending sprees with female counterparts, but there isn’t a designer stiletto in sight here. If you manage to get to Berlin and want to relive some of your alcohol-fuelled nights back home, try Das Blaue Wunder, which sells the finest organic German wine, and the self-explanatory Absinthe Depot –both owners are partial to offering potential buyers free tasting samples.

Germany as a whole is guaranteed to provide the good times for a lads’ holiday. So forget Malia in the scorching summer sun, it’s all about chilling out with some cool German beer, watching local football and anticipating your wild night out.
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