Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, and the hearing damage I suffered when I was ten feet from the stage for Krypteria and Delain was totally worth it. As for the other bands, a few were really good, some were decent, and some were just trying too hard to be hardcore, the end result of which was that they were lousy– at least, in my opinion.
The worst part was the heat. Here’s a bit of advice: if you ever have to pick between suffering through a heat wave in Europe or suffering through a heat wave in America, pick America. It may be five to ten degrees hotter, but we have iced drinks and air conditioning to compensate. In Europe (at least the parts of it I’ve been to), air conditioning is rare, and drinks with ice in them are even rarer, which means you pretty much have to sweat out the heat wave, even if you aren’t going to outdoor events.
At the festival, they’ve been coping by spraying the crowd down with hoses, and I’ve put up with some really loud music I don’t particularly like in order to get wet– it’s pretty much the only way to stay cool. The next best option is claiming one of the high-demand bits of shade and hoping for a breeze, but it’s a poor second choice. To make things worse, security is technically not supposed to allow outside drinks in– and the drinks they sell you are 8-ounce cups of beer, warm cola or warm sparkling water at two to three Euros apiece.
Luckily, most of the security guys will let you slide by with a bottle of water, but some of them are evil.
Meanwhile, in addition to exploring the German metal scene, we’ve also been exploring some of the local towns. Quedlinburg is a UNESCO Heritage Site and was one ruled by an abbess, from an abbey/fortress/compound that sits on a tall hill in the Southwest part of town, and provides an impressive view. The cathedral has a pretty cool crypt, which we almost got locked in when a tour group left and shut the door behind them. We finally figured out how to work the latch, but for a moment I was worried. I don’t know how to say, “Help, I’m locked inside the crypt” in German– although it definitely seems like one of those “Essential Phrases” that guidebooks about foreign countries should include.
We’ve also been monitoring Germany’s progress in the World Cup– or, rather, its demise at Spanish hands, which we watched at an outdoor cafe in the town square. (Later, we tried to sleep through the noise of drunk, disappointed football hooligans in the street, with limited success.)
And of course, we’ve been trying the local Biergartens. I’ll definitely say this for the Germans– they make some mighty fine beer, and the food in general has been pretty good, too. (I know, I complained about it on Twitter a few days ago, but that was mainly just an excuse to make a pun involving “wurst.”)
Tomorrow Mark and Roberta head home and I strike out on my own. I’m actually booked on the same train to Munich that they are– but after that, they head for the airport, and I head for a hostel, to spend two days in the capital of The Free State of Bavaria. I predict drinking will occur. Although not, sadly, of ice water.