Phoenix LDC on tour – Trip to Handeloh/Hamburg, Germany
Monday 8th to Monday 15th April 2013
Day 1 – Monday – together with Kate & Charlie Bell we set off from Larnaca Airport, South Cyprus at 19:25 hrs. (local time) and after an uneventful journey, arrived at Hamburg International Airport at 22:40 hrs. (local time). Our pre-booked taxi was there to meet us for our 45 minute journey to the Hotel Fuchs in the village of Handeloh – some 25 kms south of Hamburg. Rita Hepp & René Schőn were at the hotel to greet us – so nice to see them again. Liz & Dave Richardson had already arrived earlier that afternoon from Luton Airport while Corrie & Leo de Roo travelled up by car from their home in Holland the previous day. The hotel had kindly provided sandwiches and fruit in our room – a welcoming gesture. So now our little party was complete with eight members of Phoenix Line Dance Club ready for action.
Day 2 – Tuesday – after a hearty breakfast, René & Rita collected us from the hotel and took us for a “short” walk to a nearby farm café. It was here that we enjoyed a hot drink and cakes. The walk back to the hotel was followed by a visit to the local supermarket to stock up drinks and nibbles for our “end of evening get together” – quite normal!
After an early dinner at the hotel we set off for our first line dance session with Conny Kapp and the Beechwood Line Dancers at their lesson held in the sports hall of a school in a neighbouring village. We soon got to grips with the dancing and made some new friends. We learnt some new dances and were given the opportunity to teach some of our dances. After a very pleasant evening we all returned to our hotel for some “nightcaps” in our room – the usual place for ending an evening out!
Day 3 – Wednesday – this was the day that René and Rita took us on a guided walking tour of Lűneburg old town. The tour began at the historic Town Hall and market place – it was here that we sampled some bratwurst sausage, a must when in Germany! The town was famous in days gone by for its salt production and exports making it a very wealthy district. We even managed to get a look at the workings of a medieval crane (still in full working order) that was used to load and unload cargo from the river boats – no question of Health & Safety here!
Another sumptuous dinner in the hotel dining room was followed by the usual night cap in our room.
Day 4 – Thursday – following our usual breakfast feast, Rita took Denise, Liz & Dave by car to the nearby town of Buchholz for a bit of retail therapy.
After another early dinner it was time to set off to our second line dance session, this time with Conny and her friends from Longhorns Dance Group. The venue was an hour and a half drive from Handeloh in a hotel/restaurant in the Hamburg district of Nordstadt. Many of the dancers from Beechwood were there too. Again we learnt some new dances We also taught the class a couple of our new dances – “Only When You’re Lonely” and “That Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll”, both of which were well received. The dance session carried until 11:00 pm so by the time we returned to our hotel it was too late for our “night cap”!
Day 5 – Friday – following breakfast, René and Rita took us by train into Hamburg to visit “Miniatur Wunderland” – a very impressive layout of miniature scenes from various European countries – the most impressive scene being a fully operational airport with planes taking off and landing!
After yet another early dinner at the hotel we set off for the nearby village of Wesel for the start of the main event – a Country Music & Line Dance Festival held in the “Heide Halle”. The evening’s event was very well attended and was much like our Line Dance Socials. Our dancers managed to keep up and a thoroughly good evening was had by all. We stayed until around mid-night before returning to the hotel for that all important “night cap” to round off another very pleasant day.
Day 6 – Saturday – this, being the second day of the Country Music & Line Dance Festival, was the day we had been waiting for, a chance to participate in a well organised Line Dance event. The line dance workshop began at 11:00 am with Gudrun Schneider, a well-respected choreographer and line dance instructor, putting us through our paces. New dances were taught together with many old favourites during a two hour session. We returned to our hotel for a light lunch and decided to rest up in preparation for the evening’s line dance party. We returned to the Heide Halle at around 7:00 pm to join around two hundred line dancers for, what turned out to be, the very best line dance event we had ever attended. The DJ for the evening was DJ Henry who, together with the live Country music band, “Take U.S. Music”, kept the dance floor full until well past mid-night. We finally got to bed at around 1:00 am, tired but very happy!
Day 7 – Sunday – time for a well-deserved rest and reflect on the events of the past few days. Went for a short walk in the woods behind the hotel then came back and packed our cases in readiness for the long journey the next day. René and Rita joined us for a final dinner at the hotel during which time the week’s events were discussed with fondness and in fine detail!
Day 8 – Monday – all too soon our second German experience was over and it was time to finish the packing the cases. René and Rita joined us after breakfast at the hotel to say goodbye before we set off for the 13:20 departure flight back to Cyprus.
Another successful venture for Phoenix LDC on our second trip to Germany and, all being well, we hope to return at some future date.
Steve & Denise Bisson