Things I learnt on my stag weekend

by Steve

Allianz ArenaLast weekend I and fourteen friends descended upon the good city of Munich for a traditional stag/bachelor party, prior to my wedding. I would regale you with tales, but I’m not sure I’m capable of constructing a compelling narrative from fifteen men drinking monumental levels of drink. Suffice to say, I had a wonderful time. The stag/bachelor party appears to be some form of rite of passage, so it seems rather apt that I took from the weekend a number of important lessons.

1. I’m never drinking again

I’m serious. Well, sort of. When I say ‘never’, I mean ‘not until the wedding, at least’, and I also mean ‘I’m never drinking that sort of volume of alcohol again’. It seems traditional for the attendees on a stag weekend to try to break the groom-to-be, and they very nearly succeeded. Friday was a pretty heavy night, and Saturday even more so. I sincerely hope I never again feel as awful as I did on Sunday. I was just about able to handle solids by Monday evening. I think the hangover finally lifted sometime Tuesday. I think it is time I hung up my drinking boots. Any future drinking (should there be any) will be on a purely moderate and amateur level. For the time-being, I’ll have a diet coke, thanks.

2. I’m determined to make my marriage work

…if only so I don’t have to go through the horrors of a Stag Hangover again. But joking aside, I really missed my Significant Other. As fun as it is spending time with pals in a European City, nothing quite beats a night in with my best friend. Yes, reader, I’m getting soppy. But it’s my blog and I’ll get soppy if I want to.

3. The Allianz Arena is an incredible stadium

Saturday afternoon saw us make the trip out to the Allianz Arena to see Bayern Munich take on Kaiserslautern. It is quite the spectacle, a tyre-shaped spaceship landed in the desolate, windswept outskirts of the city. It was a truly breathtaking and otherworldly sight. Somehow we managed to buy tickets just before the game from the ticket office, while others in our party took the tout route successfully.

Inside the stadium we were greeted with a friendly yet excited atmosphere, fun crowd interaction with the stadium announcer (“Danke!” from the announcer, “Bitte!” from the crowd and so on), and a 5-1 win for the home side. A fantastic afternoon.

4. Buying something in the Allianz Arena is not as easy as you might think

The only possible downside was the purchasing procedure in the stadium. For some reason, money cannot change hands. This was not immediately evident. It soon became clear that we needed to queue for an “ArenaCard”, put money on the card, and then (and only then) queue for food and drink. This made for a rather frantic half-time. The Glühwein was great, though.

5. I need vegetables in my diet

Munich lived up to the German stereotype, by offering a diet consisting of meat, more meat, sausages and pickled cabbage. With the odd pretzel thrown in. Now, I love sausages, sauerkraut and pretzels more than the average man, but by the end of the weekend I just wanted some green vegetables. And some fruit. Maybe even a little salad. If I had stayed much longer I might have got scurvy.

6. The people of Munich are very friendly

Example: one of my companions was struggling with a cigarette machine in the early hours of the morning. It wouldn’t accept his money. A local approached him, paid with a credit card, and then exchanged the cigarettes for the cash. My friend asked, “Would you like a cigarette?” to which the kindly stranger replied, “No, it’s fine. I don’t smoke”. I doubt you would get that in London.

7. Munich is bloody cold in January

I think my lungs have only just thawed out.

8. I am very lucky to have such good friends

They really didn’t have to fly all the way out to Munich to see me off, but I am incredibly grateful and humbled that they did. Whenever I wear my souvenir stag weekend t-shirt I shall think of them fondly, in particular my best man, who had the thankless task of co-ordinating a bunch of drunk men in a foreign country, some of whom he’d never even met before.

There may be more things I would have learnt, but Munich’s beer and an ill-considered amount of Jägermeister rotted my brain. Now, bring on the wedding! Only a few short weeks away now…

Image by Sergiu Bacioiu via Flickr