We began our trip in Mannheim watching Germany play in the World Cup. And if everything went according to plan, we would be watching Germany play a quarterfinal match back in Mannheim on the last day of our trip. Well, everything did go to plan as Germany won Group D. They then went on to beat England to set up a showdown with fellow world power Argentina.
Returning to Mannheim in time for the match involved catching a train from Prague at 6:30am. Despite missing our first connection in Dresden and waiting an extra hour for the next train, our final train of the day pulled into Mannheim just ten minutes after originally planned.
With temperatures approaching 100 degrees, we planned to watch the match in the air conditioned comfort of the Stadthaus, a shopping complex in the center of Mannheim. By the time we checked into the hotel room and dropped our bags off, it was time for kickoff. As we walked the streets of Mannheim headed to the Stadthaus, we heard a great roar followed by the honking of car horns. Germany had scored an early goal.
Ten hours after leaving Prague, we were watching Germany v. Argentina with Ute and Wolfie and enjoying our first beers of the day. But this isn’t a story about the game (if you haven’t heard, Germany beat Argentina 4-0). It’s about the amazing celebration that followed.
Once the final whistle blew, fans streamed to the unofficial celebration point in the city, the Wasserturm (Water Tower). The party is too difficult to describe in words, but images explain it all.
For a trip that we waited two years to make, we couldn’t have scripted a better end. As we drank our last beers with Ute and Wolfie at the Zentrale, we agreed that we have to do it all again in four years.