Bollerwagens, or the North German Drinking Tour

[:en]If you ever move to north Germany, specially the Lower Saxony/Bremen area, and befriend the locals, don’t be surprised to receive invitations to Bollerwagon tours on a regular basis. Whether it’s in late winter (January-March) or May or Summer or Bachellor party or just becuse, they love their Bollerwagons. And what the heck is a Bollerwagon and what does a Bollerwagon tour entails you may ask. That’s what we are here to clarify today (from the point of view of a foreigner, a.k.a. me!), because no, it is not a cake!

CULTURAL CURIOSITIES: Bollerwagens, or the North German Drinking Tour || Wanderwings

A Bollerwagon is no more and no less than a hand wagon, one of those you use to carry your children or your children’s toys in the US, but here they are a bit more creative.

You can get one yourself at Bollerwagen.com if you fancy one

Mostly hand-crafted and decorated, some people go as far as attaching speakers, mini fridges, and even a beach parasol! Because, my friends, a Bollerwagon tour is…*drum roll* a drinking tour (mostly). Basically fill the cart with liquor, beer, and all sorts of funny smelling schnapps, some snacks, and head off to wander around town, countryside, anywhere you fancy…for a couple hours. The destination is the road…mostly! And you’ll have a Bollerwagen tour.

CULTURAL CURIOSITIES: Bollerwagens, or the North German Drinking Tour
CULTURAL CURIOSITIES: Bollerwagens, or the North German Drinking Tour

As I mentioned before, there are several kinds of Bollerwagen tours. If it’s a Kohlfahrt (usually between January and March) the destination will be a restaurant where you’ll stuff yourself in Grünkohl und Pinkeln (Green cabbage and a special type of sausage) hence the name “Kohl” fahrt (cabbage tour). Why? Because it’s cabbage season, that’s why.  (sorry I don’t have a photo of the food, and couldn’t find any either…)

Either way, it is not all drinking and walking, there are rules to a Bollerwagen tour (specially if it’s a Kohlfahrt), which you’ll have to learn the hard way. For example, you have to do a shot (in a special shot glass) in every crossroads, drink a shot every time you encounter another Bollerwagon tour, or greet any cyclists that pass you by, to name a few. If I’m being completely honest, I still haven’t managed to get them all myself. Oh and let’s not forget the games…along the tour you’ll divide in teams and play (pre-organised) games to become the Kohlfahrt royalty of the season!

Leaving Kohlfahrts behind, a bit later in the year, around mid-May, you may encounter yourself with a mysterious invitation to a Himmelfahrt Bollerwagen tour, on Vaterstag (Father’s day). This one is definitely a nice walk around the fields around Bremen for us, whether it’s sun or rain. Pretty much the same as a Kohlfahrt without all the crazy games and rules.

And the rest of the time…well it’ll depend on the weather, if it’s nice, you’ll run across many tours in and around the city. Any excuse to have a good time, right? But remember to eat well before and bring a snack with otherwise…

These guys went a step further! High-Tech Bollerwagen!

Have you ever been to a Bollerwagen tour? Did you have a good time? Would you go to one?

[:es]If you ever move to north Germany, specially the Lower Saxony/Bremen area, and befriend the locals, don’t be surprised to receive invitations to Bollerwagon tours on a regular basis. Whether it’s in late winter (January-March) or May or Summer or Bachellor party or just becuse, they love their Bollerwagons. And what the heck is a Bollerwagon and what does a Bollerwagon tour entails you may ask. That’s what we are here to clarify today (from the point of view of a foreigner, a.k.a. me!), because no, it is not a cake!

CULTURAL CURIOSITIES: Bollerwagens, or the North German Drinking Tour || Wanderwings

A Bollerwagon is no more and no less than a hand wagon, one of those you use to carry your children or your children’s toys in the US, but here they are a bit more creative.

You can get one yourself at Bollerwagen.com if you fancy one

Mostly hand-crafted and decorated, some people go as far as attaching speakers, mini fridges, and even a beach parasol! Because, my friends, a Bollerwagon tour is…*drum roll* a drinking tour (mostly). Basically fill the cart with liquor, beer, and all sorts of funny smelling schnapps, some snacks, and head off to wander around town, countryside, anywhere you fancy…for a couple hours. The destination is the road…mostly! And you’ll have a Bollerwagen tour.

CULTURAL CURIOSITIES: Bollerwagens, or the North German Drinking Tour
CULTURAL CURIOSITIES: Bollerwagens, or the North German Drinking Tour

As I mentioned before, there are several kinds of Bollerwagen tours. If it’s a Kohlfahrt (usually between January and March) the destination will be a restaurant where you’ll stuff yourself in Grünkohl und Pinkeln (Green cabbage and a special type of sausage) hence the name “Kohl” fahrt (cabbage tour). Why? Because it’s cabbage season, that’s why.  (sorry I don’t have a photo of the food, and couldn’t find any either…)

Either way, it is not all drinking and walking, there are rules to a Bollerwagen tour (specially if it’s a Kohlfahrt), which you’ll have to learn the hard way. For example, you have to do a shot (in a special shot glass) in every crossroads, drink a shot every time you encounter another Bollerwagon tour, or greet any cyclists that pass you by, to name a few. If I’m being completely honest, I still haven’t managed to get them all myself. Oh and let’s not forget the games…along the tour you’ll divide in teams and play (pre-organised) games to become the Kohlfahrt royalty of the season!

Leaving Kohlfahrts behind, a bit later in the year, around mid-May, you may encounter yourself with a mysterious invitation to a Himmelfahrt Bollerwagen tour, on Vaterstag (Father’s day). This one is definitely a nice walk around the fields around Bremen for us, whether it’s sun or rain. Pretty much the same as a Kohlfahrt without all the crazy games and rules.

And the rest of the time…well it’ll depend on the weather, if it’s nice, you’ll run across many tours in and around the city. Any excuse to have a good time, right? But remember to eat well before and bring a snack with otherwise…

These guys went a step further! High-Tech Bollerwagen!

Have you ever been to a Bollerwagen tour? Did you have a good time? Would you go to one?

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily of Em Busy Living
    May 21, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Ha! I’d never heard of bollerwagens before this, but it sounds like a blast!

    • Reply
      Henar - Wanderwings.com
      May 22, 2015 at 9:51 am

      I had never heard of them either until a little over a year ago when I was invited to my first Kohlfahrt…i throughly recommend going if you ever have the chance Emily!

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