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Marc from England

Having originally booked into two 2 star hotels in Munich and Berlin last December I found that they had doubled the price of the rooms from just over 100 to over 200 euros which would have made a 5 night trip over 1000 euros! In early January I read about the host a fan scheme in the travel section of a big english Sunday newspaper, The Observer, which was explaining that the site had been set up to help fans find cheap accomodation because of demand. I think the site was in its early stages at that point because there was not much on there but, I found it very easy to use and quickly established contact with a couple who had a flat close to the centre of Munich and a family who had a room in Zehlendorf in the south west suburbs of Berlin.
It was booked very quickly and, although between Janaury and June I received lots more offers, I was happy enough to stay with what I had booked. So I had two nights in Munich with a couple in their late twenties/early thirties who were very hospitable, cooked for us on their barbecue and invited us to the man's 30th birthday drinks party which happened to be the second night we were there (and made a 6am start the next morning to catch a Berlin flight a little difficult!) By coincidence they had tickets for the same game as us (Ivory Coast v Serbia in Munich) and so we all went together.
Overall, I had a fantastic visit to Germany and was very sad to come back after only 5 days. Although I had visited Berlin 3 times before and had been quite a few times to industrial areas in my last job, I found Germany a totally different place. The people were all incredibly friendly and helpful (I'm still exchanging emails with the people we stayed with), the tournament was superbly organised, the fan fests a brilliant idea but most of all I remember a different country…after Germany had beaten Sweden and we were having dinner by the Spree there were thousands and thousands of people streaming by carrying the flag, singing, driving round in cars pipping the horns…something more like Italy and Spain than Germany…seems more like a new country….
Overall a great impression of the tournament, Germany and the German people….interestingly, now England are out because the image of Germany has changed so much over here I think most people will be cheering Germany on to win the tournament…