I visited Germany once.
My brother was stationed there with the Canadian Army and he was dating a German lady, Gabi, who is now my sister-in-law.
Germany has the Autobahn, but she took us along slow, winding roads with achingly beautiful scenes of lovingly cared-for farms and country homes.
We stayed in “pensions” and sat down to three-hour meals.
It was my wife’s birthday and, so, my brother and I conducted a secret mission to find birthday candles and cake. This is surprisingly difficult in Germany. We found a candle shop, but we finally had to sing Happy Birthday To You to the sales staff before they knew what we were looking for. They were found, wrapped in waxed paper, in a small drawer that was eight feet from the wood-slat floor.
And Germans aren’t big on sweets, so restaurants typically don’t serve dessert. But they did allow us to bring our own Black Forest Cake.
We hadn’t seen another tourist for days, so the entire restaurant was filled with bemused Germans who had never seen this birthday ritual.
We felt so exotic.
There you have it: a 200-word travel story from Germany.
It is a little slice from a trip I took 25 years ago that included some interesting facts and the the all-important personal connection.
Can you write a 500-word travel story like this? If so, What’s Up Yukon may “hire” you to be our “foreign correspondent”. Our partner, Condor Airlines, will fly you and a guest to Frankfurt, Germany.
Being the gateway to Europe, you can travel anywhere you want from there. Write up a couple of stories, snap some pictures and send them back for us to print.
The “job interview” is easy: just write a 500-word European travel story and submit it to me at [email protected] and I will forward those that meet the criteria to Condor Airlines to choose.
We will print some in our paper from now until the end of the contest, May 10. I understand that Condor Airlines wants to print some in its newsletter as well.
Now, remember, we are the “Paper of Fun”. We need for you to show your fellow Northerners — Hello, Inuvik, Atlin, Skagway and Haines! — how they could have fun in Europe.
Do your research (you don’t need to have been to Europe already) and give us 500 words on how your readers can have fun in Europe.
Here’s a tip: What fact about Europe makes you say, “Gee Whiz”?
That … that right there … that is what you should write about. You don’t need big, flowery words and you don’t need a lot of historical facts.
My “Gee Whiz Fact” was that Germans don’t celebrate birthdays like we do in North America. And I spun off 200 words in 10 minutes.
Easy, eh? (Please just don’t tell my publisher or else I’ll never get a raise.)
To make it even easier, I want you to know that I will be your editor from the moment you decide to enter a travel story to the time you review my edited version of it. I am here to help any writer who wants to contribute to our fun paper.
Fun? Heck, yeah. Have a look at how we weighted the scoring:
Accurate Facts: 25
Storytelling Skills: 25
Relevance to the Yukon: 10
Spelling and grammar: 10
Suitable Length: 5
See? Just being able to tell a good story with enthusiasm is half of your score.
To see the full set of guidelines, go to old.whatsupyukon.com. To enter or to ask any questions, please send me an e-mail at [email protected].
And may the funnest writer win.