The Big ANS Summer Meeting – By John Bongo

16 Aug

Being from Scotland, where you’re not allowed to smoke inside, the lack of decent facilities where you can smoke a cigar in relative comfort and warmth outside makes enjoying a cigar an almost impossible task.

So, imagine the surprise and disbelief on my friends faces when I told them I was going to a cigar smoking evening in the back shop of a Pharmacy !!!

The reactions ranged from, ” you’re kidding, right?” to ” there’s no chance that’s likely to happen”.

Well, I now have the pictures to prove it is a real thing and definitely happened.

I managed eventually to take up a long standing invitation from Andreas and Nino to come and enjoy an evening at the Pharmacy.

As it worked out it was a 4 day visit and from when I arrived on the Thursday until I left on the Sunday I had a fantastic time.

As it turned out I wasn’t to be the only International visitor, later on the Friday, the night of the Pharmacy meeting, groups from Holland, Belgium, Switzerland arrived. To be followed shortly by another from Austria. As tradition demands, we all met in a castle, actually Schloss Vollrads in the Rheingau, a beautiful winery/restaurant overlooking the vineyards and the Rhine river.

Introductions were made, drinks and food ordered and then out came the cigar travel cases, filled to the brim with the finest selections of Cuban and non Cuban cigars I’ve seen. I was beginning to get the feeling this was going to be an epic weekend.

After lunch and everyone being settled into their respective lodgings, we all met at Andy’s Irish Pub in Wörrstadt, hometown of the ANS meeting place, Adler Apotheke/pharmacy.

After a couple of beers and some Cubay 10 yr old Cuban rum it was time to head off to the Pharmacy.

When we arrived there were already a few regulars there, drinks were being poured, a mountain of food had been prepared and cigars were being selected.

Unfortunately I had brought the rain with me, liquid sunshine as we call it in Scotland and for the first 2-3 hours everyone was packed inside. I say packed as to my amazement there were at least 50 revellers taking up any and every space available, enjoying great conversation, fine cigars and camaraderie.

Although a stranger to 99% of those attending, I was welcomed like a long lost brother and made to feel completely at home within minutes of arriving. Even though my German, French, Spanish, Belgian and Dutch language skills are virtually non existent the conversation was flowing due to everyone else being able to speak English which I was most thankful for.

Not only were we telling stories and sharing drinks, cigars were being swapped and gifted in a most generous fashion giving the opportunity to try something one hadn’t sampled previously.

Thankfully after a while the rain abated and it was possible to move out into the courtyard where it was easier to mingle amongst the other attendees who were all having a great time.

So much so I completely lost track of time and was amazed to find out how late (or rather : early) it was.

It’s true what they say, time does fly when you’re enjoying yourself.

Eventually the good folks of ANS drifted off leaving a few of us to finish our drinks and cigars before heading back to the Hotel for a very few hours of sleep before meeting for breakfast.

Nino had arranged for breakfast at Cafe Emrich, another fine Wörrstadt institution for cigar smokers.

After breakfast some of us took a trip into Saarbrücken where we visited the excellent Salih Dalay LCDH and I sampled some fine cigars with Nino, Jorg and Christian. After a walk through the old part of the city next to France and a fine burger for lunch, I was lucky enough to try a 35 year old Davidoff from Nino. A beautiful and still surprisingly powerful cigar.

After returning to Wörrstadt we again met up in the Irish Pub for a hair of the dog and we were treated to some fine German Rock on the jukebox. Another great night was enjoyed with more cigars and conversation.

Sunday was the farewell brunch at the Mommenheim Golfplatz and most enjoyable it was. Cigars and coffee after brunch were again enjoyed and eventually everyone left to start their homeward journeys.

Nino took Peter and me for a tour of the local vineyards, the medieval Roman chapel at the foot of the Wißberg and a drink enjoying the view at the St. Johann Golfplatz before he took me back to the airport for the return flight.

I’m very grateful to Andreas and Nino for the opportunity to enjoy such a fantastic event, meet such friendly people over a wonderful weekend in a quite stunning part of the world.

I’m constantly amazed that this cigar smoking hobby of ours, brings me into contact with some of kindest and friendliest people I now have the good fortune to call my friends and I want to thank all the ANS regulars, especially Nino, Andreas, Thomas and Irene, Jan and Lily, Peter, Christian and Jorg who made it a most memorable weekend.

I look forward to seeing you all at an ANS gathering in the future if not even sooner.




One Response to “The Big ANS Summer Meeting – By John Bongo”

  1. Guy 21/08/2017 at 19:04 #

    Great write up. Enjoyed it thoroughly