Cologne - It was at the beginning of 2011 that Jens and Anke Floeter upped sticks and moved from Germany to Paraguay. After a somewhat trying beginning to their adventure, they are now well and truly settled in, having found their very own paradise in New Colombia, a short distance from the country's capital city Asuncion.
Yet though they may be deep in the heart of South America and over 6,500 miles from Germany, they still retain an attachment to their homeland, and more specifically to their favourite team: Hamburger SV.
It wasn’t a smooth crossing by any stretch of the imagination. The trip via a container ship from Hamburg to Brazil, which carried just four passengers, took 15 days. “We stayed in the owner’s cabin, which was like a luxury hotel,” recalls Jens. “The journey was fantastic. When we crossed the equator, we had a big party. It was amazing.”
New beginnings often throw up challenges, though, and the case was no different when the Floeters reached South America. They had already purchased a plot of land and arranged with a building company for electricity and water to be connected. On arriving in New Colombia, however, they found their new dwelling had neither, and the builder had disappeared with their money.
“We had a choice”, explains Jens. “We could either go back, or we could spend a bit more money to realise our dream.” Their luck thankfully changed when they met with the neighbours, who shared their own plot of land so that both households could contribute to the building costs of the Floeters' new residence.
The gesture of good will was certainly appreciated and construction on their new house, and the guest house adjacent, has since been completed. “If you’re looking for uninterrupted peace and quiet, our guesthouse is the place to come. Here you can leave all your cares behind. But you can also take a city trip to Asuncion and check out the Iguazu waterfall", says Jens. The only thing they can’t offer is a beach. “We often get asked how far we are from the sea, but Paraguay is in the middle of South America and doesn’t have a coastline!”
Saturday is HSV day!
The tranquility of the Floeters‘ life is certainly something special, but there is something that still ties them to their homeland – their beloved Hamburger SV. Via satellite television, the couple are able to watch Hamburg’s matches in the Bundesliga and with the time difference, they can sit down to lunch with a HSV match. “In the mornings we always go to the market. And if we get held up, I get restless and say to Anke, ‘Let’s get a move on, HSV are playing soon!’ “
On approaching the house, it becomes clear how keenly the couple, and founders of the 'Hamburg Fan Club Paraguay', still follow the Red Shorts. A HSV flag flies from the roof and the floor of the swimming pool bears the club badge. And if that wasn’t sentimental enough, the first line of the property's address reads, 'Avenida Uwe Seeler‘, after the Floeters were permitted to christen their land. What more could a Hamburg supporter wish for?
Information on staying in Anke and Jens‘ guesthouse can be found at www.gaestehaus-paraguay.npage.de.