No matter how much of a gear nerd you are, the most memorable aspects of traveling to big trade shows like Musikmesse (held April 15-18 in Frankfurt) are the cool people you meet, the weird things you see, and the unforgettable experiences you have. This year’s show in Frankfurt was no different. The days were long and exhausting, but Nashville Video Editor Perry Bean and I had a blast on the job and off. Here are some of the highlights from our Musikmesse 2015 trip.

1. Jet-lagged train rides to below-ground, hostel-sized rooms with a view of a painted cement wall.

2. Frankfurt sightseeing the day before Musikmesse madness began.

3. Talking music, family life, politics, and economics till 4 a.m. on the hotel patio with Torsten and Matthias, two drunk German banker dudes who bought us beers out of the blue the first night. (This was after sleeping a total of 1.5 hours in two days. Great way to start Messe!)

4. A couple nights later, following Matthias’ directions to his favorite Frankfurt grub spot and having other locals haze us with cheese-and-onion blobs that tasted like cow crap. Thanks, mein freunds!

5. The paper-towel ads and er … unusual vending-machine travel accessories (not shown out of respect for our more staid readers) in the restroom at the dung-cheese place.

6. Downing pear and cherry schnapps—or whatever the hell those paint-peeling libations were—with the fun guys from Fibenare Guitars.

7. Sappy ’80s Christian pop inexplicably playing in the convention-center hallways every morning. Cruel and unusual, Musikmesse!

8. Having to form a 10' circle of chairs, stools, and bags around Michel Lag and his demo guy to stop oblivious Musikmesse visitors from walking in front of the camera during our video shoot.

9. Finally meeting Mod Garage columnist Dirk Wacker in person in a blaring-loud booth, not recognizing him in my sleep-deprived stupor, and thinking he said his name was Duke. So sorry, Dirk—what can I say?!

10. Hanging with Nikos (middle), Chris (left), and George (right middle) from Tsakalis AudioTubeWorks and GuitarSpot.GR—three of the biggest-hearted guitar geeks on the planet who were way too excited to be with two dorks from PG. Auf wiedersehen, malakas!