Travel notes

Lisbon at 6 am is a lot blacker and fatter than it is at other times of day. But then, to be fair (unkind?) this is true of the serving classes in most cities.

Berliners aren\’t going to win any prizes in the \”My God, they\’re an attractive bunch\” race. This is on average of course…..Lisbon\’s better.

Saxons can be very helpful indeed. I\’ve asked four people for directions so far. One to me to bugger off but he was a yuppie so that\’s normal anywhere. Of the other three, one gave good directions even though we had no mutually intelligible language. The second told me in English exactly how to get where I was going…..I saw him about 10 minutes later while he was still walking his dog and he was most worried that I was still lost. \”No, no, I\’m just making sure I know where I\’ve got to go for a meeting tomorrow\”. \”Oh, excellent, well, good night now and by the way, good luck in your meeting!\”.

The fourth was a delivery van driver. Always a good bet for directions really. He told me to hang on a moment, raced off and made his delivery then insisted that he wouldn\’t give me directions. No, no, don\’t be silly, hop in and I\’ll take you round there.

Beer\’s good here. One barmaid was worried when I ordered the beer from the next town over (Meissen)…yes, I know it\’s not local but I\’d like to try it anyway. \”Ach, no, it\’s not that it\’s not local, it\’s that it\’s not a Pilsener. You might not like it\”.

It was different, a Weissen…..the reason for Oktoberfest is that in the old days you couldn\’t brew a pilsener in the summer. Too hot for the yeast. So May-September you get various Weissens…….and then a huge blowout when you can have pilsener again. So, err, why would anyone drink a not pilsener when they can have a pilsener was her reasoning.

There\’s a certain directness here as well. The area behind the trains station has a name, you knpow, like all the little constituent villages etc around.

\”Hinter der bahnhof\” is the name on the map which is refreshing really. The shitty area (and oh yes, it is) round the back of the train station is called \”the bit at the back of the train station\”.

Oh, and the slags from the \’ore mountains? Found 10,000 of \’em in a field. Before I do anything with them they\’ve got to be tested of course….


21 thoughts on “Travel notes”

  1. Have I understood you correctly – you have found 10000 slags in a whore mountain behind Berlin railway station?

    Have fun!

  2. Ya see, this is why the internet beats old worn out media hands down.

    Education: Who knew about the ‘ore mountain?

    Erudition: My German certainly isn’t up to correcting Tim, but there’s always someone willing to enlighten us, thus ensuring that we never embarrass ourselves round the back of a German railway station.

    Politics: Who knew that our selfless European bureaucratic servants were stockpiling such goodies for our future delectaion.

    And, of course, humour.

  3. Richard,

    cuffleyburgers, I think it’s one of those EU things, like the wine lake and the butter mountain.

    Put them all together and you’ve got an epic version of Last Tango in Paris.

  4. So, err, why would anyone drink a not pilsener when they can have a pilsener was her reasoning.

    Impeccable reasoning and I trust you took note? That Weiss beer is too heavy and leaves a shocking hangover, pilsener, on the other hand, can be drunk ’till the cows come home without getting a hangover.

  5. If you’re travelling through Frankfurt drop me an email with your mobile number and stop by for some more beer!

  6. The city of Chur, the capital of the trilingual Swiss canton of Graubünden, has a districted named Welschdörfli, which translates as “little foreign speaking village”. This dates from the time when Chur spoke German and the little village across the river spoke Romansch. Alas, the city has now swallowed the village, which has become German speaking too, but which retains the name.

  7. Wheat beer is for warm weather. But yeah, a pilsener is better if your are planning on drinking heavily. The Bavarians do pils in litre glasses, but weiss tends to max out at a half litre. I drunk some lovely wheat beers in the western Ukraine recently. Stalin may have committed genocide against the Ukrainians and then relocated much of the population, but the beer making skills taught to this part of the world by the Austrians were still not lost.

  8. On my first visit to Berlin I was struck by how ugly the people were. There was back-up evidence – the advertising posters: if for a Berlin store, plain models; if for a Germany-wide chain, attractive models.

  9. Some advice, if not too late.

    (1) There is a mining and geology – oriented university at Freiberg (Erzgibirge) which goes back several centuries. Perhaps one of your contacts can put you in touch with the librarians or professoriate there. The Germans record everything, there may be lots of information to help you.

    (2) Try a Koestritzer Schwarz Bier from a tap. It is a dark beer and, I think, worth a try.

  10. I’ve always got on well with the Krauts, generous folk, good cooks too. Friendly,loyal, and reliable.

    My only problem with them is the getting naked thing. I don’t know why, but they do seem awfully keen on getting all naked. And after you’ve seen that, you can never even look at an oven-ready turkey, ever again.

    Visit Berlin by all means. But wait until after the first really hard frost.

  11. Great stuff Monty! I wasn’t aware of my people’s affection to public nudity yet, as I always thought we are making big steps towards reaching American levels of prudery…

    It’s called either “Weizen” (Wheat [Beer]) or “Weißbier” (White Beer) by the way.

  12. It’s those ossis who go in for the ostentatious displays of meat’n’2’veg. Or the bush and melons ([voice=”Herr Flick”]ve are German girls, ve shall take ze melons[/voice]). The rest of us are too busy with that prudery thing.

    Es gibt immer noch zwei Deutschlands.

  13. Not strictly true that its just the Ossis. There are lots of them down south (Freistaat Bayern) who are plenty keen to get their kit off. For proof just take a wander through the English Garden in Munich during Summer. Google for Freikörperkultur (FKK) to find the ethos behind it.

  14. “Behind the train station” = “shitty area full of crack whores” in any reasonable parsing of any language known to man. King’s Cross springs to mind, and have you ever been in a pub near Victoria Station? Likewise, off the top of my head, Bradford Interchange, Portsmouth Harbour and Waverley.

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