Day two started with a fight.
The hotel had seemed deserted when we arrived. Despite a bit of bumping around during the night I'd expected few other guests. Arriving in an empty breakfast room, this view seemed confirmed. Then, as we were still discussing which table to sit at, a horde descended. A horde of middle-aged cyclists, who ravaged the buffet before our eyes. I thought Mike was going to cry. Finally we fought our way to the front. I got the last egg.
We didn't need the sign posts pointing the way to Kreuzberg, the string of men winding up the road toward the church led the way. I'd expected it to be a full house in the church - wrong again. Everyone was where every sensible person would be - on a seat under the trees, a mug of beer bristling with condensation on the table before them. Where to start? Left to right seemed the logical way, so we kicked off in Friedel. Friedels are weird bunch - they built a brewpub on a hill in the middle of nowhere and leased out their own brewery to someone else. As it happens, to Andy, whose pub we had been in the day before.
The beers were a bit dodgy. "That's infected, Mike." Mike had a doppelbock - bizarrely I hadn't opted for that as my breakfast drink. My Märzen wasn't much better. Very brewpubby. And I don't mean that as a compliment.
Quickly moving on, we took our place in peaceful shade, seated on and amidst rough, rustic furniture at Lieberth's Keller. Two words to tell you how good the beer was: Bayrsicher Anstich - beer served the way god intended. The garden slowly filled up around us and revellers slowly filled up with beer, schnapps and pork. The food, we can't forget the food, big chunks of it, roasting, crackling. Our beer, sadly was soon diluted by the streams of drool as we eyed the big hunks of pork passing by on other people's plates. Finally our numbers we called and we retrieved our sides of pork. Soon we were porking down the pork.
In Germany, Father's Day is more than just getting drunk with your mates - first you have to build a cart to house your entertainment and snack needs. The guys who parked their cart next to our table had obviously spent more than two hours building it. It included a smoke machine, a popcorn machine, two optics for schnapps and a sound system - all under a parasol. Oh, and a barrel of beer, too.
We didn't spend a long time there - no more than four or five hours. Sadly there was no bus strike, so we were forced to leave. We walked back to the bus stop, where several member of an angling club chatted with us in pretty good English. When the bus pulled up it was even more mobbed than the morning bus. Pushing aside the ancient members of the angling club we nabbed the last two seats. As the bus headed back towards our hotel, it kept filling up with more happy dads. One peacefully inebriated chav got the entire bus laughing by suddenly pulling out his wallet and yelling "ticket inspector!!!"
Shockingly, we arrived back at our hotel on time. Two elderly lady cyclists wanted to grab our rooms, but we beat them off with their air pumps. Our plan was to finish the day at, where else?, another bierkeller. We asked the hotel proprietors to call us a taxi, but they declined and instead offered to drive us there themselves. We pulled into St. Georgen Keller in time to hear the band singing some song about Amsterdam, but, while the other guests seemed fascinated, we managed to snag two seats in the best part of the beer garden.
Down the hill we got some L. beer from Bayrischer Anstich but it was a bit diacytelly this year. It was the same in our hotel. Shame really as last year it was one of the best beers of the whole trip.
As we sat there, a young guy came to our table and asked "Do you like my cart?" There's no real answer to that. Other than: "Yes." I didn't want to get into another fight.
Brauhaus am Kreuzberg - Friedels Keller
91352 Hallerndorf, Germany
91362 Hallerndorf, Deutschland
Tel. 09545 / 50 93 46
Votes for Women? - I've just watched Emmeline Pankhurst: The Making of a Militant, shown on BBC Four last night at the same time that the England football team were taking on...
8 hours ago