Sunday, 4 August 2013

Franconia day five

It's all my fault. Let me make that clear. All my fault.

Our four days in Ebermannstadt done, it's time to make our way to the bright lights of Munich.

"Don't you think we should check out now, dad?" It's 09:15 and check out time is 10:00.

"Nah, we've ages yet." I continue to go ticky tack on my fliptop.

"Daad, can't we check out?" This is getting irritating. It's not even 09:30 yet.

"Oh, OK then." I'm thinking that there will be time for a quick beer in the station pub. Our train isn't until 11:02.

"I can't remember if I've already paid for the hotel or not."

Turns out neither can the owner. After looking through some bills we decide that I haven't.

"Is a credit card OK?"

"No, only a bank card."

We try my card and it's rejected.

"I'll go and get cash. You stay here, Andrew."

By now it's 09:40. On my way to the bank, inbetween fretting about whether it will let me take out 300 euros, I start to think of the train journey. Shit. Our train in Forchheim is at 11:06. We need to take the 10:02 from Ebermannstadt, not the 11:02 like I thought. No wonder Andrew was nagging me. Double shit. I increase my pace, despite the heat.

The machine plays nicely and spits out 300 euros. It's now 09:48, but at least I've enough cash to free Andrew. I've sort of left him their as hostage. It's 09:52 when I get back to Gasthof zur Post. And can't find the owner. This is getting tight. We finally find, her, pay and set off for the station. Andrew doesn't say anything.

"Don't worry, we've got plenty of time." Andrew replies by picking up the pace to a near run.

We hear the train rattle in as we get close to the station. No time to piss around. They turn around pretty much immediately. The last passengers are already getting on as we reach the platform. We break into a sprint, diving through the doors just before they close.

"I told you we had plenty of time." Andrew's not in the talking mood.

You know the term "bathed in sweat"? It's literally true. I'm as wet as if I'd had a bucket of water poured over me.

"At least you'll always remember this part of the journey." Andrew's still not in the mood for chatting.

"Think of it as an important lesson," I'm quickly running out of clichés and Andrew is no more talkative, "a character-building experience."

He's just about forgiven me by the time we get to Forchheim. His anger cooling at about the same rate as my sweat dries.

Luckily I've brought along some impulse schnapps. That cools me down even more. That and the fully-functioning airco on the ICE we catch in Nuremberg. I've booked seats this time as we're in pleb class. It's not too crowded, thankfully. And I've something to read. A Spiegel history special Andrew spotted in Rewe. It's about the German Empire, 1871-1914. One of my favourite topics.

Munich feels even hotter than Forchheim. Luckily our hotel is just a couple of hundred metres from Munich Hauptbahnhof. We're there in a jiffy. Not that we stay there long. Just long enough to stash our bags. Then we take the S-Bahn to Marienplatz.

"Look, there's the new Town Hall." I say to Andrew.

"Looks a bit too fiddly, to me."

"It's Neo-gothic. It's supposed to look fiddly."

We're heading for Hofbräuhaus. I know what you're thinking: "Didn't he swear never to go there again after waiting more than an hour to get served?" That's perfectly true. But we're not heading to that Hofbräuhaus. We're going to Hofbräuhaus-Kunstmühle. Dolores wanted me to bring her some flour back. Can't get this particular type in Holland, it turns out.

Shopping done, we turn our backs on Hofbräuhaus and return to Tal. Because you can't visit Munich and not go to Weisses Brauhaus, can you? It's packed outside, but we can find space just inside, where there's still a cool breeze. Andrew seems happy enough.

I usually have the sausage-orama, a dish with several different types of sausage. I can't remember what it's called. Pretty sure it's not really sausage-orama. I go for something totally different: A Schweinshaxe.

"It's like the non-healthfood version of Schäufle, Andrew."

"You have a very limited range of jokes you know, dad."

"It's the way I tell them that counts."

"Badly, that's how you tell them."

I think he's still annoyed about our death sprint.

The Haxe arrives, looking like it's been stabbed between the shoulder blades. There's something about the way Andrew looks at it. Like he's imagining the knife sticking out of my back.

I wash the Haxe down with Hopfenweise. Quite a bit of Hopfenweise. I'm surprised how much I like the stuff. From the description - German wheat beer meets hops - it sounds like something I should hate. Truns out to be a lovely supping beer. Especially in this heat. It looks sad by itself, so I get it a lttle mate to keep it company: an Aventinus Eisbock Schnapps. They seem to get on well together.Too well, perhaps.

But we can't sit here all day. I noticed something over the road. Another Tegernsee pub. In the modern retro Kitsch style I love.

"Let's go in there for a beer. They do a lovely Spezial . . .

"You've already done that one, too, dad."

"Have I?"

"Yes. Can we just sit down and get served."

The waitress is wearing a dirndl. Always a good sign. I order a Dunkles.

"Why didn't you get the Spezial you keep going on about?"

That's a good question. "I forgot." Shit. And they do have it on draught.

"The Dunkles is quite nice." I'm not sure I'm convincing even myself.

There's one more destination before heading back to our hotel. Nürnberger Bratwurstglöckl. For one simple reason: I want to drink some Augustiner Helles. Helles the way god . . . .

I don't even bother starting to say it this time.

"We can come back tomorrow for some sausages. They're deliciolovely, Andrew."

"If you say so, dad. Just as long as there's no running."

He's not going to forget that, is he? "I told you that you'd remember that journey for ever."

The Augustiner Helles is lovely. But they only seem to have put in two mouthfuls per glass. Or at least that's all I'm getting out of them. I remember why it's one of my favourite drinking beers.

The street outside our hotel is still busy when we return. It's still busy at 3 and 4 AM. We're not in the country no more. Oh no.

Neuturmstraße 3
80331 Munich, Germany
+49 89 294222

Weisses Bräuhaus
Tal 7,
80331 München.
Tel. 089 - 299 875
Fax: 089 - 290 13815

Tegernseer Tal
Tal 8,
80331 München,
Tel: +49 89 222626
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 09:30 - 24:00

Nürnberger Bratwurstglöckl
Frauenplatz 9,
80331 München (Munich).
Tel. 089 - 220385
Fax: 089 - 2904736


Paul Bailey said...

It's weird, I had two credit cards and a debit card declined when I went to pay the bill for our rented apartment in Forchheim the other week. Like you I had to nip to the bank and get cash out instead.

Must be a local conspiracy to get people to pay by cash rather than cards!

Matt said...

Ron, the words "Forchheim station" and "sweaty" trigger an unpleasant flashback for me.