The noise continued all night. That's the big city for you. Cars. Shouting. Banging. More shouting. Then, early morning, street diggers digging away. In Ebermannstadt there was nothing but the ringing of the church clock and the occasional distant rasp of a barking dog.
At eight AM, Andrew knocks on my door.
"You worked out how to use the fan, dad?" Er, no, actually.
"You just need to plug it in." Drunken old hack foiled by modern technology comes to mind. Where did I read that?
My nose picks up on something as soon as we leave my room. A very special smell. The happy morning breakfast-time smell. Bacon.
"I'm guessing they have a warm buffet, Andrew."
"You're as bad as Lexie." When we stay in hotels Lexie often has a bacon breakfast. Literally. Just bacon.
We plan out the day as we tuck into brekkie.
"How many museums do you think we can fit in? Or should that be musea?"
"I know what you've really got planned, dad."
"Yes, a few museums, clothes shopping and then tea and cakes."
"I've seen you ticking off the pubs in your guide. I'm not stupid, dad."
"So we're agreed - dump the bags in the station, head into town and see what takes our fancy."
"I bet that turns out to be a pub."
We find a locker large enough to take both our bags. Saves us a euro. Andrew points to an adjacent locker: "That's an expensive one - 40 euros."
"That's a fine. They haven't taken their bag out in time."
THe S-Bahn soon takes us to Marienplatz. Just to prove Andrew wrong, I take him into the Hugendubel opposite the New Town Hall.
"This isn't a pub, dad."
"I know. We're doing something cultural." Andrew goes to look at the Hitler section while I head for the drinks. The books about drinks, I mean. As usual, the beer book section is pathetic. There are almost as many books on rum. I contributed to one of the handful of beer books. Odd, seeing my words translated into German.
We don't leave the shop empty handed. I pick up a Bayern Munich T-shirt for Lexie.
"Where now, dad?"
"I need to go around the back of the Town Hall."
"It's a pub, isn't it?"
"Important research. I've just added the pub to my guide and I need a photo."
"Right. Just a photo?"
"We may as well have a drink, too. I'm boiling."
Zum Franziskaner, that's the pub. We find seats outside, where there's a bit of a breeze. Two Chinese men with their young daughters sit at the next table.
I explain to Andrew how sad it is that a pub branded Franziskaner sells Löwenbräu and not Spaten. And the key role of Gabriel Sedlmayr II in the development of modern Lager.
"I've seen idiot geeks claim he invented Munich Helles. When in fact he died before the first pale Lager was brewed in Munich. And the first Helles was brewed by another brewery, Thomasbräu, anyway. Sedlmayr's real contribution was creating modern Dunkles."
"Very interesting, dad. Now how about getting us some drinks?"
All this talk has got me hunkering for a Dunkles. It looks like this:
Nice and easy-going, in a Lager Dark Mild sort of way.
"Are we going to eat here, dad?"
"No. Don't you remember? I promised you sausages. The best Nürnberger you'll ever taste. It's not far."
That is actually true. Though I would have said the same had Bratwurstglöckl been just the other side of Pluto. Luckily, it's just the other side of the Town Hall.
"You can tell this is a Roman Catholic church - it's surrounded by pubs." I usefully point out to Andrew. Before telling him for the 10th time the story of a village in Northern Franconia where I headed to the church in search of a pub, only to discover the district was protestant. And there was no pub by the church. "Bloody protestants."
It's crowded outside Bratwurstglöckl. We just about worm our way into some seats when we notice a reserved sign and resign ourselves to sitting inside. Just as we park our bums a waitress comes by and says: "Did you want to sit outside?" and takes us back to the seats with the reserved sign, shooing away a group of tourists about to seize them. She's the motherly type of waitress.
Soon I'm gnawing ravenously at an Augustiner Helles like a lion with a gazelle's leg. "You're enjoying that, aren't you, dad?"
"Whatever gave you that idea?" as I squeeze the final drops of Helles from my glass.
We get 6 suasages each. Andrew struggles and I get to eat 8 suasages. Lucky me. They really are fantastic.
I've one last stop planned before getting our bags and S-Bahning to the airport. Augustiner Großgaststätte.
There's little outdoor seating and we're compelled to go inside. An overheated waiter is doing his best to serve the whole room. Beads of sweat decorate his face. Rather you than me, mate.
"Pint of Mild, please." I say in my head "Ein Dunkles, bitte." are the words that come out of my mouth. Andrew is still on the apple stuff.
We leave in plenty of time. Don't want to put Andrew through another death run. We're at the airport so early, we've time for a drink. And something else.
"Do you know what I've not had this trip, Andrew?"
"Weisswurst. And look what they have here - a Weisswurst and Weissbier special." Which is true. An omen. The perfect way to end the trip.
"Why are you taking off the skin, dad?"
"That's what you're supposed to do."
"Then you're a philistine."
Before you know it, we're back in Amsterdam.
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