The day begins with another pesky wasp. Why do I attract the bloody things?
Quite a bit of flapping accompanies my breakfast.
“Don’t do that, Ronald. You’ll only annoy it.” I pay no attention and continue waving my hands about. We’ll see some truly suicidal wasp-bothering later in the day.
The breakfast underneath my waving is different today. Not that it makes any difference to the wasp. I’ve eschewed the fried stuff and joined Dolores in smoked salmon.
Alexei is pleased: “Yeah, more fried stuff for me!” Wish I could take that much pleasure in something so simple.
We watch a bit of Sunday Brunch on Dolores’s tablet until check out time. And I finish off what’s left of my beer supplies, carefully removing the labels from the bottles. OCD. I realise I demonstrate lots of OCD-like behaviour. Why else would I spend hundreds of hours messing around with brewing records? No normal person would. “Just a pity you aren’t a compulsive cleaner, Ronald.”
We’ve another appointment with Joe Stange at the festival. At a slightly different spot, so we can try some different beers, and slightly later. Happily it’s still close to lots of Czech brewery stands.
On the way, Alexei asks: “Daad, Why did Trotsky have to leave Russia?”
It must be the Stalinist architecture around us subconsciously influencing him. “Because he fell out with Stalin. And you wouldn’t want to upset Stalin.”
We find Joe his and his American mate in the Vietnamese section. This time they’ve got their kids, matching sets of a boy and a girl, and the mate’s wife along. Alexei goes off to the Computerspielemuseum and I go off for beer. That is sort of the point of being here.
It’s not quite as hot as yesterday. But it’s still way too hot for me. Hence my urgent need for beer.
Luckily, the Rohozec stand isn’t too far away. Me and Andrew wander down there and pick up some beer. Once again, it’s something dark for me and something pale for him.
Fruity, a touch of bitterness.
I’m amazed at how little trouble the kids are, as they’re around four and six years old. Maybe it’s because they’ve got someone to play with. My attempts at drinking with small kids in tow usually resulted in me spending most of my time chasing after them down the street. Not a great deal of fun
I spot some interesting stands on my next beer quest: Murphys Stout, Newcastle Brown, Strongbow, Fosters, Heineken, Singha and Carslberg. But I manage to resist those temptations and get myself a Pardubicky Porter.
Liquorice, caramel, sweet and meaty. Dolores: “Too malty” Well I think it’s lovely.
Every time I walk past the Vietnamese food stall I’m more tempted to buy something. Finally I crack and buy some duck. It’s pretty cheap and very nice. If a little bony. Once eaten, it’s time to hunt down some more beer.
You’ll see my notes are improving. And that I’m sticking with my Czech theme. It’s a pleasant enough beer. But not quite in the same class as Pardubicky Porter. Which is why I get another of those next. Has a bit more oomph.
Andrew mentioned the Russian stall to Dolores and she returns with kvass, pierogis and some sort of meat pasties. Very good, too.
A Vietnamese man nearby is having his own struggle with a wasp. He’s trying to splatter it between his palms, which seems like a guaranteed way of getting yourself stung. His wildly flailing arms only manage to knock his small son’s drink flying, soaking both the table and their food. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
Alexei comes back from his museum visit and demands a soft drink. Fair enough in this heat. Though I’m disappointed he doesn’t want a beer. He is legal to drink in Germany.
After a couple more Porters it’s time to return to the hotel for our luggage. Which thankfully is still there and still intact.
After consulting various maps, Andrew decided the quickest and easiest way to get to the airport is to walk to Ostbahnhof and get a regional train from there. Seems fair enough. Dolores is happy, because it means avoiding Warschauerstrasse S-Bahn station, for which she’s developed an irrational hatred.
“Daad, why didn’t the Dutch colonise Australia?”
“Because they were too lazy.”
“Daad, why didn’t the Russians colonise Canada?”
“They thought it was too cold.”
There’s a sort of tradition on family holidays. At some point we always embark on a death march. We’ve left it until late this time. But in the heat and uncertainty about the route, it certainly seems like one. It seems much further than it looked on the map. There are rumblings of dissent long before we get to the station.
Where we discover there’s a long wait for the next regional train and we get the S-Bahn anyway. Now wasn’t that fun?
“It’s just like in the DDR days.” Dolores says of Schönefeld. Not sure if that’s a compliment or not. I think not. I doubt they had an Irish pub. Which is exactly where I head with Andrew. The others soon troll up, when I’m already stuck into my pint of Guinness and double Jamesons. They’ve even got English crisps, which pleases Alexei no end.
It’s a very un-German end to the trip.
Internationales Berliner Bierfestival
Tel: +49 30 60988577
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