Saturday, 16 July 2011

Franconia June 2011 (part three)

We were up bright and early the next day. Early at least. The 15 half litres and multiple schnapps slurped with gay abandon the day before left my skull abandonned and anything but gay.

We got the jump on the cycling club this time. Mike wasn't going to be a famine victim again. Just in time. Seconds after sitting down, the locusts descended leaving nothing but a few brown stalks behind.

The day started with a merry walk to Eggolsheim station. It would have been merry if I'd had any impulse schnapps on me. Sadly, that well had run dry.

We'd a complicated trip ahead of us. Train to Bamberg, quick drink in Mahr's, then a confusing selection of buses. That would get us almost all the way to Uehlfeld, where we'd be sleeping.

Most of the little time we had in Bamberg was spent walking. With the exception of a quick half litre in Mahr's. Bamberg bus station. How I love it. And the ESP system of finding your bus. We were lucky. A bus driver with an uncanny resemblance to Lemmy took pity on us. His bus was just about the right one. Close enough. Empty at Bamberg station, the bus was swamped by a tsunami of schoolkids in the town centre. What did I care? I'd got a seat.

Once the kids had gone, Lemmy put on some music. Music as eccentric as the man himself:  German rap, drinking songs and something that sounded like a cross between oompah and punk.

First stop was Barnikel. A brewery and pub in one of those tiny Franconian villages that don't have anything but farmhouses and a pervasive smell of cow shit. Did have a brewery, though.

Interesting pub. One that still retains a bar-counter-free design. Instead there's a little pantry where al the drinks are conjured forth. There's a wood burning stove, like in so many village pubs. Except this one looks like a jukebox. And the flotsam of several generations hanging from the walls. Including the brewing diplomas of grandfather, father and son.

The Baker's Arms in Swindon. That's what it reminded me of. All that lovely worn formica.

I had two beers:

Lagerbier – soft and süffig.
Dunkles – pretty damn Dunkles, more like black.

(The beer descriptions won't be getting any better. I'm a bit ausgesprochen in that regard.)

I ate. You'd love to know what, wouldn't you? A Bauernplatte. It's the responsible option, I always feel. Meaty enough, but not too filling. And you can pick at it. I don't like meals to get too much in the way of beer.

Here the journey was supposed to get complicated. A bus to another village where we would hopefully get a taxi to bridge a busless gap. Asking the pub to ring up for one seemed a good idea. But they wouldn't. They insisted on driving us themselves. Lovely people, these Franconians.

We'd picked Uehlfeld as our overnight stop for one reason: it has two breweries. We stayed in one. The nicer one, as it turned out. Their beer was OK. Zwanzger Hausbräu was a decent unfiltered, amber-coloured beer. A subtle diacetyl note rounded out the taste nicely. There was quite a barnyard aroma, though I think that was from the adjacent cowshed rather than funk.

Lovely rooms, very recently done up. But the wifi didn't work. What was I supposed to do? Sit in the pub and drink more, I guess.

Mahr's Bräu
Wunderburg 10,
96050 Bamberg

Barnikel Fritz Brauereigasthof
Dorfstraße 5
96158 Frensdorf, Germany
09502 293

Prechtel Walter Brauerei
Hauptstraße 24
91486 Uehlfeld,
09163 228

Burghaslacher Straße 10
91486 Uehlfeld,
09163 959756


Gary Gillman said...

One of things that struck me looking at the SAABP tv clips on the left is how "English" this German countryside looks - or vice versa, I suppose is more accurate. The peaked structures. The strapwork on the buildings the English called Tudor. The aspect of the towns in relation to the church. It looks like a more recently built version of English towns I've been through. Is this because of Saxon history in England?


Rod said...

Gary -
No - the villages in Franken look nothing like English villages, and Sachsen is a long way from Franken, both geographically and culturally.

Gary Gillman said...

Well, this is how it struck me. Any other opinions?


Rod said...

Gary -
First, actually go to Franken, and then come back and tell me that the villages there do look like English villages.
Secondly, get out your atlas and look at where Franken is, and then where Sachsen is.
Thirdly, take my word for it - I grew up in the English countryside and I've been going to Franken for over 20 years, quite regularly. You, on the other hand, have looked at a 4 minute video composed of very short clips, not all of which are of Franken.

Anonymous said...

I should make it clear that when I refer to Sachsen in this context, I mean north west Niedersachsen, which is where the Anglo Saxons came from. Of course, it wasn't the Anglo Saxons who built the half-timbered houses, which bear some resemblance to ones found in southern Germany and Alsace to which Gary refers.

Gary Gillman said...

I'm talking subjectivity - I said it "struck" me. Having traveled in England a fair bit in 30 years, and having been in Bavaria for a few days last December (Alsace too some years ago), when looking at these pictures, they reminded me of England, what can I say? England and Germany ... it's an impression, not an argument. It was interesting to read your views and I'd be interested in any others.