Friday, May 25, 2018

I have not run for a month

It nauseates me. I have a pinched nerve in my neck and running or any real exercise exacerbates the issue. But life in Europe is filled with exercise. I walked and walked and walked. My iPhone keeps track of my meanderings. In some ways this is alarming but well, who cares. If Big Brother is watching, I'm not doing anything he's going to worry about. Possibly.

I did not include any days that were under 5 miles of walking. Well, the one because it made a tidy row of 3. There were no days of less than 4 miles of walking though.

In case anyone was interested.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Only 2 more to go

It is appalling how dirty I let my clothes get when I travel. Of course it is hard to tell which clothes are clean when you're dressing out of a suitcase that looks like monkeys live in it.
The best way to ensure that it will not rain is to bring the vast and heavy Zorro-style rubber rain-cape (with hood) which you bought on your last overseas trip when it rained 90% of the time. Yes, it is added luggage weight but you saved on your suitcase poundage because you didn't bring socks expecting it to be in the 70s and 80s as it has been for a month. But now, it is 47 and your feet are cold (or all your socks are crunchy dirty having been to France and back).
Germans do NOT cross against the light. Not even if you cannot see a car in the distance, or a house even. The walk sign changes to green for about 4 seconds and then turns right back to red and cars just go, like it or not. I feel aggressed.
Hundescheiße. It's a real word. They have it on signs. Dog shit. The Germans pick theirs up. The French do not.
We were in a short line to get tickets for Lymphenburg Palace. You could tell it was the ticket line because it said "Tickets" on a sign above the woman selling them, and again, in front, just below the counter. An older couple arrived just as we did and stepped up to her and the man said "Two please." And the woman behind the ticket counter said, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN??? TWO WHAT??! WHAT DO YOU WANT? TWO OF WHAT?!! Germans are not a particularly patient people like, say, the Norwegians. The man in front of us had the presence of mind to complete the transaction but he was clearly shaken. I stepped up to the counter and not wanting a repeat conflagration said, "Two tickets, bitte." Handing her a 50€. The cost was 12€. She threw it back at me saying, "Give me something smaller!" I wish I had had the presence of mind to barked back "WHAT DO YOU MEAN??? SMALLER? SMALLER THAN WHAT???!!! A VOLKSWAGEN? AN ORANGE???!!
I have the impression that people think French is hard. I am guessing they have not tried to speak German. Wohnung. Pronounce that. Wrong. And sentence structure...don't get me started.
Zum Franziskaner: To the Franciscan. Many restaurants are named like this Zum This or Zum That but not all of them have that apellation. I asked my German teacher why and she had no reason, her response was, "Just like that." Seemed fair.
 Germans seem to be pathologically unaware of other people. I can't quite call it rudeness. It's not rude in the way French people are rude. And I'll just say, French and Germans are not rude, this is a cultural thing. We're all rude in our own way. Oh, now wait, Russians really are rude (Just kidding, Vladimir). Anyway, as I was going to reach into the kraut case in the grocery store (Kraut can mean nearly anything apparently, herbs, green leafy vegetables, weeds) so I'm just about to reach in, my hand is extended and Otto just fucking barges in front of me and starts a search for, Oh, I dunno...should I get the rosemary? NO, I'll put that back, thyme would work, ah, yes, but if thyme works, wouldn't sage be nice too? Oop, not this one, it doesn't look quite fresh—and starts rummaging behind the others for something greener. I just stood behind him not 6 inches away, my breathe condensing on the case door, my hand still vaguely poised to reach for the cilantro.

In the wildly fabulous Schirn Museum there is currently a Basquiat exhibit that is beyond cool. Much of it is his small personal stuff in display cases. He made a lot of postcards and written works that need relatively close scrutiny. Need to look at it closer? No problem, just push yourself in between the picture and person already looking at it closely.
Frankfurt was heavily, terribly bombed during the war and most of the city is new construction. In many places they have recreated what was there in a lot of other places they have bits of the old buildings there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Maximum Maxies

My last day in Frankfurt (I am home now and the Frankfurt posts are not finished which is problematic for me but I will deal with it). We had lunch at a Jewish deli named Maxie Eisen (that serves pulled pork?!). And then coincidentally that evening at a place called Mon Ami Maxie, a fancy French restaurant. 

Both places were really great. Loved the Reubens we had for lunch, and the steak at dinner was perfect. The lunch was just that, lunch, casual. Dinner was sophisticated and we spoke French (Even if the host asked me damnably if I was Canadian, the ignominy of it!) But it was a perfect last meal until the waiter while giving me the check, asked me to put a tip on it. That just ruined it. They don't even get tips!!

I didn't put one on the bill. But Ashish gave him a tip anyway.

Monday, May 21, 2018


One of my German teachers (she is French) sent us to Fontana de Trevi, an Italian restaurant she likes. It was glorious. Everyone was Italian and friendlier than, you know, not German, or French for that matter. This place was so good and we went back 2 more times. On one of the rare occasion we ate at home we made pasta Arrabiata. I should say The Royal Indian Mounted Police requested and I made it. We had pizza several (three) times.

I would not say that Germans don't eat German food so much but maybe not so much in restaurants. The food itself, sauerkraut, sausages and other traditional Germanish stuff is all around, for sale in stores and at kiosks. (Europe in general has more little specialty shops, outdoor markets, kiosks, stalls and stands than we do in the US). There are loads of Italian, Greek and other ethic restaurants. 

My second German teacher (who is Italian) told me that the huge wave of Italians who moved to Germany after the war to help with reconstruction, (which, by the way officially ended a week or so ago, seriously) essentially replaced German food in the hearts of German people with pizza and ice cream. I'm good with that.

What follows is a pictorial exposé of some of our Italian meals. That last pizza with the arugula was right straight out of this world.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


On Thursdays in the Konstablerwache Platz turns into the most lovely and jolly market. Packed with bakery, sausage, plants, vegetable and fruit stands, carts and trucks, there are also loads of places to eat and drink. And the Germans do. Mit Gusto. You can sit anywhere with anyone which is, you know, at the same time convivial and anxiety provoking. I got a bratwurst. Just a brat. On a hard roll. Nothing else. They have no mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut, nothing. But fine. So I sit down with some Japanese people who I figure aren't gonna object to me the way a German would. 

This sausage was delicious. I'd eat one right now in fact. But it's no Usinger's sausage. Which brings me to: I'm gonna be home and have a Usinger's sausage and think, This is fine but it's no...oh, no wait, it is. And then what? I'm ruined forever by an imaginary sausage? 

I guess ruined may be an overstatement. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Big Erdnuss Flippies

Funny-Fresh strikes again. Big Ernuss Flippies. Aside from the fact that they are peanut related, I have no idea what the hell these are. The stars and stripes thing, and the insouciant manner in which Master Peanut (as opposed to Mister Peanut) is wearing his cap would seem to suggest that these are an American snack item. In fact the entire aisle, which is called Chips and Flips on the sign hanging over it, whatever a "flip" is, has a distinctly American vibe but filled with distinctly not-so-much American things.

Imma let someone else try the peanut flips and let me know.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Gurkens happen

I did one of those cartoon eyes-popping-out-of-my-head things complete with sound effects when I saw these on the grocery store shelf. I tucked a jar into my grocery basket as soon I finished mopping up the puddle of saliva that had pooled on the floor while I was looking at them. My sisters know what I'm talking about. 

Once I was home I waited impatiently outside the refrigerator for them to get cold. I don't like a warm pickle. Well, unless it's on a hamburger. And once they were cold (OK, the next day) I wrenched the jar open with reckless abandon.

Yeah, no. Sweet. I mean, fine, I'll eat them, I'll eat almost anything, but they were not what I was expecting. Maybe if I'd read the ingredients or taken the time to look up "Schlesische" (say that three times in a row) I'd have realized what I was buying. But probably not. Schlesische means Silesian which is meaningless to me. I mean, I know Silesia is a part of Germany but I am not so up on their pickle styles. Although I suppose there is some small comfort in adding that to the treasure trove of useless information that clutters my mind. 

"Oh," I can say at a cocktail party sometime, "the Silesian pickle is a sweet pickle from the area of Germany called Silesia." And then taking a sip of my wine somewhat more loudly than is necessary, continue with "I discovered them when I was on sabbatical in Hesse." Sucking my teeth ever so gently and adding, "lustige Tatsache."

I ate them for breakfast since I was never at home for lunch. Three sittings, if I remember correctly, to empty the jar. Now I'm wondering what Hessian pickles might be like.