On Our Way To Berlin

Our last trip to the Big German City begins today. What will happen, how good is the hotel we’re staying in, what are we doing there, all of these things will be revealed in due time.
This is just to say that we’re driving there now.

Wish us a safe drive with minimal traffic. If you have to sacrifice something for your wishes, then do so respectfully. Your help is appreciated.


Our First English Stammtisch

A Stammtisch (Tisch means table. Interestingly, a carpenter in German is a Tischler) is an event where people of some kind of group get together. In this case it was people who are fans of the English language. At least, that’s what I understand it to be.

Ingrid and I went this weekend, we were greeted by mostly people over 50. They were all very nice. A majority of them were actually German born, with an English parent, so they still talked English with their regional accent but also had perfect German. In fact, their English was often interspersed with German because I guess that’s the language they learned predominately in school and it’s definitely the language they use daily in Germany. I thought it was awesome and interesting to chat with these people. Many of them were very well travelled, mostly for work purposes. One man had been around Africa, Europe, the Middle East and even visited Sydney for two weeks, just for work.

In the corner were two guys, a father and son, playing acoustic instruments, occasionally they were joined by one of the other guys. He played an acoustic guitar too, normally just lead stuff over a Blue backing. The two guys played songs in all kinds of languages, Spanish, for example. We moved, so that we could talk and of course they followed us.
I promised that next time I’d bring my guitar too. Don’t know what I’ll do, if I could get a speaker cabinet it would be awesome to melt their old faces with some Death Metal. Cheap Botox-like surgery, just attend the Englisch Stammtisch!

We could have drunk some Beers from the UK (mostly Guinness and something called London Pride, I believe), but we’re not drinking because of the baby developing in my wife’s belly.
It was pretty good, nice to meet new people who still have some boring opinions and don’t see the hypocrisy of wanting to be included in the EU but also wanting to ‘choose who else can come here’.

Multikulinar Food Festival: Wilhelmshaven

Ingrid wasn’t well, so we didn’t get to truly sink our teeth into much. It’s another food truck festival but with a focus shifted from the hipster American food that seems to be huge here at the moment. Ok, I get it, we all love fatty cheese burgers with those steamed buns… that’s why McDonalds is still open, at 3am, it hits the spot. It’s not new, it’s not so amazing and it’s getting a bit expensive.

This food festival reminded me more of being in Chinatown, Sydney. There was a truck with Vietnamese food, another with Indonesian food, one up the end with Indian food. We had something we’d never seen before. These kind of Eastern European version of dumplings that had beef and cheese inside and was served with grilled vegetables, placed into a box and covered with 2 sauces, one yoghurt and the other one beetroot based. We washed it down with a bloody expensive coconut.

The weather and the lack of cheese burgers probably made it not the success everybody had hoped it would be. They had a DJ and 50 year old women seemed to dig him, but even they weren’t really dancing. More, just, kind, of, nodding, while they talked to their friends, quietly.

I give it 4 truck axles out of 7.

The Best Iced Chocolates are in Wilhelmshaven

In an English Café actually. It’s called Monty’s Café and we’ve been there for their English Afternoon Tea, with scones and cucumber sandwiches. You expect the Queen to give you the bill. Instead, her portrait is hanging on the wall towards the back, so you can give her a salute, if you wish.

We haven’t had their Full English Breakfast yet but now I’ve tried their Iced Chocolate is a stand out in the North German Empire. Two kinds of ice cream are inside, the milk is chocolate and the whipped cream on top is dusted with chocolate and a little cinnamon, I think.

To be perfect, they just have to get rid of the little fruit flies that invade everything they can.

The café is having an English night on the 15th, we’ll see if we go and talk in all kinds of languages while enjoying a pint and some Beatles songs (or so I imagine it goes).


The Arrival of Cousin Isa

Yes, we did just have a visit from an Aunt. We were so addicted to having extra people around that we started inviting everyone and accepting all who would appear.

First up is Isa. A Colombian artist who lives in France, after a stint in Spain. We met her in Bremen and did a quick tour of the area, including Schnoor. She was so impressed with the architecture there, the old churches, the grand breweries and all the tiny, narrow streets. She took many photos. I must also write that she used an actual digital camera, even for selfies. I was fairly impressed.

Isa had a list of things that friends and the internet had informed her that she should try to eat, experience or visit. One of those was to visit a small town called Worpswede. This town is famous for its artistic culture, it is full of house galleries and craft shops dominate the limited number of streets. The town is also dominated by retirement homes and villages, so the population is dominated by the age disadvantaged. We toured the place, looked at many of the galleries and got a little scared walking through the forest towards the Käseglocke (translated as Cheese Bell). It’s a little spares with the signage and everybody has read the Brothers Grimm tales. It’s a fantastic little building, by the way.

Oldenburg offered us their Stadtfest, with bands playing, many stalls offering treats, food and drinks. Isa had her first Flammlachs (woodfire cooked salmon), I had a Nackensteak and Ingrid Lammspiese with a Risotto. We shared our food, so that we could all enjoy the flavour country we’d created.

In Jever we got to show off the castle where we married. We then visited the Marienbräu for dinner and man were we impressed. It’s a small brewery in a town that is famous for the Jever brand beer. We tried all three of their current offered beers and ordered various main dishes to accompany the 3 shades of amber liquid. We highly recommend the Biersteak, Ratatouille and their desserts, actually, I don’t think you could go wrong with anything they offer.

I had a great phone call trying to reserve a table at an American Diner-styled restaurant in Wilhelmshaven, called Miss Peppers. They offer a great Breakfast Buffet. The problem was, it seems, that my accent in German makes it hard for Germans to tell if I’m saying 2 (zwei) or 3 (drei).

Other than that, we enjoyed the sun, when it appeared and stayed inside when the weather said it was good to.

The Best Coffee is in Leer

On a whim we decided to drive to the small town of Leer. Leer is another one of those gorgeous, historic, right on the river towns that has scenic old buildings next to modernised apartments with beautiful river views.
Our lunch was at a restaurant that shared this view, called Schöne Aussichten. It is a huge restaurant and with the view like it has, I was expecting it to be pricey. It was surprisingly affordable, an average meal was no more than 10 Euro. They offered Sweet Potato chips too. Worth it! We sat, we ate, we talked about all kinds of different things. One topic was sign language in different languages. There was a deaf couple sitting near us and I was thinking of how hard it would be to learn a foreign language in sign language.
After lunch and some sitting around, relaxing, enjoying the ever lessening sun, a coffee sounds like the perfect way to round out the day. We found Kaffeerösterei Baum on the main stretch of Leer shops. The coffee was amazing. We’re planning on visiting there just for another cup of the stuff. You can order from them to your house, bags of coffee, not a cup of the stuff.

Sleepy Spanish Sugar-loving Sightseers

We’ve had the pleasure of hosting Ingrid’s Aunt and her Aunt’s husband for about a week. We met in Bremen and toured Schnoor, turns out that it’s hard to get a Bratwurst there. If anybody normally asked me about getting a Bratwurst, I would say that on every second corner it’s possible to get one. It may not be the best Bratwurst, but it is available. My thoughts are based on nothing more than whimsy and exaggeration. Bratwurst sellers, there’s a market waiting for you in Schnoor.
The heading you ask?
Oh! Our guests would sleep for around 5 hours every afternoon. This kind of resulted in a bit of a time misuse – we’d wake up early in the morning, they’d be asleep because they would be awake until some small hour during the night/morning. The afternoon would then be lost because of the required ‘nap’.
If you eat cake for breakfast and afternoon tea and add at least 4 teaspoons of sugar to each cup of tea or coffee you drink, and you drink more than a cup per sitting, plus enjoy a ‘sweet treat’ after most meals…

We visited Jever for a bit of a fest. They got their first and last Bratwurst there. It wasn’t everything they’d hoped for, not bad, just not the AMAZING thing that marketing can make one believe a product to be.

One day we went to Hooksiel’s Waterski Park for a brunch. It has a nice view over the water and if there’s good cable skiers or boarders, that makes a nice view too.

In Oldenburg there was a Sexual Education tent/temporary building. It was pretty funny to visit, not that we knew it was there, but after we’d shown off the castle in Oldenburg, this lady explained what the giant rainbow thing was and that we should enter.

In Wilhelmshaven we toured around the Windmill, southbeach and some other interesting buildings.