Thursday, December 24, 2009

4. The French have not released my bag, and I, too, shall surrender soon.

We spent the morning shopping for little knick-knacks and more groceries to tide us through until Saturday, when many eateries and stores reopen. Quite a few will be closed through the weekend, meaning that I may have to trek to the train station for beer. Let's hope that the people's choice, Fässla, is open for carry-out bottles.

The students and youngsters were out in force last night. With a drinking age of 16 for beer, this translated into long lines at the "to go" windows and mayhem in the streets. It was a long day, with lunch at Spezial with Dan Shelton (of the importing company) and his wife. We met Urban Winkler of the Weissenohe brewery, toured the Spezial brewery, then walked to the Wunderburg neighborhood for quality time at Mahr's with Stephan Michel. Dan and Tessa split to return to their digs west of here, and after checking at the flat for the first of our bags (where in Paris is the other one?), we adjourned to the impossibly packed Schlenkerla tavern.

Unable to find Matthias Trum, and desirous of some peace for dinner, plans changed and the next stop was Klosterbrau for an excellent meal of venison, boar and a special seasonal black bock. Back home, I vaguely recall watching an interview with Michael Palin while snacking on pickled herring before passing out.

After greeting Bamberg in a blizzard, all the snow has gone and the sun is brightly shining as I type. The Christmas market in Maximillianplatz disappeared overnight, and all morning today and into the afternoon, businesses closed one by one, and the streets grew more and more quiet as people retreated to their homes and families. The next two days will be subdued, but I'm guessing that by Saturday, they'll have had enough of domesticity and will be looking for a place to get their drink on. I aim to be right beside them when this happens.

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