Greetings from Germany

Grolsch Blues Festival audience

(Finally got usable Internet today. Here’s my first blog from Germany, written last week. More to come)

We’ve been in Germany over a week now. The initial rush of being here, when every meal was delicious and every joke was funny, has passed, but that’s okay. The food is still pretty darn good, and we are still laughing.

I had my melancholy day yesterday, my son’s fifteenth birthday. I usually hit this point about a week into a tour. (“Melancholy day? What’s that?” said the others.) This time I spent it walking around Ingolstadt in the rain. But an excellent dinner with spargelsuppe (white asparagus soup, now in season) and a bottle of Gutmann’s weissbier set me straight. I’m looking at the world with new eyes today, and it looks pretty good.

All our shows so far have gone well. The Grolsch Blues Festival in Schöppingen (see audience photo above) was a special treat, since we got to see and hang with some bands we knew from the States, like Tommy Castro, Jason Ricci and our fellow Atlantan, Michelle Malone. We made some new friends too, like Mark Selby and his band from Nashville, with whom we’ll be sharing the stage tonight in Schweinfurt and again next week in Salzburg, Austria.

Here are a few things we’ve learned in the last week:

1. Sunday is a great day to travel in Germany, because large trucks are verboten on the autobahn.

2. When you are hungry in a strange town here, head for the tallest steeple. You can always find decent food somewhere near the church.

3. If you are nice to people, people will be nice to you. Sometimes if you are lucky they will even give you homemade schnapps.

Winter Family Schnapps

(Thanks for the schnapps to the Winter Family, who have operated the same hotel in Schöppingen for 285 years.)

My favorite line of the week came from the Italian owner of a trattorio behind a medieval church with niches in its walls where the townspeople once honored recently departed prominent citizens by displaying their heads. In the room next to us a female choir was rehearsing. The music sounded good to us, though from time to time the director would clap his hands and shout, “Nein! Nein! Nein!” As the choir hit a crescendo the restaurant owner waved a hand toward the door and apologized to us.

“Please excuse,” he said. “This is life.”

5 replies
  1. Laura Stanley
    Laura Stanley says:

    Hey Tom! Sounds like a fun trip! I’m looking forward to getting Darren home and hearing all about it. He sent me the funniest email today about Mark…. There is never a dull moment when Mark is around! By the way, I told my parents about our trip to Denmark last night….. Do you remember when I introduced myself as “I sell shirts?”. Tell everyone Chloe says HI!

    Laura

    Reply
  2. Barbara Agar
    Barbara Agar says:

    You said if you are nice to people they are nice back… then someone gave you schnapps… Knowing you guys, you must get a lot of schnapps!

    Reply
  3. Angie Santiago
    Angie Santiago says:

    You did get hang with Michelle Malone after all! I wonder if Mark bought any new guitars.
    Guess the choir had to keep singing until the fat lady git it right.
    Thanks for sharing your trip journal.

    Reply
  4. Valencia Spane
    Valencia Spane says:

    Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour, diuretic properties, and more. It is pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 BC. Still in ancient times, it was known in Syria and in Spain. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter; Romans would even freeze it high in the Alps, for the Feast of Epicurus. Emperor Augustus reserved the “Asparagus Fleet” for hauling the vegetable, and coined the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” for quick action.,

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    Reply

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