On the subject of a great evening with friends in Hamburg, mentioned in rant-of-the century previously by S, we were treated to a feast known as “Abendbrot”. If my German is correct, the direct translation would be “evening bread”. It’s much more than that though. Picture a table laden with cheeses, dips, several different types of bread, cold meats (for those inclined), pickles and vegetables.
We walked in to Jens and Terassa’s large candle-lit living/dining room with timber floors and high ceilings featuring old ornate plaster work, and the table was already prepared. A feast laid out before us, ready to eat. Rather than walking to a table with empty plates and waiting for courses to come to you, there’s something indulgent and special about walking into a room with every single item of food in front of you. I felt like a king, only the serving wenches were missing.
Food gone and between beers, a few of us played fussball. Two teams of two. One person controlling goal and defence and one controlling the midfield and strikers against another two in the opposite roles. After a shaky start, Jens and I decided we were the dream team. Well we were winning a lot, so surely a wanky team name is allowed?! We thought it was better we played as a team rather than against each other because nil all draws and penalty shoot outs are boring. Not to mention Germany usually winning those.
A long sleep-in the next day and road was calling us east. In a cloud of diesel, groggy lady at my side and a wobbly old dog on her mat, we were off again.
Arriving at Tangermünde’s rastplats or, retired people’s expensive motorhome shanty town, was another reminder that we are no longer in Scandinavia. The council-provided motorhome park was heaving. There must have been between 30 and 40 motorhomes – many with satellite dishes, all pointing skywards. The owners occasionally outside with deck chairs facing into the carpark to catch sight of and stare at new arrivals (oooh what fun!), but mostly inside watching telly. In Sweden, you don’t hear the annoying squeal and buzz of satellite dish setup, just the “tac, tac, tac” of Nordic walking sticks disappearing into the forest. Grey Nomads are fitter in Sweden.
Despite the unenthusiastic “tourist office”, Tangermünde was a beautiful town with a pleasant feel to it. I know, “pleasant” doesn’t sound great, but sometimes pleasant or nice, is all you’re after. A friendly lady in the icecream shop enthusiastically describing sweet things we can have on a waffle, or a “hallo” from a fellow dog walker adds to the pleasantness of a place.
Down by the Elbe on one corner of the town’s defensive wall there should have been an impressive castle. Apparently it was significantly remodelled by some pesky war-like Swedes in 1640.
East, further east. Autumn is here and winter is near. Although the sky is grey, the forests are putting on a spectacular show. You like gold? Gold is in this season and the look is gold. Whole forests of gold, I’ve never seen so many beautiful deciduous trees in one area. It’s like driving through a slightly spiced fermenting cider scented fireworks display. A natural last hurrah before the dark winter.