Above: the "bistro"at the campground. Below: klaverjas; naptime; Kaffee Worpswede, where we enjoyed many different shades of oversaturated yellow and had a surprisingly sophisticated and delicious meal; wonderfully salty bread, more people should make bread this way; desperately unsaturated spaghetti mit sommertrüffel, spinat und parmesan; schnitzel “Wiener Art” auf warmem kartoffel-rucolasalat und pesto (Wiener Art = schnitzel, a big pile of schnitzel).
Not pictured: rucolasalat mit gebackenem ziegenkäse, strauchtomaten und pesto, also full of little surprises like trapezoids of perfectly cooked asparagus and tart spheres of fried goat cheese; the portly waiter who negged me all night long (pretending to have no idea what my pronounciation of "hefeweizen" could possibly be referring to; smirking and-or tsking when I ordered schnitzel and a bier while my sophisticated date ordered truffles and wine; coming back after I struggled through 3 of my 4 schnitzels and pointing at the last, saying "what's this here, then?"; offering only Madame Nelson the dessert card because she finished her dinner and I didn't, when in fact it was I who finished her dinner in order to make her plate look clean, I AM NOT BITTER). It was kind of cute after a while.
More reporting from our Department of Cultural Stereotypes. It's because heyyyyyy, you can't help it, you just notice things, right? When you travel? Meet new "peoples"?
Like for example, you come visit America for the first time....you notice things! Wow, everyone's so polite and friendly all the time, unless they disagree with your politics, or unless you have any kind of opinion about America not being perfect, or unless they're sitting alone at their computer posting violent, misspelled vitriol about things they only barely understand at some vague, inarticulate, primal level of repulsion or attraction! There are TVs everywhere, really loud, all tuned to either CNN or ESPN or something with Guy Fieri in it! And the food, goodness, the food portions are so.....big! The people are so....so....big!
There was a sign at the entrance to the campground that I saw, but didn't really read, because I don't speak German and sometimes the signs, they just bounce off. This one said something like "Rest Period: 13:00-15:00 and 22:00-07:00".
Great, yes, I'm all for rest. People need rest. We certainly could've used some rest the night in question because we barely slept a fucking wink due to some asshole snoring away like a power saw somewhere nearby.
But I digress. Something that was not explained to us when we checked in was that this signage I almost noticed indicated a mandatory rest period during which no vehicles were supposed to be driven in the campground. So when we got home from Das Sonntag at 11:17pm or something Thursday night, the big metal gate to the campground was closed. "Huh", we said. "Boo."
I got out and looked at the gate, and lo and behold there was a place for a key, I tried the one key I'd been given for the bathroom and showers, and lo and behold it worked. Yay! Why would it work if you weren't supposed to use it? I quietly moved the gate aside, we drove in, I locked it, we parked, we walked to the tent, didn't sleep due to power snoring, etc.
The next morning when Nelson was brushing her teeth one of the campground managers came up to her and gave her a stern lecture about making noise in the campground after 10pm. "Two people complained!!!" How did anyone have any idea that Nelson was the culprit? This we don't know. Nelson replied to the manager (probably with a mouthful of toothpaste), "Yeah, we didn't know, very sorry!" The manager said, well, don't do it again, and Nelson said, yeah, um, sorry (fuck you), we're going to do it again tonight. We have a dinner reservation at 8pm, so I imagine we won't make it back by 10. "Well then you can't park inside the campground." Stare in disbelief. Snarl. Etc.
I missed all this, I was taking a shower or something. When I saw Nelson again there was literally steam rising off of her and she was flushed scarlet a delicate pink with apoplectic rage. Her last coherent word was,"Germans!!!!" before her eyes rolled back and she slipped into a mumbling semi-catatonia (ed. note: catatonia and mumbling? may want to check on this). Eventually I was able to get her eyes to refocus and she gradually turned unpink and she told me what happened and then it was time to go into town for breakfast and Art.
We ended up at Moma Kafehaus and had a helpfully-portioned cup of coffee and a surprisingly tasty and intereresting piece of healthy "Worpswede" chocolate cake, unfortunately I can't find any more info on this, then went to look for Heinrich Vogeler's house and the museum inside. How hard could it be to find?
Wellllll....we didn't have the Wifi or the Google Maps or the any useful technology, and the town had kept signage to an impressively absolute minimum, hopefully due to aesthetic concerns because that's the only valid reason there could be for making your main tourist attractions so goddamn hard to find, and so we eventually gave up and went to the Tourist Center to find a map.
Nelson parked outside with the engine running while I went inside for maybe 4 minutes, and I returned to find Nelson wild-eyed and pink again.
"Did you see that woman?" she said.
"What woman," I said, looking around.
"That woman on the bike."
"She just came up to me and told me I couldn't park here."
"But you're not parked here. You're waiting."
"Exactly! That's what I said. I said I'm waiting for my boyfriend, he's just in there."
"And she said, well you can't wait here,"
"But there's nothing happening here."
"I know! And now...there she is! See her? She's taking a picture of that parked car over there."
Indeed, a totally normal-looking older woman (older than me, maybe 55) was on her bike, stopped, taking a picture of the back of a parked car with her phone. Was she the po-po? No visible indications of that. Was she just crazy? Could be.
Orrrrrrrr......was it just the kind of broken-camel-back behavior you see from rule-following locals in a town besieged by rule-breaking tourists.
I didn't eat anything like this in Germany last week, but I am striving for a week of very simple food and this is pretty much all I felt like eating last night, and, strangely enough, again tonight. You can also un-German-ly add a 1/2 cup of washed quinoa to this when you add the water/broth.....suuuuuuper health time.
german braised cabbage.
2 tbsp lubricant of your choice, I used goat butter last night, tonight I probably use butter butter, but olive oil would also be juuuust dandy
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 garlic clove, pummeled
1/2 large green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 cup water or vegetable broth
optionally, 1 tbsp vinegar, I didn't feel like this last night
salt, or possibly smoked salt and pepper to taste
Melt lubricant. Add onions and brown slightly.
Add sugar and let caramelize.
Add cabbage, garlic, caraway seeds, and water or broth. Bring to boil and simmer, covered, about 1/2 hour or until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if needed.
Season with more salt and pepper if necessary and add vinegar if desired.
Yeah I ripped this off from here, haven't felt like duckifying the whole thing yet.
There are no informative pictures of Thursday night. We were kind of pressed for time. OK here's an example.
Yeah, what is that. Here's what things looked like if I turned my head to the right:
Mmm, yeahh slightly more revealing. But mostly we just forgot pictures because we'd been traveling at top speed to get here, this charming little biergarten/terrace called Das Sonntag. Why was time a factor? Wellllll the day before, Nelson had made an 8:00pm dinner reservation. The next day, I left Amsterdam on a 3:01pm train to Groningen, she picked me up at the train station in the Black Fox and we somehow arrived at Das Sonntag in Worpswede at 7:58pm.
OK, OK, we also stopped to check in at the campground and set up the tent, and then got lost for the first of many many many times this weekend. But still. It felt like a triumph. Anyway, we arrived at Sonntag not only right on time but also stupidly hungry, which we kind of seemed to do everywhere this weekend, so we had a couple of flammkuchen that were ultimately unphotographable in the available light, but they certainly did the job with/to/for our available stomach space.
Sometimes it sounds like I don't speak English.
And then we just "people watched" or whatever you call that, while nursing a couple of Beck's (the local beer, brewed in Bremen, but yeah in the same way Heineken is Amsterdam's local beer), and struggling with terrifically spotty Wifi.
Then the next morning you could really kind of see what the campgrounds looked like:
Oh but right, I have to talk about coming home after curfew and Germans and rules. And forgetting your passport. And not sleeping due to power snoring from neighboring tents. Soon, rabbit, soon.
Above: A real bratwurst from a charcoal grill at a flea market in rural Lower Saxony, with mustard and curry ketchup.
In order to strike back against the anti-climax of Summer Holiday 2016 (me getting sick that is) and to achieve something like an anti-anti-climax, Nelson and I fled to Northern Germany for a couple of days. Specifically here, which I was going to say is nothing like what this New York Times profile suggests, but in fact, well....everything they say about the aging population and the alien-ness of modern art and what will happen if a new generation doesn't take over.....that's all very true it seems.
But we had fun! And swam in an icy cold river. And France remains the most overrated country in Europe. Germany was full of exceptionally friendly people (ok, ok, "our 48 hours in this one German town of 9,000 people were full of etc, except for two people that I can't forget to tell you about"), delicious vegetarian food, giant grilled sausages, and as a not-unexpected bonus, big long randomly capitalized German words for everything instead of puh puh puh poopoo le voo French ones (I need a metatag for something along the lies of "fake racism", and possibly an additional one to signify that I know this is not exactly racism at all but more like grand cultural generalizations cleverly disguised as fake racism....it's all verrrrrrry complicated, I assure you, that's why I need a catchy little metatag).
Plus: we camped! And one of the nights, I slept! I slept like a really long German word in another really long German word.
This is an often-NSFW, mostly gluten-free kitchen notebook that also occasionally threatens to turn into something else and fails, thus remaining its same old cryptic and superficial self. These posts begin to fail to explain (start at the bottom).