Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Arriving in the Fatherland (Mixed feelings but the hotel is fabulous !) Kedange sur Canner to Eppelborn

After a bad dinner, a questionable breakfast, and a less than comfortable room, there is nothing holding me in Kedange sur Canner. Except cold morning weather that is. But even that is not an obstacle big enough to keep me here.
It's not actually as cold as it looks.  But it's a very unusual light that gets my camera excited

Still not trusting the Boche !
When I called Grandma last night, she was excited to hear names of places that she remembers from her youth (We're talking 1930 here !).  She used to work as a secretary in the office of the Mayor of Thionville.  When I try to remember the exact name of the hotel close to my birth place that I will be staying in tomorrow, she completes the rather complicated name.  That hotel has been there when Grandma was a young woman and when people walked between villages. There is a lot of history in this area that I'm riding through. Both belligerent history and family history.

By now I have been pedaling parallel to the border for quite  a while.
I'm still in France, but there is a German sign there. If I would walk behind it, I'd be walking in Germany !

And somewhere here I cross the border (NO, the actual border is invisible)
It almost happens by instinct. As soon as I see the first well-dressed older people with the mistrusting unhappy look, I know I am back in the Fatherland.  After that first encounter, I can't resist the overpowering impulse urge to stop the bike, take out my cell phone, and take the following picture.

Only a few minutes later do I realize what an impact that Fawlty Towers episode has had on me ;-)  HERE IS A LINK to the relevant minutes that burned themselves into my brain years ago.

Free Food !

I keep pedaling East, first through corn fields and then through the outskirts of the Saar steel-producing region.


I arrive in the small town of Eppelborn around noon and the hotel room is a pleasant surprise:
NOT bad for 39 Euros per night (fabulous breakfast included !)
Breakfast was a long time ago and I'm starving, so I look up the restaurants in the vicinity on TripAdvisor. There seems to be a rather good place about 6 km away.  Not staring at my phone all the time, I get lost at first, but the view is worth it.

After back-tracking all of the hill-journey,I start again at the hotel and eventually make it to the restaurant
I get there a bit late (2 pm and they close at 3) but they agree to feed me. I order the wine listed on the blackboard outside and it is GOOD !
But not as good as the real-veal Wiener Schnitzel.  Oh so tender !  And even the amount of lemon they provided with it is PERFECT. Just enough to get out that fabulous mysterious flavour of the combination but not enough to turn the meal into a soggy sour saliva-shocker. 

A while later I head to a supermarket. Two things I buy are memorable. The Chocolate (look at the country !).

And of course I need something to drink. And the beverage will come in very handy just a few moments later.

I'm glad that I have that bubbly ready when I skype my mother.  I mention tomorrow's hotel in my birth place city, and she gets all excited and wants to know the name, the price, and the address, so that she can go there some time with her dog.  When I jokingly mention that if she went tomorrow, she could actually see her son, she starts whining "Oh, but it's so far, and my dog doesn't like travelling".   

The beverage being consumed much helps in focusing on the good fortune that she is NOT coming. 

Being half buzzed also helps in another venue.  
At some point I almost fall out of my chair.  
Is it Hannibal crossing the Alps with elephants?  
Or has someone just stepped on the tail of a great prehistoric giant cat?

No, it is just the town's Oom Pah Pah band practicing in the building next door. Unfortunately the window of the room they are practicing in is RIGHT ACROSS from my window and they have their window OPEN !

An Oom Pah Pah band
It's a strange thing.
I really enjoy Native drumming and chanting.  
Bag-Pipe music is soothing to my soul.  
The hooting sound of an Australian Aboriginal Didgeridoo lets me dream of travelling there. And even the suffering and hauntingly foreign sounds that Spanish marching bands manage to get out of their brass wind instruments I adore.  

But play some German Oom Pah Pah music and see me cringing and running as fast as I can to escape from the dumb noise.  
Not so easily done when the bastards practice for HOURS right next window.  

Is a people's music a window to the people's soul?. Probably.  How could Bach and Beethoven be replaced by something that people clap their leather-clad thighs to? 

Don't get me wrong, in certain circumstances the idea of thigh-slapping could be appealing (Trust me, deep down, EVERY man over 50 is a dirty old man ;-)

But in the general the whole Oom Pah Pah thing rates in comparison to proper music like a typical German Tits&Arse joke in comparison to fine British wit.

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