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Lunch was a gas in Germany

September 16, 2013

It was a memorable day at Pier 51 at the Machee in Hanover. The Machee is a large lake and Pier 51 is a restaurant built out over the lake and a very pleasant venue for lunch. Old pal, and Australian, Larry Smith, who had flown back from his home country, was funding the whole thing in celebration of his wonderfully Germanic partner Marita, and her 50th birthday. A generous and formerly wealthy man, until a business in Australia accounted for a chunk of that, he paid for around 50 guests to drink copious amounts of a fabulous Austrian white wine I had never heard of but was so good that even I, an uncommitted drinker of the white stuff, was tempted into a second glass. This was all the more surprising as the red was a 2005 Italian red, known as a junior Barolo, to which I paid my very considerable respects for the rest of the afternoon. I was able to enjoy myself winding him up for most of the day about not only the expense of the wine but the expense of the three-piece Latin group he had flown in from Munich. When he said they had a harp player, I expected to see the old mouth organ appear, but oh no, this was a real harp. I realised quite quickly that he was a bit bitter about the cost, feeling he has been ripped off by the band, who knew that were Marita’a choice and worked him over on the fee. So comments like “did the harp have to have its own seat on the plane?” and “wouldn’t it have been cheaper if it has been a mouth harp?” struck their mark so well, I could not resist making it a theme for the afternoon. Fabulous food, lobster mousse, surf and turf and a delightful cheeseboard ahead of the magnificent strawberry lasagna desert must also have cost a pretty penny, and over a cigar on the delightful terrace watching the boats go by, I was moved to say that the food was so good, it made me thirsty, so through gritted teeth a couple more bottles (at 48 euros a pop) were brought to the table. I was able to tell Larry that when he moves back to Europe, which he surely will soon, not to forget to use the winning services of Currencies Direct for his international foreign exchange needs, thus work was done and expenses may be claimed.

a dodgy street in hanover

The red light district of Hanover?

After taxiing back to the hotel for a siesta, the lure of a pint of Guinness at the Berliner bar was eschewed for a wander around old Hanover, which after the bombing in World War 2 means that much of it is new Hanover, where we found a quaint tapas bar in a rare old building and shared a bottle of Australian Shiraz in Larry’s honour to send us to bed. We have been able to avoid having any typical German food on the 5 days we have been here, managing to find Caribbean, Italian, Mexican and Spanish restaurants respectively in which to eat. Even the best meal we had at Sababurg was distinctly international, so bratwurst and schnitzel have been dodged and with luck, as we begin the big drive back to the south of France today, will continue to be dodged. Whilst we were sitting outside in the evening (yes it was cool but dry) I noticed a sign that said “Gaslichkeit auf 3 etagen”. Now I have been very good and not strayed into tasteless German jokes over the past week, well not very often anyway, but I could not resist telling That Nice Lady Decorator that it meant that that could gas you on all  3 levels. Of course she did not believe me and made me google that Gas word there and then and it means hospitality, so I stand corrected.

Chris France

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