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Published: September 30th 2017
I had hoped to assemble a breakfast at the nearby market square, but it was just only setting up as I got there. Instead, I popped over to "Coffee Fellows", a huge coffee shop that specialized in bagels.
Geo: 50.0599, 7.76593
This hostel is loud - very echoey floors that carry the noise; you could hear a school group running around the other wing of the building, furniture being moved, a radio playing ... good thing for earplugs! There was some guy from Budapest in the room; we tried talking, but language difficulties made it difficult.
After breakfast, I caught up on some blogs at an internet cafe, until it was time to go to the train station. I regretted not grabbing a kebab, because I instead bought a horrid schnitzel sandwich. At first, I wondered why they kept their bread knife soaking in water - but then I realized that it imparted a tiny amount of moisture into the bread, as they cut it.
The schnitzel was so dry and hard that it could've been used to shingle a roof. I made a mistake of only asking for a little ketchup; they needed to soak the thing in ketchup to prevent me from gagging on it. Off to the Rheinfels Castle in St. Goar.
The ruins of Rheinfels were nothing special. I skipped the tunnels below the castle - I didn't have the time today, and didn't feel like having
Lox, cream cheese, tomato, lettuce, in an everything bagel. It had the makings of an awesome breakfast, but sadly, the bagel was day old (though it might have been decent toasted), and the minced garlic pieces were burnt and bitter. At least the lox and cream cheese were quite good.
For the 4 Euros I paid, I probably could have had another cold cuts and cheese buffet, but I needed a nice departure from that same breakfast routine of the past week and a half. I'll probably also have to consider popping into McDonald's some time, because I could use some pancakes.
I hung around Coffee Fellows for a while reading; I didn't want to get up off of the comfy couches.
to crouch for the hour it would take to see it all, to avoid smacking my head on the low ceilings.
I had some time to waste before the ferry to Bacharach, so I browsed in the tacky souvenir shops. St. Goar is a neat little town, but only worth a few hours. Having more time to kill, I read my book, down on the Rhine. Noticed a couple of American students also with the Rick Steves guide, so we started talking.
Doug's a computer engineering student from California, and Carmen's just completed his biomedical engineering degree, and is soon starting med school. Quite the ambitious guy, he wants to get his MBA after that, and then immediately start a biomedical firm. He's been working on and off for the Bill Gates foundation, and finds that while they come up with innovative biomedical solutions, they aren't economically feasible for developing nations. His goal is to create biomedical technology that is affordable for all people - quite admirable, I must say.
Apparently, their families are very close and frequently vacation together. I think I've finally found people that travel faster than I do - I couldn't believe how insane their itinerary
Huge back room inside of Coffee Fellows.
is. For reference - they have Eurail passes good for unlimited travel within two months. They've only been traveling for less than two weeks, and the pass has already more than paid off for itself. Funny, but scary moment - boarding the ferry, a gust of wind almost knocked the rail passes out of Doug's hands. Luckily, it didn't, because those two passes are probably worth $2000!
It was cloudy, and not the best day for a Rhine cruise, but still fun chatting with these guys. Some Spanish tourists on board also managed to keep me occupied ... we arrived in Bacharach - Doug and Carmen are on their way to Koln tonight, but were hungry and disembarked with me. We agreed to meet for dinner after they checked out the train schedules, and after I dropped off my bag at Pension Lettie.
The owner Lettie, asked if I wanted a traditional German breakfast (i.e. - exactly like breakfast in Holland, cold cuts and cheese) or eggs and waffles. "No more German breakfasts, please!!!" I begged. I can't handle too much more of that!
Met up with the boys, and we looked in the guidebook for a recommendation - Carmen found one
Mmm ... gotta love the Germans and their roasted loaves of meat.
that sounded good, but it was also described as being very romantic. I told him that it was OK, since there were three of us - but if it was just those two ...
We tried the Alteshaus - horrible service! There were three American guys sitting outside, and they asked us to join them, so we did. The waitress knew we were out there, and we even went inside to remind her two times that we were waiting to order, but she never came out, despite the place being empty inside. We waited at least 30 minutes (and who knows how long those other three waited before that), and decided to walk ten feet over to the patio of the adjacent place, Bastian's Weingut, a wine garden.
The waitress told us that there were over 50 people inside, so it would be a long wait for food. We were starving, and Carmen and Doug needed to leave soon, so we had to make a decision. The real reason to come to this wine garden is for the wine carousel (14 small servings of wine for 13 Euros). We didn't want to miss out on this, so we told the waitress
Looks like Steve Urkel's car.
that we would grab a kebab, and come back for the wine. Funny thing - they had actually run out of glasses for the wine carousel, so we would have to wait a while for wine glasses to be collected and washed, anyway.
We ended up back at a kebab shop that we had come across earlier - we laughed because we really wanted to eat here before, but decided to have a more "gourmet" dinner. It's Karma, we're back where we started, but there were no complaints.
We brought the food back to the wine garden and ate there - the waitress nicely reminded us that normally it wouldn't be OK, but given the circumstances ... the wine carousel still wasn't ready for us, but we figured it'd be better to finish eating first, since kebabs and wine aren't really a match. We also noted that the waitress from the other restaurant still hadn't come out of the restaurant. Obviously, she never planned on serving us, for whatever reason - but why not just tell us? Maybe the other three guys had somehow insulted her before we arrived?
The other three Americans are cycling through the Rhine as part of
Had a yummy Nusecke before hiking up to the Rheinfels castle in St. Goar - a triangular cookie with a shortbread base, topped with glazed nuts, and dipped in chocolate. What's not to like?
an annual fund raiser - two of the guys (Joe and Tim) are from New York State, and the fund raiser is a joint effort between their hometown (the name of which, I've forgotten), and their sister city here in Germany (the name of which, I've also forgotten).
The third guy was Patrick, from Houston, I think. He likes to make a lot of inappropriate comments, which quite honestly, I found hilarious, but his two travel mates seem to despise him. Hmm ... since him and I have such similar senses of humour, I wonder what my friends think of me???
Somehow the subject of the cannibal of Rothenburg (a famous tourist town in Germany) came up. Apparently, some psycho killed and ate several people - but the kicker? His victims were willing participants! I guess he found them on the internet and told them exactly what he was going to do, and his victims agreed to it!
Joe was a beer distributor, and he told us an interesting story about American politics and lobby groups. We were told that the bootleggers that operated during prohibition eventually became the legal distributors, once prohibition was repealed. To ensure this, the distributors lined the
This might have been the street where Tri was born. Because we all know how gassy he can be, and that he was probably born that way.
pockets of politicians, which basically evolved into the current system of political lobby groups making campaign contributions. Take it for what it's worth, because the guy telling the story has his own agenda.
According to Joe, him and many of his friends (more than he could count on his fingers and toes) ran their own breweries, but were run out of business because they couldn't import their beer into the States. Joe used to brew and import his beer from Germany, but got shut out - the average person can't tell because of the selection of beers available, but there is really only one or two big distributors that dominate the market. So if they don't want your product to hit the market ...
Joe told us that in Germany, the largest beer brand market share is only 4% - "how can the USA be the land of the free, when the beer market is almost a monopoly?", he preached. "How come they have so much more selection in Germany than we do?" Again, Joe's biased, so who knows how much truth is behind what he says ... but it's food for thought.
We heard about another place that offered wine carousel, 6
World's largest beer stein, at 35 litres.
wines (full glasses) for 10 Euros. Unfortunately, it was closed by the time we had arrived. Joe and Tim grabbed a kebab, and we followed them in. There were another two Americans already eating inside, a couple from NYC. A few minutes later, mom and daughter from Florida came in to eat - with the exception of Joe, Tim, and Patrick, everybody in that kebab shop was using the Rick Steves guidebook.
Then, things got really bizarre - in walked Carmen's roommate and his girlfriend from Norway. They had no previous knowledge of each others' itineraries - it was a completely random encounter. Carmen and Doug didn't even plan on being in Bacharach tonight, and the next thing you know, they're running into friends from back home.
See, kebabs are more than just food - they bring people together! The next time two nations are at war, just invite them to a kebab shop, bring along a mediator, serve some kebabs, and they'll be so busy enjoying eating them that they'll completely forget about what the problem was!
Joe bought us a round of Bitburgers, and opened them with his ring that was specially-designed for opening beer bottles. We all just
ACE juice - getting run-down, needed some nutrients and vitamins.
hung out and joked around for awhile, until Carmen and Doug had to leave to catch their train. I left soon after, but only after getting a lesson in Kosher law from Patrick.
It turned out to be a strange, but great night. It's true when they say "It's a small world" - but where the hell were those stupid, annoying, singing, animatronic dolls from the Disney ride?
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