/ Europe2017

Ubergärig und untergärig

Lazy day today. It has always been the plan to find a small Black Forest town and chill. Alpirsbach is ideal because it has just enough to make a walk into town worthwhile but little else - apart from the brewery. The brewery is in cahoots with our chill-out plan because they don't have a tour until 2:30pm so absolutely no hurry to move this morning. In fact it is nearly midday when I collect our morning bread!

Before we leave the campsite I just have to investigate this

A solar cooker with a parabolic lens reflecting the sun's heat on to a black stew pot. Interesting. Wonder how long water takes to heat in full sun?

It's about a mile into town, the first 3/4 of which is via a forest track. It's quite a steep downhill, despite having a near hairpin on it. A hairpin on a pedestrian track for goodness sake! It's good surface all the way and a pleasant stroll, passing through a huge collection of winter log piles, all drying neatly under tarpaulins. Bet life here is interesting in a couple of months time!

After yesterday's 3 Lidl's (albeit that two of them were only for turning around in their carparks) we stopped at Alpirsbach's supermarket - Lidls, to buy drinks. Really must try and broaden our shopping horizons. 

This is small town Germany. Most of the shops were shut for lunch. Several were shut just because it's a Thursday - one really nice looking shop will be open for a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon and again on Saturday morning but that's it. Another is closed for 3 days whilst they sort stock. It's a different world from the bustling UK high street and 24 hour hypermarkets.

The station is unmanned and no real information about train services and times. Buses are confusing because there are a couple of operators. We find tourist information but it it closed until 2pm. So we sit on a bench, eat our lunch and chill. 

The Alpirsbach Kloster Brewery is well-renowned and it's brewery plant is next door to the old monastery. Brewery tours are once a day at 2:30 so we sign up. Before we hand over any money it is carefully explained that the tours are in German language only and that the tour is of the museum rather than the current active brewery. Fine says we. Now the next question, how much do we want to pay? - €7 gets us a brewery tour, a couple of samples and a souvenir small beer mug. For an extra €2.90 there is the same tour, same two beers, same mug but an extra couple of miniatures of beer schnapps and a shot glass. Supersize me!

To be fair they do provide a 6 page English transcript of the salient points and it is interesting reading. The brewing stuff we knew but local problems like stopping beer freezing on the drays during the winter and keeping it cold during the summer weren't something we'd thought of. Also the family history of the brewery, only 130 years old but still independent, made interesting reading.

The tour guide was obviously very funny. I do hope he realised why Liz and I weren't laughing. Occasional words made sense, occasionally new words, such as in today's blog title suddenly made sense in context (ubergärig: altbier, kolsch, siebzig Celsius, ubtergärig: pils, helles, zehn Celsius) so it was quite fun trying to get anything at all out of the verbal part of the tour.

The beers were good. We didn't engage in conversation in the bier keller, probably because most of the other attendees were also of an age and may not have had English at school, or if they did maybe it was so long ago they didn't want to practice now. And why should they - Liz and I are the ones at fault here, strangers in a strange land who haven't even made an effort to learn to communicate - shame on us. A pity because a separate guide took the opportunity to explain all the brewery's different beer styles in great detail. Again a fine comedic touch and judging by some of the laughter maybe a little politically incorrect on times.

Still the English at the campsite i is excellent but we try hard not to abuse the privilege. The warden catches Liz photographing the menu (so we can translate at leisure in the van) and proffers help. No, for goodness sake, we are trying hard not to be bloody ignorant tourists!

Our translations were good, the trout was with cranberries, although my schnitzel mit kartoffeln barely needed translation.

One nice thing about eating out in Europe is that many restaurants provide a small digestif at the end of the meal. Amazingly even here the campsite waiter brought us a couple of glasses of a local honey based spirit. Not too fierce and very honey-sweet it was a nice end to the meal. We like this campsite so much we've just decided to double our stay to four nights.

Oh, on the way back from town we stumbled upon this imaginative way to add interest to your guttering downpipe. I assume that during rain the downpipe spout powers the overshot wheel which activates the cyclist. Pity a small generator wasn't added too, or maybe that's what the cyclist's clothing is hiding?