Morning wakes and it’s the last day in Paris. The bustle of last minute packing then it’s stepping out into the Rue de la Folie Regnault, home for the past four days, for the last time.
A quiche lorraine and a pain au chocolat are my last mouthfuls of France as we sit at the train station. The flaky, cheese-crisped skin melts in my mouth… I wish I could think of a metaphor that says something about how experience is melting into memory and becoming part of me just like the food is, but I can’t make it sound nice. Too early in the morning. Maybe should have started with the chocolate.
Farewell, Paris! Paris is at once ephemeral and gritty, with not much of an in between. Like a slice of wagyu beef in a greasy ramly burger… Something to that effect. It’s raw and super refined at the same time, and complemented by a large dose of the sauce of touristy wonder. Quite a good meal, I must say.
Why does everything come down to food? French pastry is really nice though, fluffy and flaky and stretchy. Yum!
Well we’re about to board the train (oh my a real train!) and I hope I don’t get motion sickness. Off into Germany! The Rhineland. Oh man… Gonna enjoy it. The home of deuter and adidas, a million tiny home-grown breweries, five thousand different wursts, wonderful engineering and efficiency, BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, 200km/h autobahns, the Black Forest and Black Forest cake, winsome Bavarian milkmaids…
Okay so maybe not the last one.
here we go! The TGV is very cool, it’s going to go really really fast! First time ever. Zoom! Looking forward to see things speeding past. I would like to take a supersonic jet though… Backseat of an F-14 would be cool. A Tomcat is my favourite jet fighter, though technically it’s a fighter-interceptor and far more suited for the interceptor role rather than a dogfight. The mighty Phoenix missile… Okay so a supersonic flight, woot! Though I would probably die from motion sickness. Four hour train ride. Well the seats are big and spacious and it looks like I will have a good long nap. I hope I wake up intermittently to look at the scenery. Wow! If you can’t already tell by the excessive number of exclamation marks (an aberration I am very aware of), I’m very excited. Probably later when I’m foaming over the journey I will ask myself what am I doing here, but for now, it is really cool. Train is moving moving moving wheeeeeee! Like a small boy on the MRT for the first time, knees on the seat with face plastered to the window, saying mum mum look a red car!
German landscape flows by the window… Before that it was French fields. I like Germany at first glance. The vegetation looks like all the branches grow upwards and have smaller leaves, very different to our majestic rainforest matriarchs. Less colour, but so many greens! Holly and viridian and green tinged with honey. And bales of hay on farms. Why is gay in bales? Must find out. The train stations are concrete and grey… Functional is the word I would use. There doesn’t seem to be much litter. Is this my presumptions of what Germany should be like coming into play? It is a wide, flat land – sort of like Rohan if everything were the same gradient. Which isn’t how Rohan is, of course. I imagine Rohan to be rolling plains and hills, covered in green swards and luminously healthy wheat, Edoras shining in the distance, horses everywhere, their neighs on the wind…
Germany is great! It is really clean and feels very organized and purposeful, like everything is in it’s place. And every other car is really a Benz or BMW or Volkswagen. Everyone is enormously tall. The air is fresh, but I think that’s a Europe thing. Probably because it’s dry.
We get into our apartment (huge and spacious compared to France), and the windows open onto the Rhine! The Rhjne is glorious. It looks serene and placid and enormous. I love this looking at famous rivers feeling. So far the Mekong takes the cake… Over the Thames and the Rhine and the Seine.
Germany is quiet and modern. Their public transport is cleaner than ours and is perfectly on time. This is Mainz, one of the smaller cities… Maybe Munich will be different. But I like this place. It sort of reminds me of home.
Oh my oh my oh my their MRT equivalent has nice velvety seats and dustbins and is quiet and there’s a power socket near the seats and there’s a toilet on the train whaaaaatttttt this place is awesome
Visiting a castle now, the Rheingau Wine Museum in the Bromserburg. It’s really cool! Knights and swords and pikes and other merciless instruments of death. And wine wine wine. It’s a real medieval place with walls and dungeons and a mead hall. The audio guide is ultra fascinating and this is a great place to bring kids on a school trip. Fantastic! There’s a 2000 year old bronze drinking boot. Wow. All these glass bottles and cups and punch bowls they have on display are exquisite. Poetry taken glass form. There are pigeons everywhere. The alcoves of the castle belong to them. We reach the too of the tower and the view is just mindblowing. Whosaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Vast open expanses of sky and the river and oh my I feel like a Middle Ages dude on the battlements.
Rudesheim is a real picturesque town. Cobblestones and a relaxed atmosphere and friendly Germans and cheap MEAT! It is wonderful. I love this place. All these nice blonde and blue eyed people. Time for a food blog!
My dinner is going to be cream of tomato soup, PORK KNUCKLE!!, and the local beer to go with it. The beer comes first, Bitburger it’s called. A clear honey in colour, it smells great, flowery sweet. It’s not very bitter – enough to be beer-y, with a hint of nuttiness and a sweetish aftertaste. I want another mug.
Tomato soup is next. It’s very thick with a strong flavour, and a generous dollop of cream. I would say it’s pretty good… 7/10? Certainly above average.
Now for the pork knuckle. When it lands on my plate it is like a tank. It is ginormous. It is the size of my two fists put together, and then wrapped again with another hand. When I attack it, it is like discovering the MOTHERLODE of all meat. Digging into the pork knuckle I simply find more and more… A never ending flow of meat. I feel like a miner in Khazad-dum who has found a new vein of mithril. It just flows and flows. Soon it is the pork knuckle that is attacking me. I have to portion out pieces of it to the other three. Oh man. It’s intense. After much help and perseverance I finally finish the pork knuckle. But I can’t call it a victory… It’s just completion. Barely. But the pork is super soft especially near the bone, replete with fat and collagen. Washed down with beer it’s a very earthy, satisfying meal.
Also, everyone thinks we’re from Japan.
On the way back to our homely hotel, all I can think is that German trains are a pleasure to ride.