Small beer country

This is small beer country. It’s impossible to get a normal-sized one.
I asked for a “großes Bier” today and she came back with a 0.2l glass. A fucking thimble. It was gone before I even knew I drank it.
“Do you not have any bigger beers?” I asked.
“They’re the biggest we have,” she replied. “You can always order more of them.”
I guess that’s the idea. The locals like to brag about how many beers they were able to consume the night before. “Ja, Ich hatte 20 Biers letzte Nacht! Man, bin ich ein Trinkschwein!”
Twenty beers being about the equivalent of a pint.

I first discovered the small beer phenomenon when I arrived in Leverkusen. If ever there was a place where you need large beers it’s Leverkusen. Jaaaaysus, it’s shit. Beyond shit. Shit is a compliment.
I strolled its streets at night and wondered why its inhabitants were all hiding. Not a sinner to found anywhere, not a stray cat, not even a rat.
Trains don’t even stop in Leverkusen, whizzing by to leave you feeling unwanted on the platform. I swear they speed up as they approach the town. The driver probably closes his eyes and holds his breath as he zooms through.
The locals (perhaps they’re vampires, I only met them during the day) speak an incomprehensible language among themselves. They could understand me, and reply in German, but I couldn’t decipher a word they said to each other. Probably just as well.

Bochum, like Leverkusen, also had the feeling of being a giant mall. Again, the beers were tiny. An utterly uninteresting town. Even a Fernsehturm worse than Hamburg’s can’t save it.

I didn’t sample any beers, big or small, in Hannover, but still woke up with a hangover when my alarm failed to sound for an early train out of there. Even without drink, mornings are bad here. There’s a guy on a horse outside the Bahnhof and it has cute little green trams, but that’s all I can tell you about Hannover.

I ended up in Köln at 2.30am, (where I had to wait an hour for a connection back to fucking Leverkusen) and its cathedral is impressive. The centre looked nice enough through my exhaustion and until my little tour was interrupted by an over-friendly transvestite who kept following me until I decided to head back to the Bahnhof.

I’m in Düsseldorf now, where there seems a strange fascination with coloured statues in various poses on top of pillars. It also has a Fernsehturm! But it’s crap, albeit not as crap as Hamburg’s.
The old/rebuilt part of the city’s nice, crammed with bars and restaurants frequented by hen and stag nights. I guess they come here so they can brag about all the beers they drank. The beer is nice, golden coloured and brewed locally, and the locals seem to like nothing more than standing around narrow tables outside the brewpubs, sipping.
It’s certainly better than the other cities I’ve passed through to date, although it wouldn’t be hard. Düsseldorf’s bigger, there are people, and trains stop here – my main reason for making it my new World Cup base – but as mentioned before, the beers are tiny.

Comments

  1. How much longer will you be out on the road?

    Berlin's missing you... it tells me this every single day!

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  2. Ah Berlin, I miss it too! It really makes the rest of Germany seem so crap.

    Today is my last day of the women's World Cup, so I'll be home again tomorrow! I won't be in Berlin for long though - the other home, Ireland, is calling! Back in Berlin proper at the end of July.

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  3. I've never been to Leverkusen, but hell I can agree with you on Bochum being absolute shit. Possibly even cursed. Then again the whole Ruhr-Pott is really a place better avoided.

    Too bad about not being able to see ya in Berlin! Hope the WM coverage is going well...

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  4. bochum!! i've been there. i was visiting a friend of mine who was doing an exchange semester there. i had so much fun with her and her friends from all around europe, so i can't be objective about it. ah the great memories... :)

    re: beer: you could go to an international pub and ask for a pint. i went to an irish pub in berlin on my first night (i had no idea where else to go by myself) and got a pint of cider. but i had to explain to the german bartender what a pint was :)

    or just do it the german way, drink 383980982 glasses of beer and brag about it!

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