I haven't drunk lager for quite a few years now, having gone off the bitter metallic aftertaste. Our German friends, Christian and Lena, directed us to the small, private brewery named Pinkus in Münster on Saturday night. The beer had a fresh, clean flavour which we both enjoyed very much.
Lena and Christian graduated from university in Münster and as they knew their way round,made excellent tour guides. We covered the city and surrounding areas by bicycle, on foot and in the car. Münster was mostly flattened in WW2 but has been rebuilt, architects referring to original plans for many of the buildings. Three hideous cages hang from the spire of the St Lambert's Church. This is where the bodies of three leaders of the Münster rebellion were hung after being tortured and executed in 1536. A permanent reminder to the citizens to behave themselves and to quash any further attempts by Anabaptists to seize power.
The bicycle rules this clean and green city, it is said that they out number people by 2:1. A short tour on our bikes took us via the Aa See a freshwater lake, close to the city centre. The next day Mike's backside complained a little after an extended 28km ride to a beautiful wetland natural park.
It was my birthday on Monday. The evening got off to an excellent start with Lena and Christian giving me two bottles of Pinkus and a small bottle of Jaegermeister. Mike wasn't left out, they gave him a bottle of Erdingher alcohol free. Whilst we had been in Münster I had made comment about the number of Germans drinking in the parks and on the street. This gave me the opportunity to behave like the locals, so we started the evening on a park bench, shared our beers and left the empties so that someone else would benefit from the deposit money on the bottles. I tucked the Jaegermeister in my top pocket for later (not sure that was very Germanic). After our beers we went on for pizza at the Vapiano restaurant, a new concept in dining. No cash transactions take place, nor is there a waiter or waitress to serve you at the table. On arrival each individual is handed a 'credit' card.
Along one side of the restaurant are several stations, one to order starters, one for main courses, another for puddings and a separate bar. When you have chosen you place your order at the relevant staton. The card is swiped and you are given a bleeper. This is activated when the meal is ready and you can go and collect your food. The restaurant was huge with benches at pine tables , each of which had a box containing fresh potted rosemary and basil along with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. There was no pressure to vacate the table and when we left we presented the card to the cashier, paid and left.
We took the ferry from Calais early last week following my father's 80th birthday celebrations the previous weekend. (Sorry Dad, if you were keeping your age a secret) We arrived in Münster on Friday afternoon after a few days in Mönchengladbach and last Thursday night in Dülmen. We're now parked at a Stellplatz in Siegen approximately 2 hours south of Münster on the Autobahn.
About half an hour after our arrival a lady arrived on her bicycle and gave us leaflets about the town and surrounding area. Was she employed by tourist information? No, she fought the council to have the Stellplatz here and now she distributes the leaflets to visitors. Did she have leaflets in English? No, but she cycled home to get one and wrote some additional information for us on it in english.
In just 10 days we have crossed 3 countries, discovered German beer, celebrated 2 birthdays, explored a new city and sent off the visa applications for Russia and Belarus. On Friday we learnt that Mike's son Lee got a very well deserved promotion. Well done Lee.