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Blog: The German Tour: part six - more sightseeing, more spinach

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We awoke in Dresden, as promised, to the sound of DRUMMING. Now, nobody takes MORE delight in the sound of drum soundchecks than me, and even i TIRE of it after 0.2 picoseconds, but I do quite enjoy the fact that it is the same WHEREVER you go and WHATEVER kind of drumming you hear. This was a PUNK drummer but he STILL ran through the repertoire of Drum Patterns, it's like listening to a drum machine firing up. You KNOW he's never EVER going to need "The Baggy Beat" or "Jazz 1" or "The Introduction To Live Forever", he's JUST going to being playing "Ska 3" all day, but he's LEARNED them and he's going to PLAY them!

After discussing this we roused ourselves from slumber and went about our ABLUTIONS. I've tried not to mention this too much, even though it was a LARGE part of our trip, but in Germany the lavatories are somewhat different to in the UK. They have an "inspection shelf". I'm all for this, I like to know how I'm feeling, day by day, and according to the Inspection Shelf I was in RUDE HEALTH. MASSIVELY so. Imagine my horror, then, when I realised that the toilet (which, as stated previously) was the Pub Toilet, wasn't WORKING. HORRIFIC FUTURES flashed through my mind of us being pursued by an ENRAGED MOB and banned from Bavaria FOREVER. Perhaps I could just burn the pub down? Eventually I MANFULLY wrestled with the stop cock (now then!) and fixed it, but the matches were a pretty close second option.

We packed up, idiot checked, and set off into town. Before leaving I'd promised The Fruit In My Fruitcake that I'd bring back some LEBKUCHEN (German biscuits, a bit like Jaffa Cakes but nicer) and STOLLEN (heavy heavy Christmas Cake) and was becoming a bit OBSESSED with finding them, as I'd not seen any yet. We popped over the road to a bakery/cafe to get a coffee and you could hardly MOVE for Stollen! PHEW!

With Coffee on the go we strolled through Dresden, which is a lovely place. It was massively bombed during the war, despite the fact it had no strategic military importance, and has since become twinned with Coventry, which suffered the same fate. It's all rather lovely and touching that two cities which were WIPED OUT so horrendously by each other's sides were able to join together in the spirit of reconciliation, and every now and then you see symbols of this in the city.

I knew all about this before we went, so was expecting Dresden to LOOK like Coventry. GOODNESS ME NO. With all the good will, tact and diplomacy on earth I don't think ANYBODY would say that Coventry is a beautiful city. Or even nice. Or indeed not bloody horrible to look at. Dresden, however, is GORGEOUS. Where the burghers of Coventry decided to rebuild completely from scratch, using a selection of MONSTROSITIES, HIDEOUS PLANNING, and CONCRETE, in Dresden they've painstakingly rebuilt the entire Old Town. It looks amazing - in all the buildings you can see which bits are from the old buildings and which bits are new (in the new rebuildings at least) just by the colour of the stones, and it makes you aware of what an incredible feat it was just to do, and also how worthwhile it was when the end result is such a beautiful city.

We left the Old Town suitably AWED and headed into the student area, via a Christmas Shop where I bought some Stollen, to get some breakfast... which by now had become Lunch. Despite protestations that Germans HONESTLY don't eat SPINACH there seemed to be an awful lot of it on my plate, I reckon they must LOVE it. I also had some Emmenthal and Gherkins, which - call me a philistine if you will - gave me a huge RUSH of taste memory. "The day the McDonalds opened in Peterborough!" my brain SANG to me!

Duly fed and watered (SHOCKINGLY neither Frankie NOR Tim chose to have a beer for lunch - we'll get drummed out of the Touring Band Union if they're not careful!) we wandered back to the car and headed homewards. The return journey was SIGNIFICANTLY less eventful than the outward journey, and we got home just in time to settle in to watch the FOOTBALL...

... which was BORING so we went to the SHOP instead. My fears that I might get home without Lebkuchen were very quickly laid to bed, and Tim and Frankie bought pretty much the entire product range of HARIBO to take home with them too. There is, i think, a SONG to be written about trips to The Holiday Supermarket, where normal shopping items are dispensed with and BEER and SWEETS take over, but this was not the time to write it for LO! We had one last appointment with ROCK!

posted 19/11/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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