Thursday, 26 May 2011

Drinking Horseradish with God

About one hundred kilometres south of Berlin is a cute, little village called Lübbenau. It's the sort of place that old people go to on coaches for the day, walk around for ten minutes before realising that ten minutes is all they really needed, and then spend the rest of the day in the pub forgetting that there's no toilet on the coach for the two hour journey home.

Lübbenau has some peculiar obsessions. For a start it has a cucumber museum. I don't think I've ever seen a statement that has demanded the question 'Why?' as much as that one. It also has several shops claiming to sell eighteen types of mustard and ten types of horseradish. And they're not talking about Dijon or anything as mundane as that either. No, here you can buy, for reasons known only to its manufacturers, raspberry mustard. Hang on, maybe that one requires a 'Why?' even more.

Now I could have sampled some fruit-flavoured mustard for my International Eat Something Daft challenge but I'm already doing fairly well in Germany on that front. In Berlin I had Sülze, which is cubed pork snouts in a red sauce but looked like the stuff that oozes out of the stomach of a roadkill cat. Then I had sucuk, a nicely spiced Turkish sausage, which was really quite yummy. And then today I had something that I'm still unsure of until I google it later. The menu said Grützpinkel, a brand new German word to me. I was especially attracted to the final two syllables because in my childhood home, and in no other house in the world, the male member was known as a 'pinkle'. Perhaps my dad had imported the word subconsciously from a German holiday. Or perhaps he'd been a Nazi spy during the war. That's unlikely given that he wasn't born until 1939. I know they recruited 'em young but informant toddlers can't be up to much. Sorry, I'm waffling.

So I asked the waitress in German what a Grützpinkel is and, beaming slightly mentally, she replied, "It's a Grütz sausage, of course!" with a tone that implied only a knob doesn't know that and now don't you go asking me what a Grütz is, you big bell end. So I didn't. Minutes later they arrived, two great, fat, grey wangers, on a bed of spuds and sauerkraut. I tucked in. Well, I tried to tuck in. My fork bounced off the first sausage's protective sheath. When I finally penetrated its rubbery outer, the innards spilled out revealing the contents of a baby's nappy. But it tasted alright, a bit black puddingy, but gooier. I've never written the words 'puddingy' or 'gooier' before. Neither looks quite right. Anyway I quickly polished off the phalluses. The discarded, inedible sausage skins, covered as they were in brown gunk, looked dangerously like something you might find on the floor of a homosexual porn set. That's an image that might stay with you for a while. If so, I'm sorry about that. Anyway, I finished up, paid my bill and scored me a photo of God. OK, let me explain.

Cor, just look at the size of my pinkel!

The Lovely Nina's challenge for Germany involved photographing God, or at least someone who looked like Him, on account of Germany's beautifully atheistic mindset, just to prove that He might actually still be here. For ten days cycling through the country, Jehovah hadn't crossed my path but then I found Him in Lübbenau. I put the camera away satisfied with a task well done and then, in the space of a minute, saw three even better Gods just walking around the place like then owned it. Well, if one of them really was God then maybe He did. Without the camera ready for action, their presences had to go unrecorded. You'll just have to make do with the shit God I actually managed to capture. Now I look at it again I think I may have just photo'ed Captain Birdseye.

God, earlier today

After the cooked pinkles and the encounter with a pantheon of Gods I decided to go for a beer and, just as I was leaving the place and about to pay, I saw that the bar had taken their horseradish obsession off into a much more agreeable direction. They were selling small bottles of horseradish schnapps. Obviously, I bought one and, I have to say, it's freakin' magnificent. Imagine drinking a chilled shot of vodka and then being smacked in the face with a fistful of horseradish. That's what it's like. In a good way. If anyone out there is in the alcoholic beverage import-export trade, please come here and buy it up. It's got Saturday night in Macclesfield written all over it, especially the being hit in the face bit.

So, in short, Lübbenau is a bit mad. Let's hope it continues. What will I find in the next village tomorrow as I keep heading southwards through Germany? A brussel sprout activity centre, cakes shaped like vaginas, bottles of pickled onion wine? Who knows? But it sounds like my kind of town.

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