After our visit to the Documentation Centre, we took the tram back to the Hauptbanhoff. NosyNeighbour had to pee, and didn’t want to pay to use the Toiletten in the train station so we returned to the hotel, which is only about a 5 minute walk from the station.

After we’d freshened up, we walked back to the Altstadt in search another adapter to charge all of our electronics and to check out the market in the evening. Our search took us to a department store, where I was able to use my broken German to explain what we were looking for. It was more challenging trying to understand the woman’s German instructions. Eventually we found the electronics store, which didn’t take major credit cards. But we managed to get our adapter.

Before we began that search, I made a slight detour into a small alleyway just inside the Altstadt. It was filled with little shops and gluhwein stands. I was able to buy some handcrafted wooden tree decorations, plus another snowflake, this time a white one. We also stopped at a gluhwein booth we’d seen the day before so that we could buy the mugs that came as little boots. I was forced to order the alcohol-free version called kinderpunch, while NosyNeighbour had the regular boozy version.

Then we headed to the Barfusser brew pub for supper. It’s in a long narrow cellar. The restaurant is frequented by locals and tourists. It’s known for its beer and a few specialties, again centred around … you guessed it… pork! I decided to go for a healthier option: poached salmon. But of course it was surrounded by a little army of boiled potatoes. NosyNeighbour had pork knuckle, his goal to eat an entire pig on this holiday.

We sat beside a Russian couple, who left shortly after our beers. In their place a Ukranian couple sat down. She spoke English quite well, and he understood but did not speak much. The conversation was intriguing. She currently works for a German company in Ukraine. When she started, they told her she would have to learn German. This, she said, was proving to be challenging, but it was better than working for a Chinese company. She visits Germany frequently for business and recounted stories of always being singled out coming into Germany at Passport Control. Her experience was completely different to ours, but then again she was good looking, with long blonde hair. So maybe they were just trying to keep the conversation going or maybe they thought she was a drug mule.

I can’t remember if we ever exchanged names, but at one point in the conversation, she referred to her husband as Sergei. She looked like a Katarina to me, but who knows. Her experience with most Germans is that they are not very friendly. Maybe it’s because they’re used to sharing their tables they don’t feel like they need to talk to you.

We learned a few words in Ukranian, which of course I’ve already forgotten. And no, it wasn’t because I was drunk. Again, I sat through a night of drinking no alcohol beer. The second beer, which was made by the brewery, was a much better choice. So go for the Weizbier if you don’t want to drink. Ironically, the waiter thought it was because I was driving.

Speaking of the waiter, he was an interesting server. Sometimes he was there for you, but most times he was not. In fact our new Ukranian friends spent their first 15 minutes trying to get his attention, and it felt like an hour before we got our bills.

During our time at the brewpub, we had probably 15 Germans squeeze behind NosyNeighbour to get to the seats beside him. Not one person spoke to us. I guess the Ukranians were right! I don’t understand how locals can be so dismissive. We’re never like that back home. When we see tourists back home, we usually strike up a conversation and make sure they’re not lost. Of course, that doesn’t apply to bus tours.

After the brewpub, we walked back to the Christmas market. Our plan was to take a few photos at night and then continue up to the castle to see if it was lit. But light rain started to fall and since we’d spent more time than expected at the brewpub, we headed back to the hotel.

On our way out of the Altstadt, we stopped at a different booth for gluhwein. Another kinderpunch for me, and a Christmas gluhwein for NosyNeighbour. And we now have four little boots. Should be fun for having some Christmas cream or gluhwein at Christmas back home.

 

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