in which I stroll down memory lane with my grandfather, channel my inner Englishwoman, and eat more German food in the course of three days than I normally eat in a month.
After we got back to Bavaria, my mother and I met up with my grandfather and his wife, Marilyn, for what was an absolutely delightful time. We got in the evening of June 2, and our first order of business was promptly going out to eat at a restaurant across from the Nuremberg Burt. It was wonderful to catch up–not to mention have the opportunity to eat asparagus to my heart’s content. Delicious. The first full day was set aside for a ramble through Nuremberg, but we woke up to lots of rain, and our tour was pushed back in favour of a trip to the German National Museum, where I had, somewhat embarrassingly, never been. After a couple hours of rambling through the museum (which could easily take up a whole day (or several!)), we exhaustedly settled for lunch at a nearby restaurant (eating was a constant theme!). By the time our lunch had finished, the weather had cleared enough to take a bit of a walk through the streets of the city, where, incidentally, my grandfather had lived during an apprenticeship between 1949 and 1951.
It was lovely to hear my grandfather talk a bit about his life when he had lived there–when your grandfather lives quite far away (in this case, Puerto Rico), you don’t have many opportunities to spend quality time with him, so you learn to really appreciate the moments you get.
Anyway, we had been walking a good half-hour so clearly it was time for a change of pace–and on we were, for Kaffee und Kuchen at a nice place on the Trödelmarktinsel, in the very heart of the city. This was followed by a brief break (I needed to take care of some things at home and figure out things for my Kazakh visa), and then, oh, you guessed it, dinner. More food. We parted ways for the evening, and I drew a quick map to Alex’s apartment, where they were all invited for tea the following day.
That Friday I had my first free morning by myself, and around half past noon, I headed over to Alex’s to do our shopping and cooking for tea, our homemade clotted cream in hand. We shopped and baked, and by about half three, all was ready. The sun was shining and we sat down outside at our table with the full spread for tea to wait for my mother and grandparents.
They came a full hour later, at which point we had sort of given up and started on our most delicious afternoon tea. Complete with cucumber sandwiches, an arugula salad (or should I say rocket?), scones, jam, clotted cream, tea, and champagne. And, courtesy of Regine, absurd hats!
When the rest finally arrived, we sat for another hour and a half, just chatting and talking. It was a most pleasant afternoon indeed. Afternoon tea is something the British decidedly got right (though, I am equally amenable to Kaffee und Kuchen).
Later that evening, we briefly stopped by the Nuremberg Bierfest, which was taking place in the (water-less) castle moat, followed by yet another meal of heavy German food.
Saturday, the last day with my mother and grandparents, involved a real trip down memory lane as we took the car out to Schweinfurt, where my grandfather lived when he finished school. There, he took us by his old house, told anecdotes of his childhood, and took us through the streets of the city he called home more than 60 years ago. Perhaps neatest of all, though, was meeting up with one of his childhood friends, who came into town on a bike–80 years old and still going strong. Sadly, his wife had been in a bicycle accident the day before and was in the hospital, so we did not have the pleasure of meeting her. But it was great fun to see two 80 year old men reminisce about their long-past childhoods.
Also particularly neat: Wolfgang’s bicycle is actually from the 1920s. Which is a bit of a misnomer–the frame is original (and thus, he still has his registration from the 1940s), but all the moving parts have long since been replaced. But it’s great to see just how active this man has managed to be.
From there, our afternoon took us on a roundabout way back to Nürnberg, past a small village where my grandfather had spent a summer or two on a farm, and though a town called Ebrach, with a fantastic former monastery-turned-prison. The church, which still functions as a church, was pretty stunning, particularly considering it was quite literally in the middle of nowhere.
After seeing the church, we paused for Eiskaffees and cake at a nearby cafe. Have I mentioned that Eiskaffee is one of the best things about summer in Germany. For the record.
We returned to Nuremberg for our final dinner, where the four of us proceeded to order the same thing at a nice restaurant: soup and absolutely delicious (and enormous to our simultaneous delight and horror) trout.
It had been such a nice visit, and I was quite sorry to be parting ways with the crowd. One thing, however, that I was not sorry about, was the chance to send my huge suitcase home full (thanks, Mom!), making things considerably easier in two weeks when I pack up my life yet again.