Small beer country
I asked for a “großes Bier” today and she came back with a 0.2l glass. A fucking thimble. It was gone before I even knew I drank it.
“Do you not have any bigger beers?” I asked.
“They’re the biggest we have,” she replied. “You can always order more of them.”
I guess that’s the idea. The locals like to brag about how many beers they were able to consume the night before. “Ja, Ich hatte 20 Biers letzte Nacht! Man, bin ich ein Trinkschwein!”
Twenty beers being about the equivalent of a pint.
I first discovered the small beer phenomenon when I arrived in Leverkusen. If ever there was a place where you need large beers it’s Leverkusen. Jaaaaysus, it’s shit. Beyond shit. Shit is a compliment.
I strolled its streets at night and wondered why its inhabitants were all hiding. Not a sinner to found anywhere, not a stray cat, not even a rat.
Trains don’t even stop in Leverkusen, whizzing by to leave you feeling unwanted on the platform. I swear they speed up as they approach the town. The driver probably closes his eyes and holds his breath as he zooms through.
The locals (perhaps they’re vampires, I only met them during the day) speak an incomprehensible language among themselves. They could understand me, and reply in German, but I couldn’t decipher a word they said to each other. Probably just as well.
Bochum, like Leverkusen, also had the feeling of being a giant mall. Again, the beers were tiny. An utterly uninteresting town. Even a Fernsehturm worse than Hamburg’s can’t save it.
I didn’t sample any beers, big or small, in Hannover, but still woke up with a hangover when my alarm failed to sound for an early train out of there. Even without drink, mornings are bad here. There’s a guy on a horse outside the Bahnhof and it has cute little green trams, but that’s all I can tell you about Hannover.
I ended up in Köln at 2.30am, (where I had to wait an hour for a connection back to fucking Leverkusen) and its cathedral is impressive. The centre looked nice enough through my exhaustion and until my little tour was interrupted by an over-friendly transvestite who kept following me until I decided to head back to the Bahnhof.
I’m in Düsseldorf now, where there seems a strange fascination with coloured statues in various poses on top of pillars. It also has a Fernsehturm! But it’s crap, albeit not as crap as Hamburg’s.
The old/rebuilt part of the city’s nice, crammed with bars and restaurants frequented by hen and stag nights. I guess they come here so they can brag about all the beers they drank. The beer is nice, golden coloured and brewed locally, and the locals seem to like nothing more than standing around narrow tables outside the brewpubs, sipping.
It’s certainly better than the other cities I’ve passed through to date, although it wouldn’t be hard. Düsseldorf’s bigger, there are people, and trains stop here – my main reason for making it my new World Cup base – but as mentioned before, the beers are tiny.