Thursday, 21 March 2013

What really matters......

Crossing the Rhine from France was fun - huge dam works going on.   Actually the whole of this part of Germany has huge works going on - everywhere - motorways, engineering, quarries - masses of investment in new infrastructure.  What it is to have such resources! Germany is RICH!

The Germans love their trees, too. Driving across the land I had the impression that all the trees are basically regarded as holy. Even when they have to enlarge a cut through a forest to make a bigger motorway, the landscaping is done with fantastic care, and new tree-planting goes on as part of the scheme. We have seen marvellous stands of beautiful and unusual varieties of trees - birches, beeches, all sorts. 

Lunch was hard to find - but eventually we got into the Grunen Baum or some such name, a smokey cafe in a little town near Karlsbad. There was a market going on and the place was packed. Sadly, flamme kuche was not on till the evening so I had a spicy goulash, and Andrew had a truly magnificent salad with eggs and salmon. 

We are in a real budget hotel but it's got everything we need including a sunny landscape outside and free wifi - things are coming on - though I must say, it's weird having the internet - as if we weren't really away at all.   (I will have to enquire about a hairdryer though).  We'll go into town shortly to find some entertainment and dinner. 

Another impression is that - in France in particular - the old ways are really dying out. No longer can you find traditional restaurants or even les Routiers places along the roads. Instead, the MacDonalds and Burger Kings have set up at all the new malls, and the family-run restos cannot compete.  After all, there's not much profit in a 12€ menu.  So we have seen dozens of the old places shut up, wherever we went.  It's a calamity because that was where you could find local and regional dishes, kindly cooked, taken seriously and normally, at a reasonable price.  That meant growers were also employed, and all kinds of suppliers. Now it will either vanish away or go so up-market that only globe-trotting millionaires will be able to afford to eat like that. 

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