steepholm (steepholm) wrote,
steepholm
steepholm

Très Bonn

I'm now on the next leg of my European tour, and am comfortably ensconced in my friend Linda's house (along with her husband, grandson and dog). I've had a slight travel jinx hanging over this trip - beginning when Heathrow security confiscated a jar of Marmite I was bringing as a gift, identifying it as a potential bomb threat. This threatened to be compounded today with various transport problems, most notably a rail strike in Germany. It turned out, however, that the three trains I needed in order to thread my way from Luxembourg to Bonn via Trier and Koblenz were pretty much the only ones running in the country, and so I made it safely and even on time. (Even when on strike the German rail system is remarkably efficient.)

I didn't pack my camera for reasons of space, or I would be plying you at this point with pictures of the Mosel valley, down which I travelled to get here and which was looking mighty picturesque. The vineyards, castles and so on, no doubt beautiful at any time, were much enhanced on this occasion by a variable mist, sometimes thickening in watery billows over the river, sometimes draped as goose-down across the bare vines midway up the slopes, sometimes a mere streak of frosted light on the hilltops, with sunbeams levering themselves under the clouds like a screwdriver easing open a tin of Dulux.

Last night we went to a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant in Luxembourg, which was really wonderful in food terms (if heavy on garlic), but my attempts to try out the odd Japanese phrase fell on very stony ground. In England, my occasional "arigatou"s and "oishii desu ne!"s have always been at least tolerated, sometimes welcomed, but here the staff continued to answer in implacable French, no matter what I said - until in the end I began to feel like a dog attempting to walk on its hind legs, and subsided into a surly "merci beaucoup".
Tags: language, real life
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