Senk ju vor träwelling wis Deutsche Bahn

Two small anecdotes from our recent trip to Berlin:

It may have come to your attention that parts of Germany have been hit by floods a few weeks ago. As a result, even the Deutsche Bahn – the German railway company – has to take a couple of detours. Entirely not their fault, but still they feel like they have to apologize to their customers. Maybe because they’re so used to apologizing by now. So they decided to give them free sweets.

While we were enjoying a beer in the dining car, a Deutsche Bahn employee handed me a small bag of (cow’s) milk chocolate. I returned it to him, adding politely: “Excuse me, please keep it. We’re vegan and we don’t eat this.”

And I kid you not: the entire restaurant fell silent and everyone was like:

Of course, everyone had heard of the existence of vegans. But now here they were, two (!) of them, right before their eyes, having a beer, just like normal people would. They kept staring and staring. And I couldn’t help staring back, amazed at the kind of reaction you can still get out of people when you come out as vegan. It took minutes before the conversations went back to normal …

On our way back from Berlin – again enjoying a beer in the restaurant – I happened to sit right next to the exit where they had put up a table with a bucket full of free gummy bears.

bucket of gummy bears

A little boy passed by and asked if he could have some. I said: “Yes, they’re free. Take as many as you like …” and so he did, happily continuing on his way through the train.

When the boy was out of earshot I added quietly: “… and enjoy your ground up animal bones.”

The man at the table next to us, who had overheard this, burst into laughter and said: “Thanks, you made my day! That’s so funny! I will laugh all day!”

I replied: “Well, it’s true. Gelatine. Ground up animal bones and sugar.”

The man looked at me and said quietly: “Yes … I know …”

Half an hour or so later the man left the restaurant. On his way out he reached for a bag of gummy bears, then hesitated – and left without taking one.

I’m wondering if he’s still laughing …

My Little Balcony Garden

plenty of pots with different herbs arranged on a table

Winter is finally over and the planting season begins!

I love herbs, so I’ve always been using my little balcony to grow thyme, basil, oregano and all the other kitchen herbs. This year, I’m adding a few lesser known herbs like lungwort, bitterkress, and sweet cicely to see what I can do with them.

I never had much luck with herbs from the supermarket. Those are obviously grown to look pretty for only a few days, so that people will buy them and quickly use them up. They’re not designed to survive the outdoors. So I’m usually buying my plants from market gardens or from specialized online shops.

For the new herbs I tried Kräuterei for the first time. Their shop sucks, but it’s really worth the pain. All their plants are organic and as you can see they’re strong little fellows who will lead a long and happy life on my balcony. :-)

Do you want fries with that?

One thing you learn early on in your vegan career is to always carry backup food when you’re going somewhere, because you can never be sure to find something to eat out there. In my case that’s a usually a small bag of almonds and an apple.

This rule applies especially when you’re at small metal festivals in Germany. Most of the time all they have are hot dogs or some other kind of sausages.

So, I was extremely surprised to find simple fries at the Shout it Out Loud Festival in Duisburg last Saturday. They went much better with the beer than almonds and apples. 😀

Fries with ketchup

Much could be written about the festival, but this is not a music blog. I wasn’t really excited about most of the bands that night, but when H.E.A.T. hit the stage with their opener “Breaking the Silence” I finally entered party mode! They were my secret headliners and made the Quireboys and Tesla look like old men to me. – Oh, wait!  😉

See for yourself: