Germany never ceases to surprise me though. So I pull in on the motorway and visit the bathroom. Being Irish, I was on the lookout for a dirty toilet behind the petrol station with the smell of hangover vomit and wet toilet paper strewn on the floor, one that you need a massive key to get into, but one that also has had the door kicked in a few times because patrons have not returned that giant key.
|The travel vagina - no traveller should be without one|
All the same, vending machines are a good way of avoiding German customer service. I was up early Saturday to buy that bike. I'd spotted one on offer in the bike shops sale brochure and knew exactly what I wanted. The guy in the shop seemed a tad perturbed that a customer had disturbed him, and told me that sorry, they were out of that one and to try one of their other branches. 'OK, so' I replied 'but where is the other shop, and could you give them a buzz to make sure they have it in stock?' Poor bike shop salesman was over challenged. No, he couldn't phone them, they should just have some, and how the hell was he to direct someone to the other shop? There was a lot of eye rolling and grunting. I picked out a different bike that cost 200 euro more than the original one. 'How about this one?' He didn't care, he just told me to take it down the road for a test run. 'What? Do you not know I'm Irish?' However, I returned just to annoy him and bought the bike, but not only did I spend 700 quid just like that, I spent another 100 quid on a fancy German Fraulein looking basket that you can clip on and off and skip around the supermarket with.
He gets all my stuff together and I mention that he just needs to affix the clip thingy for the basket, but he throws a minor wobbler and says ' I can't do things like that on a Saturday, I need to be here for my customers!' 'But, em,' I ever so politely argued, 'I am a customer, and the shop is empty.' Half an hour later I apologised my way out of the shop, but at least I had the bike.
Ah well, at least the shops open on Saturdays. German shops all close on Sundays. I can only guess that the reason is because Sunday is the best day for people to catch up on shopping, so they close just to annoy everyone. It also meant that I had to go out on the bike on Sunday, when I could have had an excuse not to if Ikea and the Garden Centre had been open.
|An open shop on a Sunday. YaY!|
Further on, I either saw a fata morgana ( I was a bit dehydrated) in the form of a brass band playing tunes in a field, or possibly I really did see that, but by this stage life was just too bizarre to explore further. I got back to Karlsruhe and sat in a nice respectable bar where all the cool people go.
|I swear I paid for the flower|