Frankfurt and Koenigstein Saturday July 4th 2009

We never did work out what the Women Style was!

Saturday morning woke up having left the curtain open all night, still very hot even though we also left the air con on all night.

Went for sumptuous breakfast, had everything nearly. Muesli, yoghurt, fresh fruit, dried fruit, croissants, bread (bit dry), hams, salamis, cheeses, jams, horseradish (yes), eggs, fried stuff….cakes (resisted).
Took some processed packed things for later hunger attacks. Oh and 2 hot, hot, hot boiled eggs.
Checked out and rode the rails again into Frankfurt. The train made us get off at the airport and whilst we were waiting for the next one, C raced off to get a “bottle of pop”. Expecting her to return with cola etc., she totally surprised me with a bottle of Pikkolo fizzy wine. And very nice it was too. After buggering about at the main station for a little while, decided to go straight to Koenigstein and get into the country air. I think it was this time we stopped for a little coffee and a almond croissant (me) choc (C).
Took the train to Koenigstein, lovely air conned train at last, out into the country. Passed lots of allotment looking gardens. Mostly very flat around the city with various factories including Coca Cola, then more agriculture. Started to rise a bit, went through nice looking well off suburbs and after 40 mins arrived in Koenigstein.
We knew that the Cafe was only 50 metres from the station but we took a slightly longer route to get to it, however avoiding the steps.
Got to the Cafe Haerdtlein, at first the woman didn’t seem to have us down but then she found us. All the bookings I had done were in Chris’ name as she comes first in the alphabet, slightly disconcerting when the ID is the credit card!!
The Cafe H is an eclectic mix of styles, some hideous and some frankly disturbing but quite cheery. Nothing has ever been thrown away.
The room was fine and comfortable although it didn’t ever really get cool.
Chris went off to the supermarket to get some supplies as it shut on Sundays. Stocked up on water.
We were going to try and get some tourist info e.g. a town map but upon asking in the kiosk across the road, a rather nice young man (mine, I think) told us the Tourist Info would be shut and he gave us directions on how to get to the open air pool.
So off we went through the houses and then out onto a country lane, past fields of wheat. Through some trees and there we were. Only E3 to get in, the pool was quite busy as it was a hot Saturday afternoon, lots of families with well behaved children. Worked out all the lockers and systems. Straight in and it was VERY cold water on our HOT bodies. Had lovely swim and dried in the sun. C did some long lengths, the pool seemed immensely long and wide to me. C had a tuna sandwich that looked a bit odd.
After a bit we wended our way along the railway track (single track through the trees) then via the town to the hotel. Stopped at the supermarket to get lunch for next day, ham and cheese.
Another change of clothing and another underwear washing spree and off to get some food, I was kill hungry by this point as had not been fed properly since breakfast, having turned down the weird looking food at the pool.
We saw some nice but rather expensive restaurants along the way, including a dear little Italian one with trees all round it.
Then we found a nice one with green seats and sat outside. C had pasta with salmon and I had mixed roast veg and cous cous which was totally totally delicious. There was also a cocktail (C) and a glass of local cider, very nice.
Then back to sleep, sleep, sleep some more.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Bruce in Frankfurt Friday July 3rd 2009

Chris Dancing in the Not Quite Dark Yet
Second position further back but more comfortable
First spot, nearer but hard to see
In the pub before the gig
In the departure lounge
Spooky, another Bruce fan behind me

I’ve already written this right up to Friday afternoon and then it all disappeared but hey at least some of my words of wit will return with luck.

After only 4 hours sleep we had our 1st breakfast of muesli and left nice and early at 6.30 to miss the Manchester rush hour.
Arrived at airport and parked in short stay park next to terminal 1, nice and easy. We both bought CK Summer and a few other bits, no pack a mac for Chris though. Having done the boarding pass thing online, just had time for a 2nd breakfast (bacon sarnie for C, almond pastry for me) and more coffee.
Onto the plane and settled in for 3rd breakfast of cheese sandwich, very nice and a mini Mars bar plus coffee.
Arrived in Frankfurt at 12.10, the luggage arrived just as we did at the terminal, perhaps the long bus ride around the vast number of planes was so that baggage control looked really efficient.
After I’d got on the wrong bus we took the correct shuttle to the NH Hotel in Raunheim. Nice hotel in commercial and residential area. We checked in and went straight for a swim to cool off a bit.
We unpacked a bit, Chris rang Steven Jump about getting into the pit but it meant getting to the stadium at 5.00 so we changed and took what we needed for the evening.
Walked to Raunheim train station where a nice lady sold us her day ticket for half price so we only had to buy one, would have been even nicer if she had given it to us.
Took the fast train to Frankfurt and this would have been nice if it was too. Instead it took twice as long because of track repairs.
Wandered off in direction of the old town passing through the rough town. Chris took a fancy to some dodgy toiletries in a Superdrug type shop. Got more water.
Found the old town which was hosting Iron Man contest, this is swimming and biking. Then so hungry despite the multiple breakfasts stopped at pub and had sausage selection (Chris) and beef and potato dumplings (Jak) plus beer. Terrible smell of drains in this area unfortunately.
No time to go back to the hotel so went straight to the stadium on the train. Already quite good at the trains. Blew up inflatable instruments which caused much comment and amusement for rest of evening. Met the first of Chris’ boyfriends on the train admiring of her horn!. Path from station tree lined which was handy for C’s needs.
Once in, took a while to figure out how to get into the standing area. Got a spot which was quite close, well near the mixing desk but the sound was a bit rubbish and it was hard to see over very tall people. Bruce was very naughty and over 45 minutes late so more beer consumed. J left for a loo break during Outlaw Pete and realised both sound and vision (on screens) much better further back so we moved back and were more comfortable and not so squashed either.
Amazing 28 song set, played some stunners – Something in the Night, Trapped, Point Blank. We waved the guitar and sax and the Frankie sign but he would have struggled to see it without his binos.

1. Badlands
2. Adam Raised A Cain
3. The Ties The Bind
4. My Lucky Day
5. Outlaw Pete
6. Hungry Heart
7. Working On A Dream
8. Seeds
9. Johnny 99
11. Something In The Night
collecting signs
12. I’m Goin’ Down (request)
13. Ramrod (request)
14. Trapped (request)
15. Because The Night
16. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
17. The Promised Land
19. Kingdom of Days
20. Lonesome Day
21. The Rising
22. Born To Run

23. Hard Times
24. Jungleland
25. American Land
26. Bobby Jean
27. Dancin’ In The Dark
28. Twist & Shout

On the way out, everyone did the Badlands refrain in the tunnel and beyond. Back to station buying more water and beer on the way, plus a melted cheese bread thing.
But at the station the renowned punctuality suddenly went badly wrong and hundreds of people had to wait forever for the trains to come. Most annoying as just tired, took nearly 2 hours to get back to hotel after gig finished.
Finally got back, showered and slept like logs, so tired forgot to pull the curtain.
One of the best gigs ever.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Antwerp 11-13 December 2007

Antwerp journal
Tuesday, 11 December,2007
Woke very early at 04.20 and whizzed off in the dark to Walsden to pick up Chris at about 05.45. Drove to Manchester, neatly forgetting to get onto the M60 but managed to rectify without too much hassle. Got to APH who swiftly dumped us at Terminal 3. Went straight to departure lounge, got coffee and went shopping, limited choice but got perfume. Off to the gate and nice easy flight only a bit late. Given sandwich and fruit and coffee.
Arrived Antwerp airport, VERY quiet, almost unattended. After we had used loo with revolving seat to allow for spray and wipe gadget, went out to find we were in middle of residential area, but no taxis, no tram so waited for bus. Bus took us down some narrow side streets, including one where we had to wait at least 20 minutes while someone got loaded onto a stretcher next to a building site. Arrived at FD Roosevelt Plaat, given wrong directions by dodgy girl and set off on foot to Hotel Prinse which was about 7 minutes away. Hotel was lovely and just as described. Huge room with nice furniture and big wardrobes with big full length mirrors. Fab. Have not packed the little lead that connects the PDA to the speakers so after all the effort of getting the entire Bruce collection onto the PDA we can’t have the music, very foolish.
Straight off exploring and lunch. Market was fairly near. Found café and sat outside but food took a long time to come so went in to warm up. C had mussels in great quantity and I had witloof which was endive baked in oven with cheese and some mashed potato. Both very good. Plus some De Koninck beer.
Wandered round market, very disappointing, just a load of old tat, Manchester market far superior. Wandered more round the regular shops for rest of afternoon, including KBC building which is excellent 30s tower now owned by a bank.
Went in shopping centre and various other emporia. Then a bit tired so back to hotel for little nap and freshen up before hitting the town!
Decided to sample interesting looking bar on corner with books and games. Hildegard chain smoker and chatty told us that our choice of restaurant – Horta café, was not much good and we would be better off staying local and going to a restaurant down the street so we did.
The restaurant turned out to be run by 2 women, Myriam and Manu, who told us that Hildegard and the woman who runs the hotel are all on the same team. We had hit upon an enclave of women who do! Both had boeuf carbonnade, cooked in beer. Upon asking for directions to the gay street, I was dragged into the kitchen and given various places to try. We opted for the nearest gay bar as apparently the gay street was now somewhere else and it was dangerous around the central station area. So we went off to Hessen Huis which was typical loud, smoky gay bar, nearly all men but fine for half an hour. Back to hotel to sleep.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Breakfast of muesli, yoghurt, bread, croissant, ham and cheese. Also wrapped slices of honey bread. Coffee not very good so first mission to find a decent strong cup. Went to Tourist info and allowed young man to practise his English on us. Boat trips don’t run in the winter. Got bike info too but discarded as weather a bit gloomy and cold for biking. On the way to the coffee found the Grote Markt which had more Christmas market stalls but all food and drink, we had been in the wrong market the day before, also ice rink with lots of children, managed not to go ice skating! Found nice bar with lots of wood and erotic pictures of people with disabilities. Had coffee and chocolate and wrote postcards. More wandering, located Popi Café, also gay but shut. Then found quilting shop and exhibition so went round that, some lovely things to look at plus old ladies actually quilting. Then lunch in the Victor Horta café which was in posh bit of town, town is all very compact and easy to get around. Distinct areas, very noticeable Jewish area with orthodox Jews. Horta café gave us champagne and Chris had big fish dish and I had small red deer dish with salsify. Two new vegetables for me! Went into Godiva shop and had lovely time including tasting. Found other chocolate shop later on. On way back to hotel went into Tierra Madre = Mother Earth café and had fantastic coffee and Chris had big cube of chocolate on stick which you melt into the hot milk. Nice woman working in there! Chris would have liked the plain chocolate with the hot milk better. I was being a bit bouncy with enthusiasm and getting excited before Bruce.
Freshened up for Bruce. Off to tram stop, tram whizzed past us saying “Sport Paleis” so got on it but very crowded so not possible to pay, oh dear. Took us to the arena about 15 minutes away. Everybody speaks impeccable English and people were very friendly and welcoming. Got out and went to roadside wagon for chips and mayo (C) and hot dog (me). Then to very smoky bar for beer. Then across road to arena. Things are definitely not as lit up as here. Streets are darker, the arena was darker. After negotiating the crowd, got up to our seats at the top, again very dark up here. Bruce after all this time not punctual, very naughty, smack him. Came on about 9.00 and played till nearly 11.30. Excellent gig, highlights for me – Santa Claus is coming to Town, 10th Avenue Freeze Out, Working on the Highway. Very enthusiastic crowd, apart from the 2 next to me. Patti at home sorting out the children, Danny poorly and being filled in by keyboard man from Seeger Sessions Band. Bruce did duet with Soozie Tyrell on…. Reason to Believe similar to Drivel and Dust tour version. Chris liked best Reason to Believe, She’s the One, Because the Night, Born to Run and Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, and Santa Claus. Also the John Lee Hooker style start to Reason to Believe.
Very hot and clapped till hands hurt. Bruce talked in Dutch and French in that order, got booed when spoke in French. Antwerp very much anti French. After gig got the tram which was free if you had been to the Sport Paleis, so that’s what it said in my Dutch email from the ticket agents!
C quite keen to see Hildegard again but she was shut so went to another little bar with some old geezers in it for a couple of beers, then when he shut up went to another little bar with some young geezers for a couple of drinks. I had a whisky which was very generous in measure. Then time for bed.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Managed to get up early, saw Bruce doing interview on the telly. Packed up and left bags with hotel reception. Went to the café on the corner with the good coffee and had some. Nice girl showed us newspaper with Bruce reports.
Went to Rockox Huis to see exhibition. They are showing Rubens’ Samson and Delilah which shows Samson looking shagged out but very good detail! It’s been lent by the National Gallery over here. There was also a painting done in the 1600s on show depicting the Samson and Delilah painting in the room in which it is now on show. Fab! The room looked almost the same as now. Watched a film about the history of Antwerp which was useful for understanding how bad the Spanish were to the Antwerpians and trying to push Catholicism on the prots. Guess this also has a bearing on today’s antipathy towards the largely Catholic French speakers.
More wanders round shop areas. Lunch in Spanish café, C had chilli con carne and I had big salad, and beer of course.
Back to hotel to collect bags, taxi to take us to airport. Airport slightly busy with at least 20 people in it. Christmas tree finally up. Easy flight back, cheese sandwich and coffee. Long wait for APH to pick us up and very cold waiting for them. Told them off. Back to Walsden and back to Krumlin after excellent break.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.