The BAD little town that’s so good (1)

With Easter weekend on the horizon, I decided it was time to get away for a couple of days’ rest and relaxation. After a little deliberation, I chose the town of BAD Saarow, partly because it looked pretty and wasn’t that far away, and partly because it sounded like a misbehaving small bird, which is what I am most of the time.

Deutsche Bahn, in their infinite wisdom, had chosen this weekend to do work on several regional train lines so, with a small house on my back, I set off to get the first train that would take me to the second train that would take me to the first replacement bus that would take me to the second replacement bus…

Finally, at around 1.15, we pulled up outside BAD Saarow train station.

Blink.
Blink.

After a quick glance around to make sure everyone hadn’t turned into fairy tale characters, I got off the bus. I took a couple of photos of the train station – mainly to prove that it actually exists in real life. My hunger and need to pee brought me back down to earth and I wandered across the road to a café, looking over my shoulder every now and then to make sure the station was still there.

I sat at an outside table and a waitress promptly brought over the menu. Fancying something a bit hearty after my extensive travels, I ordered the Wurstgulasch mit Nudeln. The fact that they didn’t have wine should have been a warning sign, but I was still in a bit of a daze so I just ordered a cup of tea instead. My “Gulasch” arrived…

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If you’re thinking, “My, it looks just like chunks of sausage in an abundance of tomato ketchup thrown on top of some pasta”, I can assure you, that’s exactly what it was. Still, it was edible so I ate enough so as not to alarm the waitress, paid and trundled off.

I was actually staying at a guest house in an even smaller town, called Neu Golm (I know, right?), which was around 3kms from the centre of BAD Saarow;  I just had no idea in which direction. Seeing no taxis outside the train station, I headed for the harbour, thinking they might be hiding out there.

Spring! Finally!
Spring! Finally!

I had seen pictures of Scharmützelsee (Lake) and, well, this is Germany, so I was expecting it to be “pretty”, but my expectations weren’t even close to the reality.

As the sun danced on the calm water, I danced around merry Germans, mentally congratulating myself on having chosen this place on this fabulous weekend. Soon, however, the weight of my backpack overrode my smug delight and it was back to the train station which also houses the information office. I asked the lady about buses and it turned out the next one was in around three hours. So, I asked her about taxis. She called one and the driver said he would be there in 15 minutes. I said I’d wait outside.

Who wouldn't?
Who wouldn’t?

Five minutes later, she came out in a panic to say that there’d been an accident on the Autobahn and the driver would be delayed indefinitely. I followed her back inside and watched as she frantically dialled other taxi companies, took money for souvenirs and fended off requests for bicycle rentals and boat tours. I resisted the urge to whisper, “Relax, this is all just a dream. None of this is actually happening…”

In the end, she decided to call the owner of the hotel to come and pick me up.

Herr Scherr to the rescue
Herr Scherr to the rescue

15 minutes later, I was standing outside Landhaus Neu Golm.

Is this the real life...?
Is this the real life…?

Herr Scherr handed me a key with a key ring that was almost as heavy as my backpack, explained the dinner/breakfast times, and we were done. My room was on the ground floor, spotless and airy, with the comfiest bed I’d ever set my tired arse on. But, this was no time to get lazy. It was Easter Saturday, i.e. the last day you could buy a bottle of wine until Tuesday.

I set off for a little stroll around Neu Golm – which took around three minutes. Neu Golm, I established, consists of some houses, a picturesque church, and a “yoof” centre that didn’t look like it was going to cause me any sleepless nights.

It seemed like the only activity in the area that day was a potato sale. It was almost like someone knew the Irish were coming…

Spuds! Woop!
Spuds! Woop!

I walked back in the direction of BAD Saarow – a pretty, peaceful walk which consisted of trees and fields, more trees and fields, and some more trees and fields.

Have some trees...
Have some trees…

After surviving the armageddon-style scrum that you find in supermarkets the day before a public holiday, I meandered back to the lake and eventually to the terrace of a restaurant I’d had my eye on earlier.

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Oddly, they were closing up the outside section.

Me: Can I sit outside?

Waiter: Sure! 

Job done.

I settled in with a glass of white wine, on a cushion that they brought out specially, and enjoyed all the light I could see while reading “All The Light We Cannot See”. Spooky, eh?

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Having taken another billion photos, it was back to the hotel for dinner. With the menu rather heavily geared in the pork direction, I opted for the Schnitzel with onions, garlic and fried potatoes. It’s safe to say German portions will be the death of me.

It was bigger than my torso.
It was bigger than my torso.

From my vantage point at the window, I noticed that something was happening at the Youth Centre.

Me: What’s going on over there? 

Waitress: Oh, Easter Fire. 

Me: Huh. Can anyone go or is it invite-only?

Waitress: Anyone can go! No problem! 

So I stumbled across the road with my Schnitzel-baby in tow. About thirty people were standing around a massive bonfire, talking, drinking and warming themselves. I bought a dodgy-looking shot from the lady working the “booze window” and made my way over. Naturally, in a village with a population of around fifty people, I stood out.

Bonfires and dodgy drinks - the backbone of any German celebration
Bonfires and dodgy drinks – the backbone of any German celebration

It seemed that the entire fire department was there and, sure enough, one of them came over to test the level of “stranger danger”.

Fireman Sam: You’re not from around here…

Me: No. I’m from Ireland. 

And that was that. Instant “in”. Soon my new buddy and I were surrounded by curious Neu Golmers, wondering how an Irish girl had wandered into their midst on Easter Saturday. Shots were downed, Glühwein flowed, many a funny conversation was had, and I soon felt like an honorary Neu Golmer.

Before midnight, I was invited along to a well where it seemed the Germans were going to dip their heads in freezing water, or something. With my bed within crawling distance, I declined. Maybe next year…

(To be continued…)

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112 thoughts on “The BAD little town that’s so good (1)”

  1. Hilarious as usual Linda. I can’t imagine having to say that I live in Neu Golmer. All the time lol!

    ‘Hope you had a fine time at the Osterfeuer or Easter Fire? I’ve been to one in Northern Germany and I found out all about it purely by accident as I was visiting my German parent-in-laws. I remember that it was freezing and there was a tent filled with glühwein for 50 cents a cup and another further away fille with spirits which was also 50 cents. Per shot…! Teenagers on the day. Like 6! I don’t know how they cope lol!

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  2. Oooh, this looks so pretty!!
    Fireman Sam. Hahaha!

    You sooooo need to go to Baden-Baden! You would barely be able to walk down the street for pointing out all the BAD cars! (Also, it’s just under an hour and half away from me so I could come and meet you in real life!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! I’d drive you mad shouting BAD! all the time! But that does sounds like a great idea! I’m hoping to do a bit of travelling over the summer so will let you know! Hoping to also meet Simone 🙂

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      1. lol, I definitely point out ALL the “BAD” cars on the Autobahn – there were a lot when we lived in Kalrsruhe.

        Baden-Baden is really pretty, but not that exciting. It’s where all the old people retire to because the air is supposed to be so good – a bit like the Bournemouth of Germany, but with spas instead of the sea.

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  3. I have never met anyone (and yes, I realise I haven’t met you either!) who can get in with a new group as quickly as you can! Forget the English lessons, you could run courses on assimilation…possibly involving lots of alcohol 😉

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    1. Ha, I didn’t join – very unlike me, I know! But I wanted to be productive the next day and they didn’t finish up until 4.30 in the end! That tradition is only a Brandenburg thing I found out later – my students looked at me like I was mad when I asked them about it haha!

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  4. Oooooohhhh! BerLinda. I’ve missed your posts. My own fault; I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a while. Catchup time! And that schnitzel dish was just the motivation I needed to keep on reading! Throw in a picture of some gluwein and I might just be here all night 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe I’ll run for American president?
      I think an Italian would die if you plonked that dish down in front of them 😉 And thank you! New camera = better photos 🙂

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  5. That is so much fun Linda! Love the way the inn owner came to pick you up – classy. And the Irish invade Germany – Bwahaha! Waiting eagerly for part 2.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I’m really enjoying it! I actually like the short chapters. Very easy to pick up and put down, especially when travelling or moving around a bit. I’m very bad for doing ‘I’ll just finish this chapter and then I’ll go to bed…’ but with this book, that’s no problem! I’m around 3/4 of the way through now. Will keep you posted!

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  6. Picturesque! Stumbling into a pagan ritual in a small remote town could have had a rather more sinister outcome, but you escaped unscathed (discounting the heartbreak of bad goulasch). So, why is BAD capitalized? Are there lots of other BAD towns in Germany?

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        1. I would LOVE to do a tour of BADtowns! The thought had actually crossed my mind! Would need to see how easy they all are to get to though – it could be a lifelong project! I think some of them produce spring water but I guess mostly for bathing… This place had the most amazing looking spa – but (shock horror) you needed a bathing suit and I hadn’t thought to pack one!

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                1. Yep, each one has its own rules! You probably had to be naked for the sauna part but the pools are visible from a public walkway so it wouldn’t really be fair to make people be in the nip there! 😉

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. I was sorely tempted but only for the blog’s sake – it was so lovely and warm by the fire and my bed was so close! The thought of being wet and cold and shivery… brrr. Found out the next day they didn’t quit until around 4.30am so I was glad I didn’t go in the end – I would have slept through most of the following day!

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  7. I this a natural gift or is tedious apprenticeship necessary to find places like this in the middle of nowhere? 😯
    Unlike other big German cities, Berlin has no greater suburbs (except Potsdam). 75km outside of the city centre is provincial backwater. You never will find a decorous German gentleman in dullsville like Neu Golm. 😉 But maybe they need an Irish pub in Bad Saarow?
    P.S.: This Wurstgulsch is really disgraceful. As you can notice, the north- German cuisine is nearer to England… 😎

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    1. I was certainly something different, that’s for sure! I guess no other hotel guests had ever crashed the party despite the hotel being there for 24 years 😉 And no, lovely for a few days, but living there? I’d go mad! Seems to be a nice little community, I just don’t know what they DO 🙂

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    1. Works every time, haha! Germans love Ireland for some reason. Even if they’ve never been there. One man was telling me how great it is when Ireland plays here cos the fans are so much fun ‘unlike the English who drink, fight and vomit everywhere’ 😉 I didn’t disagree haha!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. And they say American portions are large. (They are. Oh God, they are so large.) That looks like it could feed two people at least. Also, I’m convinced that Deutsche Bahn enjoys inconveniencing its patrons as often as possible. They have to get a sick joy out of it. The track repairs are just a ruse for their true desire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, I think you might be right! They’re now doing work on the Ring Bahn line in Berlin. Sigh 😉
      When that meal arrived, I looked at the menu again to make sure that it wasn’t meant for two people. It could have fed me for the whole weekend 😉 Step up from the goulash though!

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  9. I love the way you go off the beaten track, find these small places, that on the surfice doesn’t seem to offer anything but beauty but once you dig deeper there is always a proper adventure and taste of real life involved! Also, looks like the spring is there, lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was at the weekend, now it’s gone again! But I’m home so it doesn’t really matter – I got the good weather for the weekend (and the photos!). I love these little places – there’s always more than meets the eye! 🙂

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  10. I really admire your unrelenting positivity in the face of Wurstgulasch, autobahn pile-ups and Landhotels that turn out to be rather less picturesque than advertised. I really suspect it takes an Irishwoman to gate-crash the local Osterfeuer. You must have been the most exciting thing to happen in Neu-Golm since the fall of the wall! (Oh, and I am slightly chuffed, btw, that my fellow Germans seem to be quite welcoming and social when an outsider needs entertainment. Although at least half of the credit is due to you – I doubt I would’ve had the courage to attend a village event on my own…)
    Looking forward to part 2 now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha ha! Well, I figured the worst that could happen is I’d either be stared at until I left or be told to leave. And I have a very thick skin so I’d have weathered approach number one for a while 😉 They did the ‘typical’ German thing of being really friendly and then being surprised when I told them I thought Germans were friendly… 🙂 And you don’t think the Landhaus looks picturesque!?

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      1. Are Germans really friendly? Maybe they are to Non-Germans? I should try that approach next time I am home, lay on a thick accent and claim I am an outsider.
        I particularly like the decor of the Landhaus with those carefully placed, picturesque agricultural machines – spring is in the air. Must have been the decorating touch of the lady of the house?

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        1. I’ve always found them friendly and helpful – in any place I’ve visited! Guess it could be because I’m foreign but I’d be interested to hear the results of your experiment! 🙂
          I think the lady of the house is Russian so could be 😉 I didn’t see much of her – Herr Scherr was very much the host with the most!

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  11. Ah, you’ve stumbled upon an old Saxon tradition to drive out the spirit of winter. Where I live it’s called a Boake, and every year the different villages compete for the biggest one. This years winner: 7 meters and still smoldering this afternoon even though it was raining. Nothing BAD about Saarow, looks great. Greetings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting – to say the least 😉 The sign said there was a Master Baker working there but clearly she knows shit about goulash 😉

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