Road to London - Nasi Lemak, Briyani and Rendang in Germany
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
We left Munich and backtracked to Gersthofen and then on to Ulm spending some nights camping 'illegally' where and when convenient. As it had happened before, we never fail to come across generous and hospitable people along the way. Just to recall and mention a few incidents, here are some of the nice things that we will remember about Germany:
There is quite a large Turkish population here with some of them arriving in Germany after World War Two to work in various sectors to rebuild the country and some who came later to join their countrymen. Many are also second or third generation German-born of Turkish descent and as such we find many food outlets selling Doner Kebabs and other Turkish dishes. While some of these outlets are also run by 'German' operators that may not sell the 'halal' versions we always ask around for the 'halal' joints to have our Kebabs.
While these places are obviously operated by Muslims we were always comfortable eating at such places. We don't always announce what we do or from where we come but sometimes when they see us arriving with our fully loaded bicycles and when told where we are from and that we are muslims they always get very excited and would have their photographs taken with us and on more than one occasion would not charge us for the meals , and in some cases packed some other stuff for us to take along before we left.
On another occasion , while seeing us struggling up a steep hill near the village Burgas, a man stopped his car at his house nearby and then rushed up to us to offer a bottled drink taken from his car, and after hearing of our cycling adventure invited us to stop at his house for a rest and some refreshments. We spent some time there and two of his neighbours also joined in the conversations. Some gifts were also given to us before we left. We didn't mind being delayed somewhat as such incidents add a lot of meaning to our journey. When total strangers can be so warm and friendly why is it that back home there are people who do not value and appreciate our diversity.
Ulm is another town that has a special place in our hearts. Situated on the banks of the Danube the town straddles the river and known as Ulm and Neu Ulm. As the name suggests, Ulm is where the tourists flock to get the feel of the old world. Ulm boasts of many unique structures such as having the tallest church steeple in the world.
It also has a hotel that is tilted so much so that all the rooms are individually renovated with unique fittings so as to maintain the horizontal needs of its occupants. As such the beds, chairs and tables would have legs of different lengths. It is said that the owners spent an incredible amount of money to save it from collapse and maintain it in its current form. I did not venture to ask the room rates because as they always say :' if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it'.
There is also a restaurant or a Steak House in town that is unique in the sense that it is run by an Italian and it is to me a 'mini' United Nations. The John Bentton Restaurant is owned by Luciano, an Italian, who started the restaurant fifteen years ago and among his staff are a head chef from Sri Lanka, and nationalities from various countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Vietnam , Myanmar, Turkey , Slovakia, and some others. We also had free steaks at his restaurant while in Ulm.
Not to be outdone was Heinz Klemm, a true son of Ulm, who took the time to show us around Ulm and gave us a guided tour to the various spots and well known places in town including the famous Lutheran church with the tallest tower in the world and an exclusive Art Gallery. To complete our sweet memories of Ulm we spent the last night as guests of Heinz and his lovely wife Sabine at their comfortable home, on a hill six kilometers out of town.
From Ulm we continued our journey to Heidelberg where we were met by Elena, Amely and Rais Anderson. Elena and Amely are the daughters of my friend Sulaiman Aziz who is now back in PJ staying in the same neighbourhood as me. Sulaiman used to operate a Malay restaurant here but has since left Germany to try his hand at other ventures in Malaysia.
Rais is the only Malaysian student in Heidelberg and also used to work at Sulaiman's restaurant. We were again lucky that Rais was able to put us up at his place and also showed us around Heidelberg. Like all cities, towns and villages in Germany, each is proud of something special or unique that is not found elsewhere and Heidelberg can boast of the only castle ruins that was left untouched during World War Two and you have to see it to believe. It also has many other structures and features to be proud of.
While here we were also lucky to witness a grand fireworks display that took place by the river and the castle. Thousands of people including tourists enjoyed the grand display that lasted about twenty minutes. And what better way to end our stay in Heidelberg than to enjoy 'rendang daging' cooked by Rais. Rais, an accomplished cook also used to cook at the restaurant run by Sulaiman. Rais whose father is Danish studied at Sri Hartamas before moving here and having lived and travelled widely in Europe, he would find it hard to readjust to the way of life of racially divided Malaysia should he decide to return and live in Malaysia.
Our visa validity is ending very soon and unless we are able to extend it we need to rush out of Europe quickly.
With Heinz and Luciano at John Benton Restaurant
The tilted hotel in Ulm
Ahmet and daughters at his Kebab outlet
With Heinz and Sabine
At a Kebab outlet
The Church with the tallest tower in Ulm
A man's contribution to his town
With Bruce 'Luciano' Willis of Ulm
With Rais Anderson in Heidelberg
The Old 1925 Chevy
And the new Stretched Limo
The Castle in Heidelberg
The well hidden Nazi Amphitheater in Heidelberg
Heidelberg viewed from the hills
The ruins of St Michael's is about 900 years old
The Fireworks display
At the longest pedestrian walk
And don't forget to stop and smell the flowers
If you wish to get in touch with Adnan Osman (his personal blog: http://oadnanxtreme.blogspot.com/), you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can reach Adnan through his wife, Marina Wong (03-77856058 or email@example.com) or his son, Adely (firstname.lastname@example.org)