Saturday, May 11, 2024

How To Spend One Day Buying Chocolate in Two Countries

It was nice to be home again, even if for just a few hours.

Greetings from sunny & warm (80 degrees!) K-Town, where a perfect Spring day saw us travel to another country for a bit, and while we didn’t find everything we were looking for, it wasn’t a total loss.

Even though it almost started that way.

When we first planned this journey it was going to be a train trip; we’d fly into Frankfurt, then take a train to Kaiserslautern and Freiburg before chugging back to Frankfurt.  However, a series of strikes hobbled Deutsche Bahn train service, so we decided to pivot and rent a car.

A week later, the strike was settled, with no thanks to us from Deutsche Bahn for apparently being the catalyst.

Having a car, while an added expense, did allow us to add a few things to our itinerary.  Since K-Town is only an hour from the French border, we could drive over there and hit up French grocery stores, thereby immediately doubling the number of countries from which we could buy chocolate.  Not only that, but right on the way to France would be Saarbrucken, whose third division soccer team knocked Bayern Munchen out of the DFB competition I was describing yesterday, thereby earning Loraine’s ever-lasting thanks.

She figured she’d show that thanks by heading to their fan shop and buying a few things.  She even emailed them, and they said they were looking forward to our visit.  So after driving around for 15 minutes and trying to find parking, we made it to the fan shop, where Loraine found jerseys for each of us, and a scarf to boot.

That’s when they broke her heart by telling her they didn’t take credit cards.

You can buy stuff on their website with plastic, but not in person at their fan shop.  Whoever answered her email didn’t say anything about that, and besides–what kind of pro sports team doesn’t take credit cards?  Wanting to save our cash for things like, you know, gas & food, Loraine put the things back and we walked out the door.

Not cool, FC Saarbrucken.  Not cool.

Where Loraine's heart was broken

So it was with a heavy heart we made our way into France; specifically, to a town close to the border called Sarreguemines.  How close, you ask?  Well, I answer, when you leave Sarreguemines’ city limits, you’re in Germany.  That’s how close it is.  It’s a cool place, sitting on the Saar River, and there are a lot of people who take advantage of that–

Like K-Town, Sarreguemines also has sandstone buildings!

But most importantly, it had the four French grocery stores we haven’t visited for seven years, and we were able to load up on chocolate we didn’t think we would get this time around.  That was a bonus, as was the fact that I could actually understand some of what people were saying (I do French, Loraine does German).  

So while the trip started off with disappointment, it ended up with chocolate.  Oh, and a nice place to have a little lunch, as well–

Actually another benefit of being in France for a few hours was the French national food, cheese.  I don’t know if you can see it in lower left of the picture, but aside from chocolate we also bought a pack of Mimolette cheese slices.  In fact, we bought almost half a pound of Mimolette cheese slices, which would cost probably $25 bucks in the US.

Here it cost 2 Euros.  Vive la France!  And after seven years apart, it was nice to be together again, even if it was just for a short while.  Besides, where else on the planet would you find a wine inspired by…

The movie “Clockwork Orange”?????--

Since I mentioned it, I suppose I should introduce you to our car, a Toyota Corolla hybrid–

It’s an interesting little car, with (sometimes) a mind of its own.  I’ve noticed it tends to pull a little to the right on occasion, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.  Then, it dawned on me.  It has a feature that pulls you back into your lane if you start to drift too much out of it.  And, apparently, if you change lanes a little too slowly, it thinks you’re just drifting, and tries to pull you back.

Oops.  After that, I changed lanes a little more quickly, and the car agreed with me just fine.  

Once back in K-Town we enjoyed the warmth and the sunshine and walked around for a bit.  I mentioned this place is kinda sorta soccer crazed, and I wasn’t kidding–

Looks like guys having fun kicking a ball around in a park, right?  Well, you may be interested to know that it’s actually insanely life-like statues of guys kicking a ball around in a park.  There’s stuff like that everywhere around here, including murals of local hero (and the guy the stadium’s named after) Fritz Walter–

With a 1FCK fan club sticker covering up his, uhm, Fritz Walters.

You know, perhaps the one thing soccer-crazed K-Town doesn’t have is a mural with a dinosaur playing soccer in it.  Wait...does it?

That, of course, is your piece of German absurdity for the day.  So until tomorrow, cheers from this place, a hotel we chose because it was close to the train station but turned out to be a great place from which to walk everywhere. Oh, and as it turns out, the B&B Hotel chain is the world's first certifiably eco-friendly hotel chain, which, if nothing else, goes along with the hybrid car we're driving and all the certifiable eco-friendly chocolate we're buying.

Yup.  We're saving the world one chocolate bar at a time.  It's how we roll



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