I spent the first part of my birthday this year in Heidleberg, Germany, which was already more than I could have asked for on my birthday. However, my German hosts had more plans for me (and our group).
We ended up going to a restaurant and bar that was owned/frequented by friends of our hosts. I can’t remember the exact name of it (it was about a 15 minute drive from our hotel) but it translated into something like “The Bear Cave.” It was very traditional looking from the outside and in most of the restaurant, but one room was decorated to look like an actual bear cave-complete with bears! We had some fun posing with the wildlife as you can see.
When we got to the table, there was a large bouquet of flowers waiting for me. I was deemed “Princess Kate” for the evening and was treated like royalty. All I had to do was mention something and it was there for me…
…like this giant potato pancake with spinach and feta. And when I say giant, I mean this thing was like 20 inches in diameter! See, it doesn’t even fit on the table! Apparently these huge but thin pancakes are the specialty of the restaurant, and let me tell you, this was one good pancake. Sadly, I could only eat about 1/3 of it before I was stuffed.
Long after everyone else had also given up trying to finish their pancakes, one of my coworkers was still trying to finish his…
He had about this much left and decided he was done. That’s when princess Kate made her first decree of the evening, “thou shall finish thine entire pancake!” Much to my amazement, he did!
While the pancakes were digesting, my hosts found a street vendor with roses. They had him come into the restaurant, wish me happy birthday and give me (and the other girls) roses. Awww…
And then something else happened:
The lights went out and I heard birthday music, singing and clapping….and it started to smell like the 4th of July…
Yep, this time it is an apple cake! And sparklers!
At this point I am clearly overwhelmed by the kindness of my hosts (and with the amount of delicious food I have been served!)
Mentioning my extremely full stomach got me a shot of the brown stuff in the funny glass (They called it bitters). I was told it would settle my stomach like medicine. A bit skeptical, I also asked for still water (for some reason whenever you ask for a glass of water, you get carbonated, slightly salty tasting water. Still water is water with no bubbles-Also known as regular water for those of us from the U.S.) but was then urged to try the funny smelling strong stuff. (It smelled like menthol, mint, nail polish remover and medicine which is pretty much what it tasted like.)
I managed to get about three sips of the stuff down and was surprised when 15 minutes later, my stomach felt much better. They weren’t joking!
Then it was time to move to the bar for dancing and more partying!
It was at this point that Princess Kate made another decree:
“Thou shall fill the giant beer mug and give it to my manager and she will drink it up!”
That’s a giant beer if ever I saw one! (Two liters to be exact) When you order a beer at this bar, you also get a little “S” hook with a pretzel hanging from it, which I thought was pretty cool. Giant beer=3 pretzels!
There’s my manager with the giant beer. Note: She didn’t drink this alone. It took 4 people to polish this off before it got too warm!
We spent the rest of the night dancing and mingling with the locals who happened to walk in and speak a little English. It was a great time.
The party didn’t end until 3:30 am, though I lost my Princess Kate title and the ability to “make decrees” officially at midnight, shortly after they played my requested birthday song (Tom Petty-Maryjane’s Last Dance).
Thanks to all that made my birthday this year one that I will never forget! Prost!