Thursday, August 01, 2013

Bilbo Learns About What Not to Drink in France

Yesterday I told the story of how my friend Horst and I enlisted the aid of a tank in order to locate a car rental agency in France. Today, I will tell you of what happened the evening before ...

You will recall that Agnes and I and our daughter Yasmin and her friend had driven over to the beautiful medieval walled town of Riquewihr in the Alsace region to meet our friends Horst and Martina for a weekend of sightseeing and fine French cuisine. We stayed at the very old and picturesque Hotel a l'Oriel, which was built into the city wall in a narrow street  ...

Here's a picture of Agnes taking in the view from our front window ...

We unpacked quickly and spent the afternoon wandering the narrow cobblestone streets and admiring the quaint medieval architecture. In the early evening, we had to make a difficult choice among the many fine restaurants in the town, and finally decided upon this one ...

We enjoyed a fine meal and continued our walking tour of the town into the darkening evening, eventually ending up shortly before 9:00 at a sidewalk cafe on the main square, where we decided to have a cup of after-dinner coffee. We were all seated at a nice table in the cool evening and had just finished ordering our coffee when suddenly loud music boomed out across the town, followed by a recorded voice carrying on in French about something or another.

Between them, Yasmin and her friend understood just enough French to tell us that this was the beginning of a nightly sound-and-light tour of the city ... for about half an hour, the recorded tour guide lectured on the history of Riquewihr as colored spotlights lit up and winked out to guide tourists through the streets to the various historical sights in the town. Having spent most of the day walking around the town and being somewhat sore of foot, Agnes, Martina, Horst and I elected to sit and relax a while, but Yasmin and her friend set off to follow the lights and narration through the town.

No sooner were they gone than our waiter returned with six cups of coffee which, in the true French style, were outrageously expensive and had the creamy consistency of road tar. About 56 teaspoons of sugar and a quart of milk helped me finish mine, but Agnes couldn't drink hers and the two cups belonging to Yasmin and her friend sat rapidly cooling on the table. Having spent the equivalent of the GNP of a third-world country on them, I was unwilling to let the coffee go to waste, and so I drank the other three cups in addition to my own.

Can you spell wired?

By the time Yasmin and her friend returned and we all decided it was time for bed, I was madly twitching and looked something like this ...

We went back to our room, which was equipped with two ancient, narrow single beds, and I tried to will myself to sleep.

Fat chance.

Not only had I consumed about two weeks' worth of caffeine in the space of half an hour, but my bed was of such an advanced age and its springs in such a perilous state of repair that every time I made the smallest movement, it went SCREECH - SQUEAK - JINGLE - RATTLE - SQUEAL - GROAN - CLANKITY-CLANK!

And so it was that I spent a very long night lying as motionless as possible, trying to keep from setting the bed off as I twitched and jittered from all the blood running through my caffeine stream, while every half hour the $%#! bell in the town's clock tower bong'ed out another mocking segment of the temporal crawl toward morning.

Agnes, of course, slept like the proverbial baby.

The moral of the story is, of course, don't drink French coffee too late in the day ... say, after about 4:00 AM.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming ... including the story of my adventure dealing with French customs officials.



Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Was it at least flavorful? Or was not only consistency of tar but tasted the same?

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Oh you poor guy! The coffee is strong; and you had almost a quadriple dose!

I think there's a law that hotel beds in France must be uncomfortable.

It was a picturesque restaurant and hotel, though.

Banana Oil said...

That is a LOT of coffee!

The Bastard King of England said...

Riquewihr sounds like a beautiful place to see. And to drink good coffee.