June 2007


Assaulting Halle

(With apologies to my German readers for the post’s title.)

I arrived in Halle, birthplace of Händel, shortly before 1 and checked into my hotel, which is about as close to the train station as one can get without sleeping on the tracks—and then headed into the city to explore and eat lunch. It was painfully obvious that the city was the birthplace of Händel and that they were in the midst of a Händel-fest.

Lunch was at some Italian restaurant (Bella Italia, I think) on the Gross Markt—and was fine until the end when the waiter came up and told me my bill. I could be mistaken but I swore he said “zwölf” – so I asked to see the bill.

It was 11€, not 12€!

He spoke English and said eleven, and I pointed out that he had previously said “zwölf,” which was not “elf”—and it sound sufficiently different that I am comfortable to say that he had tried to rip me off initially. Big mistake on his part since his tip dropped to zero.

Of course since I had an afternoon free in the City of Händel in the midst of Händel-fest, I had to do something musical.

The Beatles Museum, which was fascinating in that, “Oh my god, the owner really is a Beatles Fanatic, was my nod to the musical history of the city. It was three floors of Beatles memorabilia, 14 rooms of material—generally broken down into different eras from the “pre-Beatles time,” to the present. The pre-Beatles era featured a school tie from Quarry Bank High School.

I was clearly out of my element.

I also had the beginnings of a headache, so when I sped through the museum (I really did not do it justice—one should allot it a lot more time), the owner stopped me and invited me to the cinema. I had to politely decline, as I could feel my headache growing.

Back at my hotel, at something like 3, I took a nap and woke up with an even worse headache, so I went back to sleep—waking at 9:30—feeling a whole lot better. Not well enough to go to the Blue Velvet (a gay bar located right across from the Beatles Museum, thanks to Jul for the tip!), but well enough to think to myself, “I’m hungry.”

The only option for an inexpensive meal was the McDonalds at the Hauptbahnhof—but when I got there I realized that the grocery store was still open and that there was a döner shop right next door to it (I got my Mc-fill though, it was a “McDoner”). For less that 5€ I got a big bottle of water, pastries for breakfast, and a huge chicken döner for dinner. The doors were shutting behind me as I was in both shops—had I slept ten more minutes I really would have had to eaten a Big Mac.

4 comments to Assaulting Halle

  • disenchanted

    Wow. I’d have been annoyed by the waiter too. Grrr.

  • Jul

    LOL – I can’t believe Blue Velvet has a website. Good memories… you’ll have to go back to Halle someday so you can check it out. 🙂

  • koko

    boo bad servers!

  • Halle seemed quite charming–the only problem is its an hour and a half away on a train that stops everywhere.

    I don’t mind the time, I mind the stopping!