Alas, all good things must come to an end, and at 6 am we left the friendly hospitality of Samir to take the train to downtown. Chrissy and Anna were taking the 7:30 am fast train (350 km/hour) from Paris to Frankfurt, and they got home by noon. I, for some strange reason, had not found that train when I was making travel arrangements, so I ended taking the 11:00 am flight from Paris to Hamburg, and then the not-so-fast train (200 to 250 km/hour) from Hamburg to Frankfurt. Getting from the Hamburg airport to the Hamburg train station was a bit of a chore, because the metro does not go all the way to the airport, but I somehow managed with 5 minutes to spare. The train ride was uneventful and quite scenic. I arrived at 6:30 pm, and Chrissy was already there, waiting for me.
We had dinner with Frank and Andrea in a restaurant that Frank had discovered near the Frankfurt zoo. The place is old, and in the summer they use the old courtyard as the dining area. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and to eat and drink a Geribbte. The Geribbte is a distinctive ribbed glass traditionally used to drink Apfelwein, although the wine itself is brought to the table in a large stoneware jar called a Bembel.
Frank told us that the specialty of the house was steak roulade, so we all ordered that. It is a thin beef steak rolled around a pickle and a few leaves of cabbage, cooked in a very tasty sauce. It is traditionally eaten with mashed potatoes, but Gustav and I broke tradition and asked for potato salad instead. It was a delicious dinner, with many Geribbte, and at the end we had a calvados (apple brandy) as a digestif. Calvados can be served neat, or you can choose to have it served with a peach inside the glass (the peach comes from a can, preserved in sweet syrup); the proper etiquette, as demonstrated by Frank, is to spear the peach through with a toothpick, let it hang over your Geribbte for a few seconds while you take you first shot of calvados, eat the peach (as a quick dessert), and then shoot back the rest of the calvados.
After dinner we went to yet another courtyard restaurant, drank another Bembel of Apfelwein, had another calvados, and . . . we could have probably continued in this way for a few more hours, since there were many restaurants around us . . . but good sense prevailed and we came back home. Need to pace ourselves for tomorrow, when the final of the Euro 2008 will be disputed by Germany and Spain. Frank and Andrea have invited us to a barbecue before the game, so there will be many more opportunities for eating and drinking another Geribbte.