All we wanted was coffee and crepes

| May 16, 2015

This morning while I was in the tub, Paul walked down to the breakfast room to get himself a cup of coffee, without which he cannot function in the morning. A full room of old Polish ladies had taken over the place, and there was no coffee. Yesterday the coffee situation was also less than ideal. Paul returned to the room, dejected.

After my bath, I headed down to find him some coffee. I immediately bumped into a very old Polish woman in search of her room. I tried to assist, but 1) she was speaking Polish, 2) she didn’t know her room number, and 3) she didn’t have her key. I felt badly, but as she began jiggling and opening every unlocked door (much to the dismay of one room occupant), I snuck away.

When I entered the breakfast room, the waitress was clearing the long, 23-seat table that the women had left. I headed back to the coffee machine. Only hot water came out. Next to the machine sat two glass jars filled with coffee-looking stuff.  I assumed they were both instant. (It is worth noting that I do not drink coffee unless I’m looking for a hot, non-alcoholic drink to purchase for the sole purpose of collecting a Christmas market mug, in which case I will suffer through a cappuccino and the ensuing sleepless night.)

I chose the darker one, thinking that Paul needed strong coffee at this point; and darker, in my mind, meant stronger. No matter that the darker coffee was fine grains of coffee, and the lighter was chunky grains.

I attempted to mix the fine grains into the hot water. A lot of them floated on top. I thought, well, maybe they’ll dissolve. Judging from the looks of this coffee, though, Paul would need milk. There were only drops at the bottom of the milk pitcher, but I poured those drops into the mug.

As I walked away with the speckled coffee, I noticed another coffee machine. I asked the waitress if it was a coffee machine. Alas, apparently this second coffee machine: also not dispensing coffee. The waitress barked something about coffee, but in an “oh, my, there’s no coffee, I’ll get you some right away!” manner. She ran off into the kitchen.

After a bit, she whizzed by in search of someone else to help with the coffee. (WHAT is WITH the COFFEE?) The front desk woman came in and went back to the kitchen.

“Sit, please,” gestured the waitress.

I decided to ask what time breakfast was over.
Me, in English: “What time is breakfast over?”
Waitress: [shrugs helplessly] Polish-polish-polish
Me, in German: What time is breakfast finished?”
Her, in Polish: polish-polish-polish (gestures toward kitchen, says something like ‘colleague’)
And then her, in German- I don’t speak English, I speak only German.

     Well, up until this moment, I thought I did, too.

When I returned upstairs with Paul’s coffee, I bumped into the little old Polish woman. She was STILL wandering the halls. I wandered some more with her as she tried every door. When she got to mine, I pointed to the door and then to myself and said, in German, “This is my room.” I went in.

Paul looked out the window and saw the gaggle of old ladies getting into a bus.
Me: “I hope they don’t leave the old lady behind.”

Paul finished his coffee and we all went down to breakfast. The waitress asked if I wanted pancakes, and asked Sequoia if she wanted a special omelette. We each said yes. She left the room saying “Nutella,” presumably because for the past two mornings I’ve eaten Nutella on my crepes.

Until my crepes were to come, I ate my hot dog, beef jerky, and vegetables from the breakfast buffet.

Because Poland.

Because Poland.

Soon the waitress brought out a wonderful-looking and -tasting omelette large enough for the three of us to share. She then brought out Nutella and maple syrup on a tray.  The crepes must be on their way!

The crepes were not on their way.  In fact, they were never on the way.  As I sat dejected, Paul opened the door to the kitchen, looked around, and spotted no one.

Him: “I didn’t want to go all the way back into the kitchen”

Me: “Oh, I’m going in.”

Finally I found our waitress in the unexpectedly large and winding kitchen, and asked for pancakes or crepes.

Waitress: “Pancakes a problem.”

No shit.

As someone who does not respond well to food-related disappointment, I silently walked away, picked up my backpack, collected the room key from Paul, and told him that I could not stay in the breakfast room.

In retrospect, perhaps the waitress was trying to substitute an omelette for the pancakes.

But then, WHY THE NUTELLA AND SYRUP?

Damn you, Poland!

Damn you, Poland!

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Category: Europe, In Germany A Broad blog, Travel, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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