(Lots) more photos here. Afterwards, staggering up the steep hill for lunch, most places were full - and then we happened on a little cafe called Flamingo Blau. Where they had cakes in a glass case - and, crucially, seats! We took a small table in the basement, I had a Sacher torte, Helen had a croissant, and we had glühwein. And because it was such a nice find, we were peckish, and our feet were tired, we had another round. And were quite merry for our climb up to our ultimate goal, which was the castle:
Now, I'm fascinated by such things, but it was close to closing by the time we wended our way up there. We watched some of a historical film about the place - and when we came out.. whu'..? We were entering a blizzard!
At least we were headed down - the place was blanketed with white within minutes. Helen had some places she wanted to stop off to buy things - including a huge, blingy bauble - and we stopped in the local Aldi on the way back to the hotel, because they have a hot chocolate machine there. Which offers flavours. Much needed.
Once we'd dried out - with the help of the bathroom's strong hairdryer: had our hot chocolates, and Helen had figured out where all her purchases were to go (!) - we headed out for dinner. Near was good, and we'd passed an Indian restaurant on the way in, called Sangam. There was a short queue, but the maitre d' didn't look phased, and after about 10 minutes had us sat at the bar while we waited, and admired the lovely decor, all dark wood and Indian artworks:
Quick and friendly service led to one of the best Indian meals I've had! The Peshwari naan was just perfect, and we were stuffed. We did notice it get a little less busy after 9, so I recommend heading there a bit later if possible - being aware that even ethnic restaurants close here at 11. But this was a real find! And so we went to bed a bit early, ready for our trip to Bamberg next day. More to follow.
That trip to Germany took up the weekend. And wouldn't you know it, our flight back on Sunday night was cancelled - there'd been a snowstorm in Stansted. Fully two days later was the first flight we could get back there - so I missed a couple of things I'd booked; on Monday - having taken the day off work - I was booked for the Barbershop Chronicles. At the National. And on Tuesday, I booked a Funzing talk - Interviews With a Serial Killer, courtesy of London Speaks Sessions and LDN Talks @ Night. For which, with their new loyalty scheme, I earned £10 credit! Not so shabby.. But it wasn't very Christmassy, all the same, and I subsequently booked an evening at Keats House, with London Social Detours. Where they explored Christmas in the Romantic era - ahh! Sadly, neither was now possible.
Back at last, and last night, my last visit of the year to Sands Films - finally advertised on Meetup, through the World Music Meetup, TunedIn London had a concert by Plastikes Karekles, a Greek group. The friend I've been persuading to go to the Crick Crack events had suggested that night for a nostalgic trip, by some of us, to Top Secret - I would rather do that, but unfortunately he couldn't get anyone else to agree, so we postponed the idea.
Tonight, my friends who came to Soho a while ago are headed to Wilton's Music Hall, for something called The Box of Delights. And for once, I'm letting them decide for me, and am going myself too.
Tomorrow, my final trip of the year to the Crick Crack Club - Jan Blake is performing Masters of Hex at the British Library. Along with Ben Haggerty and TUUP. Same friend going with me as did on the 29th, and Helen too - and the same lunatic. Who will probably avoid us, and good enough for her. Next day, I'm back to Ireland for Christmas.
Flying back to London on the 2nd of January, and on the 3rd I've booked to see Stewart Lee at Leicester Square Theatre. Determinedly not in the front two rows - not for a comedy show!
On the 4th of January, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (Happy New Year to them!), who are off to see Hanna, at the Arcola.
On the 5th of January, I thought Time Out threw me a curiously interesting event - so I'm going on this Space Descent VR experience, at the Science Museum. I'll have to leave work early for it - there are timed slots, and it consists of wearing goggles, and living the experience of a descent to earth, with the astronaut Tim Peake narrating in your ears.
On the 6th of January, Crick Crack is back! Happy New Year to them too. The story of When Time Began is being told at King's Place. Creation myths. And wouldn't you know it, we're being treated to a host of performers - the husband and wife team, Emily and Nick Hennessy, and co-founder of the club, the amazing Ben Haggerty. Accompaniment provided by the wonderful musician, Sheema Mukherjee.
On the 7th of January, another Happy new Year - this time to Let's Do This, who are off to an art exhibition. Gilbert & George: the Beard Pictures and their Fuckosophy. Sorry, but that is the title. Showing at the White Cube Gallery. Honestly, but for the group that's hosting, I wouldn't bother..
And finally, more art on the 8th of January, which I'll probably enjoy more. I'm taking the day off to go see Reflections at the National Gallery - an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelites, which, with a free day, I can peruse at my leisure. As inspired by a walk by the excellent London Literary Walks - roll on the summer, and a return of those!