An air hostess in the rain-free city of Halle an Der Saale (22 – 24 July)

Table scene in the Alten Postamt bar in Halle.

Table scene in the Alten Postamt bar in Halle.

“It never rains in Halle an Der Saale” scans almost as well as “it never rains in southern California“, but what would one rhyme Saale with?  Impala? Trouble is there are no African antelope in this part of the former East Germany, to the best of my knowledge.  It turned out, however, that this impressive city would be just the place for us to visit next because it is often dry when the rest of that part of Germany is wet (as was forecast), and Vroni can’t play her piano in the streets when it is raining. Another reason to go there was that a friend of Vroni’s had kindly offered us the use of his spacious flat – he and his family were away on holiday.

It was almost 10 p.m. when we arrived and Vroni retrieved the key from a friendly but apparently very under-dressed neighbour (almost naked, I was told).  Although we were tired, Vroni was keen to meet her friends in a nearby bar, and I soon found myself in very warm company in the charming Alten Postamt, where I met a tall air hostess who seemed strangely immobile but was an excellent listener. Much beer was consumed.

Smoking is allowed in some German bars.

Smoking is allowed in some German bars.

I approached this rather static air hostess...

I approached this rather static air hostess...

She seemed lonely.

She seemed lonely.

I found she was a good listener.

I found she was a good listener. (At least she didn't object to my jokes.)

Some of the decor.

Some of the decor.

More decor.

More decor.

Don't take an instrument to this place as it's likely to end up on the wall.

Don't take an instrument to this place as it's likely to end up on the wall.

The next day Vroni played in the busy main square, moving into a nearby pedestrianised street when the market packed up. She positioned her piano in front of a fountain next to church, and was received by the good burghers of Halle with as much warmth and enthusiasm as I’d seen anywhere.

Playing in the main square as the market was cleared away.

Playing in the main square as the market was cleared away.

Halle scene.  (See the working tramlines, Edinburgh!)

Halle scene. (See the working tramlines, Edinburgh!)

Halle scene - like every European city we visited, Halle seemed far more bicycle-friendly than most UK cities.

Halle scene - like every European city we visited, Halle seemed far more bicycle-friendly than most UK cities.

Another tram-endous view!

Another tram-endous view!

Vroni ended up playing just to the right of the fountain in this picture.

Vroni ended up playing just to the right of the fountain in this picture.

After this one of Vroni’s various friendly and talented friends showed us his furniture-making workshop.  I was impressed not only by the interior of the shop itself, but also by the abstract patterns formed by the variously shaped and coloured pieces of wood hanging on a wall outside it.

The carpentry workshop we were shown.

The carpentry workshop we were shown.

Abstract art #1: chisels.

Abstract art #1: chisels.

Abstract art #2: sandpaper.

Abstract art #2: sandpaper.

Abstract art #3: wood.

Abstract art #3: wood.

Abstract art #4: wood.

Abstract art #4: wood.

...And bicycles, bicycles!

...And bicycles, bicycles!

That evening we were invited to a friend’s flat for a meal.  We eventually had to tear ourselves away from what turned into very convivial soirée (at which some stunning pictures of a trek in the Himalayas were shown), as we planned to get away early the next morning for the long drive to Copenhagen. Halle, goodbye! (Hmm – that’s almost another lyric, isn’t it?)

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About biowrite

I am a writer specialising in non-fiction, particularly in assisting people with their biographies.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, People I know (not directly connected with my writing), Tour of Europe 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

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