Friday, February 02, 2007

Oh, what a night!

So last night I stayed in the Van der Valk hotel (named, I assume, after the Dutch detective of the same name) in Hildesheim. Now Hildesheim is supposed to be a nice, fairly picturesque, town, but I didn't really get to see much of it as I was only there for an evening. My hotel room overlooked a very pretty, very German looking, square, but my main experience of it was the load bells that peeled every quarter of an hour. The hotel itself was very pleasant and had a good, homely, feel to it. My room was large although my huge double bed was covered by two small single bed duvets! One of the main reasons for going to this hotel was so that we could all get together for a meal with the PPARC delegates. The main restaurant was closed for refurbishment, so we were squeezed into a room next to the bar. The bar was filled with rowdy Germans watching Germany versus France in the Handball World Championships (currently being held in Germany). As I hardly ever order fish at the restaurant I decided to go for the Red Snapper (with rice and mango chutney). I was sorely disappointed though as my fish was bloody tough and chewy, although everyone else's meals looked delicious.

Tonight I'm in the Maritim hotel at Hannover Airport. It's huge, with a giant atrium with hangliders hanging from the ceiling. It seems to be set up to cater for business conferences, but I'm yet to check out the dining and drinking facilities. Hopefully they'll be decent, but it's not the ideal place to be spending a Friday evening.

[Update: I went out to dinner at one of the hotel restaurants (well the only one that was open) and had a great meal - far better than last nights rubbish (and that's not too harsh a way of describing it). As you expect from a restaurant I got the complementary bread, but this came in three different varieties and with butter and pesto - pesto goes very well on a nice piece of buttered bread, although I'd never put them together before. I then got a small complementary starter of some lamb wrapped in pastry and a lemon grass soup - as I said it was completely complementary and not something I ordered, but it was bloody nice. Next came my starter which was some rabbit with salady vegetables, but which also included some chicken wrapped in spinach! Again it was lovely. My main course was a venison dish which was sort of like beef wellington, but with the cow substituted for deer. This came with some fried red onion, some potato, carrot and turnip cakes, something bready that I couldn't identify, and (this being Germany and all) some sourkraut. It was great, and meant that I'd had a total of 4 different animals like a true carnivore. Finally I got a complementary chocolate mousse, which although tiny was very nice, and was made all the better by the fact that the waitress who brought it over was attractive. The whole meal was washed down with a couple of glasses of Weissbier. The meal was great, but the sad fact is that I was eating on my own. It does make me feel rather awkward sitting at a table on my own between courses just twiddling my fingers. After the meal I decided to have a drink in the hotel bar (called Bar Night Flight). After one pint I couldn't take it anymore. I can drink in bars on my own if there's some sport to watch, but just sitting at the bar nursing a pint whilst a lounge style piano player/singer warbles at you was too depressing for me (I also wanted to punch the pianist/singer as at the end of each song he'd repeat the last line in a whisper e.g."I wanna make love to you, baaabbyyyyy".)