Did you want a bit more on Colditz? OK then: I join a tour in English, along with four shirt-wearing sexagenarians from Kendal. They’ve come all this way…and not a single bit of Mint Cake between them. We look under-dressed next to Susanne in her duffle coat, and feel it, too.
Either Susanne’s coat is electronically heated, or the woman is impervious to the cold. The tour starts outside…and remains outside. She recounts the camaraderie between the Brits, whom she calls “the boys” – predominantly, British prisoners were housed here – and points out escape routes.
Sadly, most of the castle is off-limits so we amble round the courtyard, at the speed of sloths, yearning for a nice warm room.
Our noses pinking, and with prominent cheek capillaries, Susanne finally leads us through a door beneath the church – to a tunnel. Jeepers, it’s even colder down here than it was outside. I worry that all this dawdling in inclement conditions might trigger the advent of varicose veins.
Upstairs, there is a small museum but, all in all, watching “Escape from Colditz” would give you the gist just as well. Sensing her five tourists are numb, Susanne concludes. ‘That’s the end of the tour. You should take a hot tea now.’ Ah, music to my ears.
It’s lucky we’re coming back to Leipzig on the AC/DC tour in May – there is so much to do. Of course I’ve been here before, but one often achieves little on tour if the schedule is punishing. Thus, a report on Bach and Mendelssohn will have to wait.
But…a pressing concern has arisen – my cab interior is now festooned with pamphlets on city attractions. Indeed, there is a sizeable risk of Namibian discovering me buried alive under a mountain of glossy tourist literature. Opening the door to a corpse in the driving seat, he may remark: ‘Ooh look, he wanted to visit the oldest botanical gardens in Germany.’
Talking of Namibian, our familiar South African – actually he was born in England but served in the Namibian Air Force – visits a truckstop barber today. About time too, I hear you cry. Yes, he is beginning to resemble one of those brushes used for cleaning toilets.
Unfortunately, though, he emerges uncut, bellowing that the girl doesn’t understand him. Ten minutes later, my honeyed words coax him back downstairs…to a young lady speaking fluent English. Isn’t he a one?..