We’re off to a steak restaurant – Namibian, as you may have guessed, likes a steak or three – and a “spaznav” device is produced to find it. I ought to just mention here that we are, in fact, pedestrians.
A farcical quarrel over directions ensues – left, no, right, straight on? Namibian coolly smokes a Chesterfield throughout the squabble, and looks at a shop selling suitcases. He explodes with expletives, his eye wandering from one expensive suitcase to the next, culminating in near apoplexy at the €300 flagship model.
The German couple are stumped, and eventually ask a taxi driver for assistance – embarrassing, I know, but we’re starving. The restaurant that we seek turns out to be just 150 yards away; a pesky pedestrianised street has caused all the confusion. My infallible method of asking attractive women for directions would have been infinitely more productive.
When we sit down, Uwe gives a little groan. He is suffering from acute tennis elbow, a condition I genuinely thought stemmed from playing tennis. The term must have at least originated in the game, mustn’t it? You see, in my eyes, it just doesn’t add up that a chap moving a computer mouse at work all day can contract tennis elbow.
As we’re chatting about his complaint, I spot some businesswomen wearing paper aprons to protect their clothes. I want one…and I’m not going to shut up until I get one. The accommodating waitress merrily complies and I promptly behave like a child, liberally smearing my apron with ketchup.
Sandra’s translation of the apron’s text is: ‘a bib is nice and saves the fat but only the clothes unfortunately.’ Hmm, it makes sense in German, apparently. Namibian orders a second Cognac and Coke. Oh, I know – I regularly raise my eyebrows in disapproval, too. He’s also been seen adding Cola to good, single malt whisky.
The Germans drop us off at the trucks with bonhomie, waving and saying: ‘thank you for the to eat.’
As I say, that was last night. Today, Namibian is studying a map in his truck – despoiling the route to Prague with yellow, pink, and blue markers – while Crazy Sandra takes me sightseeing. We’re off to a place called Iserlohn, which has spooky caves. At a constant ten degrees, they would be ideal for storing wine, an idea that might already be in place – only half of the caves are open to tourists.
In 1868, a chap overhead was banging happily away with a hammer…when it disappeared into the depths. He’s jolly lucky it wasn’t a thermos flask that fell through, was my first reaction on hearing this story. Anyway, lo and behold, Dechenhole Cave was discovered.
The tour commentary is in Deutsch. And, like everything else in this country, photography is “verboten”. Sandra translates all the statistics – ‘1cm of stalactite growth takes 100 years’ etc. – while I decide whether the pretty guide would actually mind if I took some photos.
Sandra discreetly asks – ‘tell her I’m on the AC/DC tour,’ I whisper – and the guide agrees to a few sneaky snaps. Far more intrusive than picture-taking, though, is Sandra’s mobile phone beeping, shattering the serenity. It is a text message from Namibian – a whole week late – telling her he’s watching the Pink concert..