The night started strange enough. We walked towards town as we had done many times before but spotted a place we had not yet seen. The street menu looked promising – decent sounding food at decent sounding prices. When we entered it seemed kind of odd that the place was packed yet there was a large table completely empty. “Oh well” I thought as we seated ourselves and placed our order – 2 pilsner urquell’s and 2 dishes consisting of traditional czech food.
The clientele was predominantly male and we gathered that we were in a sports bar by the football (soccer for the americans) on the television – it was confirmed by the menu that proclaimed “sports bar” across the top!
Suddenly we realized why the table was previously unoccupied. We had a table of rowdy and completely pissed (excessively drunk not angry) germans on one side and a table of drunk luxembourg football players on the other. These two engaged in a friendly volley of drinking songs and snide comments as we sat in the middle trying to eat. Thus the empty table in the middle of a packed place…
Let’s start with the guys from luxembourg. They would break into song that I guess was their national football song about every 5 to 10 minutes. In between they would tell the waitress that they loved her and would ask what she was doing later. This game had been going on a while and she played along by answering differently every time. Randomly someone would start shouting a beat that I cannot recall but would start the whole table singing “Heee-eey baby I wanna know if you’ll be my girl!” and direct it at various people around the room with this crazy accent – which we later found out was some combination of french german english and some other language – the 4 languages of luxembourg).
On the other side the germans at the table (that were NOT passed out) would break into the german football song in retaliation. My german is almost nonexistant but I could understand that they were also playing some drinking game that involved counting. One person would occasionally shout “EINS” (ay-ns) only to be followed by another shouting “ZWEI” (tsvi) which is 1 and 2 and so on. Something would happen then people would laugh and drink. I have NO idea what the rules are and I doubt I will ever find out.
We finished up and left as we were looking for a quieter night. We went to a celtic bar that we had been in earlier because we knew the atmosphere was right and that they sold absinth.
The place was perfect for our mission – see if we could get the absinth to induce hallucination as it is rumoured to be able to do. We sat down and ordered round one. The absinthe process is simple but fun. Take a spoon and fill it with sugar. Dip the sugar into your shot until it is completely soaked in absinth. Pull the spoon/sugar/absinth concoction out and light it (absinth is around 70% alcohol). Watch the sugar burn and catch the gaze of those who don’t know about the drink. About the time the flame starts to go out blow it out ( this is important…you are dipping the spoon back into the alcohol…) and dump the sugar into the shot and stir. A “cheers” and a clink of the glasses is all that is left to do before dumping it all (no not the spoon. don’t be silly) down your throat. Wait for the burn and smile!
We only had 600 Koruna (allowing for a tip) between us and each shot cost 55. Since we were on limited funds and didn’t know how we would react to the drink we kept a card with our remaining money on it and marked off 110 per round – which allowed for 5 shots each.
The second round piqued the interest of our neighbors who asked what the hell we were doing! We explained and then started to chat. There were three of them from Ireland. Helen, Diane, and a name that escapes me. Helen was intrigued enough to try one but the other two resisted..but only until helen shoed back up with shots for everyone! It was about this time (shot 5 for us) that erik proclaimed “Dude I can’t see!” We continued for another 45 minutes or so our new friends left after about 30. The walk home was rough but we made it.
Absinth is a strong drink and it gives you a different kind of buzz but no hallucinations for either of us. Tis sad but you can’t always win now can you? I recommend trying it if you are into new experiences and such but it is not for the faint of heart! I suppose there is a reason it is illegal in most countries…