German-American Couple Takes the Steinhuder Meer Bike Tour (And I Have an Allergic Reaction to Eel Meat)
On a lovely Saturday in August, The Wife and I rode our bikes to the Hannover Hauptbahnhof, got on the S-Bahn and rode that sumbitch out to Wunstorf Station. There, we got back on our bikes and took a glorious ride to the Steinhuder Meer; the largest lake in northwestern Germany.
It’s beautiful, with tons of paddle boats, row boats, sail boats and young people making out on the dock like they ain’t got no shame at all. In the middle of the lake is a small artificial island called Wilhelmstein, with an 18th-century castle on top. (Leave it to some rich old German bastard to build himself a castle. Jesus. I can’t even afford a new bike helmet.)
The Steinhuder Meer is a big lake. It covers an area of about 12 square miles (30 km), but it’s super shallow. Its average depth is 4.4 feet (1.35 m), which means an average person could walk right across it… except for those few spots where it hits 9.8 feet deep. That’s when you go in over your head and scream like a little girl. Air bubbles rising to the surface. Eels coiling around your ankles. Underpants filling with trouser apples.
I’m not kidding about those eels though. The Steinhuder Meer is lousy with ’em, and the nearby town of Steinhude sells eel sandwiches in every pub, deli and restaurant you can find. Now, I have a deep and enduring fear of eels. Take one look at a group of eels and you just know they’re evil. Evil, and cursed by God.
So, it was with a good measure of apprehension that I tasted the eel sandwich my wife bought at Schweer’s Aalräucherei. I considered it a revenge bite. Revenge against every eel in the world just for creeping me out. Unfortunately, I am allergic to fish. I had no clue eels were in any way related to fish (I am a wiser man now), so of course I just went for it; I took a huge bite and swallowed that mother like it done me wrong, and I discovered exactly 2 things in the following moments:
Eel meat is super oily and tastes like rubber bands dipped in toilet water.
I am allergic to eel meat. It causes my lips, mouth and throat to swell up, turn red and itch like unholy hellfire.
I am no stranger to this allergic reaction. I’ve tried all sorts of fish, and the only one I can get away with is tuna. Something about tuna fish is just fine with my body. So is shell fish, like lobster and shrimp. But every other kind of fish — especially salmon — makes my throat itch and my lips swell up and stick out like a Simpsons character. The sensation is a combination of burning, itching and aching all wrapped up in one mix of poetic justice. Fortunately, it comes on in like 30 seconds — so fast I can’t really ingest enough to be in any danger of asphyxiation — so I just put the stupid fish down, say, “God dammit,” and wait 45 minutes for the swelling to subside.
After my reaction to the disgusting eel meat, we had a fantastic day and took a bunch of pictures. Click on one below to start the slideshow and, as always, we hope you can dig ’em!
If you liked this post, please follow our blog by entering your email address in the upper right corner of this page. You’ll receive future posts directly in your inbox! No spam, ever! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.