The tour itself began with old friends. The first night was my third visit to the Meier family bookshop in the picturesque old town of Weissenburg. We feasted on Sauternes and Bergerac wine with foie gras, stuffed mushrooms and delightful tiny quiches. Each recipe came from the Bruno cookbook, all prepared by Birgit who runs a local restaurant is the girlfriend of my host and chum, Mathias Meier. We had a sell-out crowd, who were very forgiving of my stumbling German, since Mathias told them I was jet-lagged after flying in that day from the US.
The second night of the tour was in Schwabmunchen, for my second visit to Buchhandlung Schmidt, where the very energetic young Hans Grunthaler brings in customers with regular concerts, readings and performances. Since we overflowed his bookshop on my first visit, this time he had arranged for the meeting to take place in a very luxurious local furniture store, where more than a hundred people could sit comfortably on sofas and armchairs.
Hans had brought along a splendid accordionist who played vintage French bal musette music in the pauses between the reading extracts – so naturally I danced with all the ladies in the front row. We had a splendid evening. If only American and British booksellers were so imaginative!