Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Put this one in the 'eh' column

Upon hearing that we were moving to Marietta, GA, countless people implored us to visit Helen once we arrived. It is a quaint German town, they said. It is so charming with its authentic side streets, street musicians, and architecture, they said. You will feel as if you have been transported to Western Europe, they said. 

Well, I am here to tell you - they were wrong.

I mean, I haven't actually been to Germany, but I have now been to Helen, GA and if that is an authentic representation of that country, then I don't really want to go. Not true, Germany, I totally wanna visit you and soak in your European-ness. 

That is now a word.

The thing about Helen is that while the architecture and food may be a good representation of the German/Austrian culture, the sheer consumerism is all American. Everywhere you look there are souvenir shops peddling SEC football-themed woodwork, blown-glass Mickey Mouse figurines, and lone wolf t-shirts. Sure there is the occasional true-to-the-point European shop - and those are delightful - but the bombardment of  neon green and pink inter-tubes floating down the river in the middle of the town sort of take away from the feeling that I think they were trying to invoke upon building this little -ahem - "gem".

Still the flowers were beautiful little pops of color, set against the brown and white buildings.

Please note : while pops of color from flowers is absolutely welcome and desired, the floating devices are not. Flowers are NATURAL, after all, while people floating in huge donuts down a lazy river are definitely not.

Like any good little American consumer, we searched our Around Me app on our phones to find the most "authentic German food" for lunch. The Old Bavarian Inn was recommended so we stepped in to find that we had the place basically to ourselves.

It was a charming restaurant, complete with an accordianist who sang a song for Canon. He used his name in it and everything. I don't think a bigger grin could have come on that four year old's face. Again, we were the only patrons in this establishment at the time.

Neither Craig nor I are big on German food, but when in Germany...errr, Helen. So we ordered some German beers (excellent), a huge pretzel for an appetizer (amazing) and some random dishes that were recommended by our lovely waitress. At least the beer and pretzels were good. Our original standings on German food remains. At least until we taste the real thing in the real country. Still, the restaurant itself was our favorite part of the town. We had so much fun interacting with the musician and our waitress, who of course was dressed in a traditional dirndl. Not the sexy kind. Naturally.

After leaving our meal, and in complete buyer's remorse for spending a small fortune on food that we didn't necessarily love, we passed this place, at which time both Craig and I stopped and cursed the moon and stars that we didn't see it sooner. I mean, seriously. Fried Cheese Cafe?! Really?! I would have died and gone to Heaven in there. We will be making the trek back to tourist-trap Hel...en just to eat here one day.

Despite our disappointment with the town, we had a wonderful time with each other.

Canon is still working on his camera skillz. Here he is cutting off his dad's head...again. #shortieforthewin

As I said before, the flowers were really beautiful. Maybe it was the drab backdrop of the buildings or the overcast and rainy skies, but they really stood out that day.

I know I sound really harsh about this place and I probably shouldn't because the architecture alone is worth a look. There were just so many people and I felt like I was in just another random tourist trap instead of a well-kept secret as I had imagined it would be.

Can't win 'em all, Georgia.

Well, actually we continued our journey that day and this great state redeemed itself very quickly. I will share those findings with you soon!

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