Durchgehende Warme Küche (a hilarious example of communication error!)

"I don't need to see the cakes, because I know just what I want!"

“I don’t need to see the cakes, because I know just what I want!”

It was the evening of the first day of our Rick Steves tour, and I was traveling with my sister Nancy. We had just returned from a short boat cruise down the Rhine. The scenery was wonderful: beautiful rugged banks, surging water, the charming villages on the shoreline, and blue sky studded with white clouds.


After getting back to the hotel, we ventured out in the early evening to find something to eat.  My sister wanted to buy something to go and eat down by the river, and I wanted to find that cake specialty I’d wanted to try, because in front of so many shops there were signs advertising it.

So we compromised by first buying gyros (called by the Turkish name Döner Kebap) and taking them to eat down by the river, then  looking for a café to get some dessert. The “Durgehende Warme Küche” signs seemed to have disappeared, except for the same caf that we had eaten in the night before. . We walked in and I asked, “Durchgehende warme küche?”

The tall slender Romanian waitress paused a moment,  and then said, “…Yes”.  So we found  a table at the back of the deck which wound around the restaurant, where we could still see the Romantic Rhine, but away from the traffic noise.  The two tables between us and the river seemed to be occupied by snuggling honeymooning couples.

The waitress came and we ordered “ein Kännchen Kafeé” (a small pot of coffee). She asked us if we wanted to come see the cakes.

“No, I don’t need to see them,” I said emphatically, “Because I know just what I want, I’ve been waiting to try the ‘durchgehende warme küche’ and I don’t want anything else.”

“Well…you can’t have that,” she said with a straight face,”because it means ‘kitchen open all the time’ “.  We both just cracked up laughing, and we ordered apfel strudel.

When we were ready to go, I asked Nancy to go inside and pay, as I was afraid I would “lose it” again if I looked that waitress in the face.  Nancy went to pay, and came back and said that the waitress had said that she’d never forget us!

(I had ignored the “umlaut”, and had thus confused the word “kitchen” (küche) with the word for “cake” (kuche).  The signs I’d seen had started to disappear because it was a Sunday evening and the places were no longer serving hot food!)