Friday, July 2, 2010

Today was a sleep in day. In the afternoon I walked to the city center.
Soooo many tourists. Every block you see cameras posed for photos. I saw lots of Muslim women- maybe 2 or 3 per block in the black long burqa and face veil. Some were with other women as well as their children in tow and some were with their family as on holiday. I saw many tour groups and a lot of them were student groups. Again, when I hear English (without the British accent) I have to ask where are you from. I met people from Pennsylvania, Chicago and Louisiana. There were several city fountains that the children played in. I did see lots of trash, something I hadn't seen a lot before on this trip. I saw lots of trash divers. One lady passed by a group of teens who were sitting on a bench under a tree. One of the young girls had in her hand a plastic bottle of juice that she had just about drained. The women (probably 60 yrs old) stopped and asked the girl for the empty bottle. The woman carried a plastic sack that she used to collect the plastic bottles and cans that she got from digging through the trash cans.

I found the statue of the Wild Boar. You are suppose to rub his snout to bring good luck.
It is located in the same block as the Church of our Lady a masterpiece of German Gothic art. As I found a place to sit and eat I heard the bells of the church. The ring on the hour for about ten minutes. What a joy to hear!
My lunch was bread and cheese. The breads and pretzels here are wonderful. The bread stores are located about every 2 or 3 blocks. They are small about the size of a small ice cream store but with no place to sit down. The sell pretzels and all kinds of bread: sour dough, Italian, bread with grains, bread rolled in sunflower seeds, round loaves, small individual size loaves and also sweet breads. These are like cinnamon rolls but are covered in maple icing, almond cookies half dipped in chocolate. I haven't seen anything with colored icing like the decorated cookies and cakes we see at bakeries and no doughnuts.

The buildings are old near city center and more modern further out. There is lots of gang graffiti on the buildings along the train track. But the buildings are not shacks but nice high rise office buildings and the graffiti is written in colored paints on the lower floors of the outside brick walls. The police and ambulance sirens are more of a sing song sound than the sirens we are used to hearing. They have a street car that runs down the middle of the streets along the power lines that are draped above the streets. Every restaurant has outdoor seating on the sidewalks-even Kentucky Fried Chicken has seating at patio tables on the sidewalk.
Every shop has the soccer souvenirs. The cars are decorated too. Some have the flags out the windows like we see at a Bama game but many others have mirror covers that look like little socks on the side door mirrors. The covers are the colors of the German Flag. I shopped at the Galareia yesterday. I bought hand towels and oven mitts with kitchen words written in German like salt and pepper or Zout and Peper.

At the end of the day I came back to my hotel. I turned on the TV and watched (spoken in German) Who Wants to be a Millionaire...until I found CNN in English.

Happy travels,

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