No Longer Barefoot

Dearest Rachel –

It is the weirdest thing to realize this is the first time I’ve had socks or shoes on since last Sunday. I’ve had no reason to wear them.

I’m also having to put on more than just a T-shirt or a polo, for once. Hey it’s in the single digits Celsius out there; I’ve got to be prepared.

Do I look ready?

It’s nearly eight o’clock, but it’s still barely light out. Time to get going.

Or maybe it isn’t. This is a sleepy town on a Sunday morning. Nothing’s open, nothing’s going on. At least the trams are running like normal, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. It’s certainly a way to see the town, but with nothing going on, what’s the point?

I find an odd staircase between stores on the Marktplatz, and decide to ascend it, scaring pigeons as I climb (and eventually dispense with the stair portion, opting to walk up the smoother bike path). I find myself in a church courtyard, but even the churches seem still on a Sunday morning.

Or perhaps, it’s just that early? I know our worship team would already be rehearsing by now.

I pad my way – carefully – down a steeper set of stairs, and proceed on.

Further back up, I think I find myself on the University grounds; at least one spot refers to the University Gardens, while a donut shop nearby has a BLM poster in its window.

And here I thought I could get away from that over here. Guess college kids will college kid, no matter where you are.

Purely by chance, I find myself outside the Natural History Museum. However, like with everything else, things are closed until at least ten.

I hear chimes from a nearby church, and realize this is the one whose spires I think I could see from the hotel.

It’s the church in front of the Christmas market: the one that I couldn’t get into because I lacked the QR code. It, too, seems still, even on a Sunday.

I continue along the path, until I emerge right outside the Fine Arts Museum (the Kunstmuseum): the perfect place for a happy little accident, as the Internet would say. Speaking of coincidences; I believe I’ve spotted a sculpture that was on a postcard you sent to your parents back when you visited Greece in college.

This thing hung on your parents refrigerator for years, decades even.

The stops aren’t that far apart from each other, and it’s not long before I find myself at Barfusserplatz. There’s no point in trying not to look like a tourist; I hardly know where to begin looking.

There’s a kiosk by the station, and I’m reminded that Miss Joan asked for some postcards (and I had intended on getting some from every place we stopped. Turns out, I’m just going to have to get her a bunch of postcards from around here); At least that’s one person’s souvenir request I can fulfill. Eventually.

But since I am at a tram station, I figure I might as well hop a #6 (and no Blazing Saddles jokes, honey – now isn’t the time for it) and ride it back to the hotel, where I have Wi-Fi, and can load your letter up with all these pictures, before going back out there for another set.

I also need to grab a cookie or two, since it’s still another half hour before any of the restaurants or shops open. My goodness, but it takes forever for things to start happening here.

Back out on the street, I contemplate visiting one of the local churches – after all, there certainly are plenty of them. I even go so far as to step inside the… narthex, would it be? only to realize that the service has started, people are singing hymns… and it’s all in German. I know it’s improper to skip out because ‘I’m not being fed,’ but I seriously don’t see what I can get out of it or give to it with the whole language barrier. I promise myself I’ll be back to the hotel room before six so that I can turn on the computer and watch the eleven o’clock service.

It’s trying desperately to rain, despite the fact that the sun is out in patches as well. It’s all very strange. I duck into a corridor that ends up taking me to the entrance of the city library, apparently.

Another hallway takes me past some artwork displays, before opening up at a fountain. The Christmas tree has a number of wishes upon it; I wonder if they’re meant for Saint Nicholas tomorrow?

Evidently, the kids could only reach up so high.
There’s one up there in English, asking for, among other things, “good times with friends, a healthy family, way more hugs, make more time for reading and knitting, delicious hot chocolate, and better winter books.” I think we would both like this person very much.

Yet another turn takes me down what I think may be more of a residential area. It’s hard to tell, exactly; the only indication is a lack of signage and storefronts.

I can tell what time it is by the sundial on the church; it appears to be 10:30.

My ramblings take me down the stairway marked Kellergasslein,

and eventually drop me by the Schifflande tram stop.

The cars’ wheels screech in protest as they take the turn, scraping against the rail. Well, at least I know where I am, more or less – or, at least, know how to get back from here.

I just wish I could do more than simply window shop. At least I’m not famished or anything. And there’s more statuary to admire.

I find myself walking over the St. Johannes Bridge, for lack of any other destination.

Besides, I now seem to be heading further north, rather than south, where everything is (not that any of it seems to be open). I finally settle myself down in a station to wait for a tram, only to realize I’m about one stop from the hotel at this point – again.

Well, if I’m walking around in circles, at least they’re very large circles.

Anyway, there will be more to report later, I’m sure. I’ll talk to you later, honey, since I think I might as well charge my phone yet again, now that I’m almost back here once more. Take care, and keep an eye out for me.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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