One Last Walk Around

Dearest Rachel –

When I got back to the hotel yesterday, after standing, exhausted, in the middle of Marktplatz, and settled in to update you on my travels for the morning, it was at that moment the sun deigned to stick his head out. I swear the old boy was mocking me. But it just goes to prove that I’m burning daylight by stopping to write you about these things. And yet, there’s so much to talk about, even given how little ground I’ve covered.

I resolved to only send you four letters a day at most while I was on these travels; otherwise, when I get home, I’m going to look like a piker. So, I’ve saved these comments to tide you over while I’m on my flight back home, as I’ll have little time, ability or stuff to write about to merit your attention from then on out. Sorry; life is just going to go back to its old boring self, and you know something? I’m kind of looking forward to it.

That, and a good deep dish pizza. Some things, you just don’t eat when you’re abroad. They make getting home all that much nicer.

Anyway, my last trip out. This is the one that ended with a somewhat fruitless trip through Migros, ending up at the Star Grill for that Donner Box. But there was a lot of walking going on before that.

I’d sort of made a habit of going just beyond the shopping and eating districts, and working my way back on foot. And while I didn’t get as much walking in today as yesterday (twelve thousand steps versus fourteen), I think I was more sore this evening than I had been the night before. I was hoping this would translate to being tired and sleepy, as well.

But having already gone past Barfusserplatz several times, and knowing there wasn’t much beyond there worth checking out, I decided to stop where I knew my way, so I could get back by the time things got dark, and sleep the night away. And every time I’m there, I see something else I hadn’t noticed previously, but probably should have.

I mean, it’s as big as a house. And yes, I’m still feeling a little pain from the mistletoe that has no value to me anymore.

At this point, I am also trying to go down routes where the tram line isn’t, so I can see things I missed while riding. And well the walkway to Marktplatz is by now plenty familiar…

There’s a new edition in Marktplatz Square. I’m afraid I missed them putting the tree up, but I can’t be everywhere at once. I will say, at the moment I got there, the last of the food kiosks were closing up and driving off, so now I know how that works; they’re glorified food trucks. I really hadn’t seen that coming, as they seemed more… permanent… than that, and I couldn’t figure out how they were gone so fast from when I’d seen them last week to Sunday.

En route the Schifflande, I took another footpath, and found myself by a toy store, one that might conjure up memories of that little place in Bergen.

The display in the window had a Playmobil type set up, complete with working cable car (because Switzerland, and ski resorts). Daniel would’ve loved it at a certain age; I know he’s outgrown that sort of thing, and I’m kind of sad about it. On the other hand, there is a certain point where you’re supposed to grow up. Granted, you never found it.
And like the place in Bergen, there was one of those circular staircases leading to a second level of toys and games. As with so much else, there is no one to buy anything for, so this was probably wasted effort. It’s just another thing to add to my melancholy.

Actually, that’s not quite true. I found something little and cute that I think Daniel will enjoy, but it does mean I have to leave it out of the pictures, just in case he sees this. It makes no sense define something like this here in Basil, but I do hope he likes it, regardless.

By the Schifflande stop, there was a footpath leading upwards,

but just as I began to make my way up, an English-speaking couple behind me erupted in excitement, and I had to turn around.

And am I glad I did. Look who’s arrived at the Schifflande stop.
Yes indeed, it’s old Saint Nicholas. And there’s kids clamoring to get on the tram with him.
I’m afraid I’m too old to join them, but I do take a picture of him as he drives off. I doubt he has what I want (and think I need) in that bag of his, anyway.

Once the jolly old elf takes off, I make my way across the river.

Complete with the sun sparkling over the Rhine for the first time since I landed here.

I notice a small guard house in a niche halfway across.

I think the legend is that, by leaving a lock here, they’re hoping to come back another time. I think they had a similar thing going in San Antonio, but I forget the details. Either that, or it has to do with showing the permanence of one’s love for another. And I’m not feeling like thinking about that right now.

I find the place where the advent festival is set up; you know, the one with all the restaurant kiosks? But it doesn’t seem to be running.

It turns out that, during the week, this doesn’t open until five p.m. And here I am, hoping to be back at the hotel and asleep before then.
Further down the street, there’s a decoration, complete with the legend that translates to ‘Christmas the way we love it.’ And… is that the logo of the Carson’s/Bergner’s department store chain? Didn’t they disappear like, a decade ago?
Oh, and wouldn’t you know it, but the only example I could find of Black Peter is there an American donut shop. There he is, at the bottom of that sign in the Dunkin’ Donuts window. Guess we Yanks really are the racist ones.
Just off of Claraplatz was this stand of Christmas trees; the sale begins today.

So basically, I continue walking (with stops that I’ve already told you about for dinner) all the way back. By the time it even occurs to me to get on the tram, I’m halfway between the last stop at Claraplatz and the point where I’d have gotten off at Clarastrasse, so there I was.

At one point, crossing the last street before the hotel, I see a line of cars trying to cross, but dealing with a bunch of pedestrians surrounding me. Said pedestrians nonchalantly move forward, with little regard to the cars waiting on the other side of Claraplatz. It occurs to me that this is a fantastic place for someone who travels on foot, or by bicycle, but a ridiculous place to bother owning a car. Although, to be fair, aren’t most big cities like that?

Guess I have to visit a few more to prove that to myself. Well, it isn’t as if I don’t have time. Still, I wish you were with me to do so.

Anyway, I have a flight to catch, and some sleep to grab before that. I’ll talk to you later. In the meantime, remember I love you.

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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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