Sunday, May 12, 2024

Sunday, Quiet Sunday

Be wery, wery quiet…we’re hunting Sundays in Germany.

Greetings from another gorgeous 80 degree day (the last, sadly, before rain moves in) in Kaiserslautern.  And since it’s Sunday, a day when you legally can’t make a lot of noise (with things like a leaf blower) in Germany (so people can, you know, enjoy their day off), we did what all Germans did–

We took to the great outdoors.

First of all, lest you believe I’m joking about the quiet laws in the country, I’m not.  You can get fined if someone complains you’re excessively noisy on a Sunday.  Plus, almost every store here shuts down, leading to this comparison–K-Town's main pedestrian street Friday–

And today–

I know I sometimes exaggerate things for comic effect.  This time, I’m not.

Anyway, like I said, since it’s Sunday and since it’s what might be the last really nice day of our trip (more on that later) we spent it outside.  First stop?  The Hauptfriedhof.  You know, the cemetery–

The cemetery here is huge, and we wanted to visit for two particular reasons.  The first was the Kinder section–

This is where bodies of deceased newborn children of American military members who served nearby were buried from 1953 to 1971.  They were buried here because during those years the US military wouldn’t pay to have their bodies sent back to the States.  Local officials didn’t think that right, so they set up this section, where several hundred deceased infants were buried, including, sadly, several sets of twins–

Since 1971 the US military has, thankfully, seen the error of their ways and now returns newborns for burial back home.  But for several generations of newborns, this is their final resting place.  And we thought they deserved a visit from us.

The other reason we went to the cemetery?  To see where Fritz Walter, the star around whom all local soccer has revolved since the 1950s, was buried.  Now, he’s the most famous person ever to come out of Kaiserslautern, so you’d think there’d be a sign or an arrow or something pointing to where he’s buried, right?

Well, you’d be wrong.

We searched the Hauptfriedhof for what seemed like an eternity, but with no luck.  We noticed a few older ladies talking to each other, so we approached them, and thankfully one of them spoke English.  She pulled out her phone and tried to show us where the grave was, but couldn’t get it to work.  She then said she’d take us part of the way, up to where she was going, and point us on.  While chatting, it seemed apparent that she was more of a fan of the game the way it used to be played, stating (and I’m quoting here) “soccer used to be played from the heart.  Now it’s played for cash”. 

You know what?  She’s not wrong.

Anyway, she got to where she was going and, after consulting with someone nearby, pointed us in the right direction.  A few minutes later…voila–

Our new German grandmother said we couldn’t miss it, and she was right.  After all, how many graves have a statue that people wrap scarves around?

By the way, aside from meeting our new German grandmother, we also met this thing–

Maybe it’s the new German grandmother of the blue salamanders at Presque Isle!

Next stop on this sunny Sunday?  The 1FCK museum, which was closed during the few hours each week it’s supposed to be open.  Never fear, though…we found something more interesting.  Part of the team was actually practicing–

This was actually quite amazing to watch, as players would sprint down the pitch, have a winger feed them the ball, and see if they could get it past the goalie.  The speed at which they did it and the strength with which they kicked (or headed) the ball was astounding.

I can see why they actually get paid to do it.

Because we have done it enough yet this trip, we also spent a (surprisingly large) chuck of the afternoon looking at more (ahem) sandstone buildings, including what’s now an arts center–

An art museum that takes your breath away–

Proof that sandstone architecture here comes from the same era as that in Marquette–

And K-Town’s version of Marquette’s Ridge Street, with stately sandstone homes on a hill overlooking town, complete with sandstone stairway to get from one level to the next–

We even discovered that, unlike Marquette, sandstone work and sandstone carving is still practiced here.  In fact, there’s a portion of the local technical school where prospective artists get a little training–

It’s a lost art back home.  Here, they’re training the next generation.  How cool is that?  Speaking of cool–

After a hot day of walking around, we treated ourselves to ice cream.  Those are my three scoops–dark chocolate, crunchy Nutella, and, way down at the bottom, mascarpone & pistachio.  

Yes, it tasted as good as it looked.  Speaking of which, Loraine & I had our traditional Italian dinner date an hour or so after eating the ice cream (don’t judge), where I had gnocchi with a gorgonzola cream sauce–

While here’s her Rigatoni Casa, pasta & ham & mushrooms in a tomato cream sauce–


I won’t even mention what we had for dessert, just a few hours after eating ice cream.  After all, I want you to think we’re actually healthy people MOST of the time.  You know…people like this–

A few more pictures.  First of all, remember when I said the Fritz Walter Stadion, the local stadium, is up on a hill?  From K-Town’s version of Ridge Street, here’s proof I wasn’t kidding–

Have you seen this cat?

And look–someone actually believes in truth in advertising laws–

Finally, both an update from and something I forgot to mention yesterday.  Recall how Loraine had that bad experience in Saarbrucken where they wouldn’t take her credit card?  Well, she woke up in the middle of the night and realized something.  The woman working there, in very broken English, had said something about a “Euro Cash Card”, which Loraine doesn’t have.  She’s now wondering if, just perhaps, that was the shop lady’s way of saying “debit card”, which Loraine DID have on her but didn’t think to use.

If that was the case, Loraine wants the world to know that it may not have been the fan shop’s fault.  It was just a simple communication glitch.  And sadly, the shop is closed on Mondays, which prevents us from going back tomorrow and trying it again.

Lastly, the story I forgot to relay.  While driving back from France yesterday we were passed at a high rate of speed by a car from a local driving school, which then whipped in front of us, slowed down, and then whipped over another lane in order to get an exit off the Autobahn.  We laughed a bit, wondering what kind of teenager was behind the wheel for perhaps their first lesson.

We laughed even harder when we saw it was a nun, in full habit, learning how to drive.


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