Friday, May 10, 2024

The Website Doesn't (Usually) Mean What You Think It Means

Greetings from Barbarossa Strasse in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where for once we’re actually supposed to be where we’re supposed to be when we’re supposed to be.

And that’s a good thing.

We’ll be here for the next couple of days, exploring a place in Germany we’ve not visited before but one that drew us (well, Loraine) in for a particular reason and one that captured us (well, me) with something that I grew up with.

To explain the first part of it, here a website that does not mean what you first might think it means–

Whenever you see the initials “FCK” around here it’s referring to the local soccer team, FC Kaiserslautern.  They were one of the original teams in the Bundesliga, and while they’ve fallen on hard times recently, this month they’re playing for the championship of the DFB Pokal, a year-long tournament where all the teams in Germany, regardless of size, play for a true national championship (our team, RB Leipzig, has won it the past two years but was knocked out this year in the third round).  FCK will be taking on Bundesliga champs Bayer Leverkusen, a team that (literally) has not lost a match all year, while FCK itself is languishing near the bottom of Germany's second division, so it’s a true David & Goliath battle.

Not that’s stopped Kaiserlautern’s soccer crazed fans.  Everywhere you go you see statues of players and fans old–

And stickers new–

One interesting thing is that FCK’s stadium, named after their legendary player Fritz Walter, is on top of a mountain that overlooks the city.  I’m not kidding–you walk a half a mile up a very steep hill from our hotel, and then you tackle these stairs–

And you’re greeted by a stadium that actually hosted a match or two when Germany welcomed the World Cup back in 2006-

Loraine’s favorite Leipzig player, Willi Orban, was born in K-Town (as the young lady who checked us into the hotel called it) and played his first few years in that very stadium, so for her it was hallowed ground to walk upon (and to buy a few things from their fan shop)).  Now let’s just hope the Red Devils do well in the Pokal.

That’s one thing K-Town has going for it. The other, the one that’s near & dear to my heart?  Sandstone buildings–

I know; I’m a sandstone architecture freak.  But I grew up around them, and I geek out just a little (okay, a LOT) when I see them anywhere else.  We had an idea that we might see a few of the buildings when we were driving into town and saw an actual working sandstone quarry–

I’ve told many stories about the historic sandstone quarries in Marquette, but until today I’ve never had the chance to see one still in use.  It was neat, and it provides the stone for many local buildings–

Plus two beautiful cathedrals made out of the local stone–

Just like at home, some of the details in the sandstone carvings are incredible–

While unlike at home, some of the old sandstone buildings are put to a slightly...different kind of use–

Well…Americans have to be known for something, right?  Oh, wait, apparently we’re exporting some of our best forms of art over here, as well–

That’s about it.  I’ll leave you with a few more pictures, including K-Town’s pedestrian shopping street–

A VERY interesting kind of chocolate that I’m almost a little too afraid to try–

And, finally, today’s example of German absurdity, two things I would never ever have considered putting together yet they sell in a local store as a combo pack–

Tomorrow, we spend a few minutes in a different country.  But unlike Thursday’s stop in England, this one was actually planned in advance.  Details on Saturday.


1 comment:

  1. I envy you for making this trip to Germany and I adore you for writing this blog