Thursday, October 13, 2016

Driving, Shopping, Parking, Fabric, and The Story of Why I Can't Drive Any More Until Brad Gets Back

It's Thursday, I think! I have been on vacation for 2 weeks which is plenty long enough to forget what day of the week it is.  We left home 2 weeks ago today.  This time has FLOWN by.  I am ready to see all my people (and dogs) but am quite honestly not homesick!!  I just love Germany and the friends we have here, soooo much!

Today was the day I was going to meet up with Ursula, she is Anne's mom.  For anyone reading this who doesn't know, Anne came to us out of the blue due to a very long story....she stayed with us for about 3 weeks when she was 21, 4 years ago.  She is our German daughter, my girl's German sister.  She is VERY special to us!!  We get to see her I got to see her parents!

First I had breakfast in the hotel.  I slept in today and noticed when you go to breakfast at 9:30, you will not see the restaurant full of business men, but full of tourists.  I finally saw a bunch of women.  Haha

I planned to meet Ursula at the mall that is very near the hotel.  To take the tram would be too long and complicated because the lines don't run that way.  I really needed to drive.  *sigh* It's scary because the road signs are different and the rules are different.  And the roads are barely bigger than the vehicles!  Dudes, I am serious.  On side streets, when a car is coming at you, someone has to pull over and wait because the streets don't fit 2 cars. Yikes!  I decided to make a test run over to Aldi which was only a 2 minute drive.  Just to get back in the saddle.  I haven't driven here for 3.5 years, ya know! I made it, I parked, I shopped, I paid.  I had a little trouble because I didn't have a 1 Euro coin for the shopping cart.  Yep, you need to put a coin in the cart, and you get it back when you bring the cart back and lock it back in to the other carts.  At Lidl, you can use a 2 Euro coin.  But not Aldi.  So I couldn't get a cart.  That was ok because I don't know how to fit all this stuff in our suitcases.  #chocolate

I made my way to the mall next! It is super easy to get there because it's on the same street as the hotel.  Traffic does move a bit fast, though.  But I made it!  Yay! I parked.  OK that sentence is too short and sounds too normal.  Parking spots are also very narrow.  Our rental car is smaller than my car at home.  Quite a bit smaller.  But it's harder to park because of the dang narrow slots.  I had to drive around a bit, passing several spots because there was no way.  I found one with way more room around it than others, but I still had to make a 17 point turn to get into it.

OK into the mall!! I left early so I could find our meet up spot and look around.  As I was on the escalator, I was worried about the parking pass and if it was right.  (I thought I should have a paper one, but it spit out a card at me, and I was worried I had somehow taken a monthly parking pass or something and would have to pay 50 Euros to get out.)

OMG did I get the right parking pass?
Don't fret.  It was right after all!  And only cost me 6 Euros to park there for several hours.  Whew.

Ursula found me and it was so nice to see her again!! We walked over to the edge of the Altstadt to a little cafe for lunch.  It was so cute!  You know I love the Altstadt.  (Old city.)  It was a tiny little cute place.  I had Maultaschen which is like a veggie-filled ravioli.  Kind of.  Usually I have seen them served whole, but this place cuts them up and sautés them, so they were bite sized.  It was good!

This was the cafe.  So cute!

It was a cool, crisp day. Ok, I was cold.
Another Altstadt canal.  Ursula said there are more canals and bridges in Augsburg than Venice!
We decided to walk over to the nearby museum called TIM. Textile and Industry Museum.  Augsburg used to be HUGE for textiles.  They had tons and tons of factories and made all different kinds of fabric.  They still make some, but sadly, most of the industry suffered when textiles from China became so inexpensive.  Ursula was telling me how they tore down many of the old buildings, and have built apartment buildings in their place.  It's kind of sad.  She was just as knowledgable as the museum displays, by the way!  It was a nice walk over there.

These used to all house textile factories.  Most were torn down, these remain and are being fixed up. 
The museum was really cool and interesting! All the signs were in German, though.  I know what you are IS Germany! Yes, but most museums over here have info in English and other languages.  But I had Ursula, and she knew more info than the signs said, anyway!!

Threads used to be made here

There were many hands-on exhibits.  This one had flax, hemp, cotton, and silk to touch.

One of many big, old machines
Big, old machines with a photo of many big, old machines as they used to be

They have a few that still operate and they make things here like towels, some clothing, socks

This was a giant dress, and the fabric swatches came from old books of fabric samples.
This was fun! It was a giant dress form and you controlled the "fabrics" on the dress by clicking on what you wanted on this computer.  
This was a silk screened fabric from long ago
There was a display of cool clothing made by fashion designers that attend a fashion school in Munich.  I got a few pics of my faves.  But most of this room was very dark.  The displays had just a tiny bit of light, and the bigger lights would come on.  We thought at first they came on when you walked close to the displays, but then it seemed more random.  I literally couldn't see certain things because of the darkness.  #Germany (I mean, they are serious about energy conservation! They turn off some traffic lights at night, even....that was interesting to find out....)
It's a wedding Dirndl!!!

I LOVED this dress. Wish the pic came out better.  It was gorgeous.
We got to fake try some on!

Check out this amazing pant suit!!

A cool "underwater" display
It was a small museum, but very interesting!  I really enjoyed it.  I think my girls would have like it a lot.  There were more cool displays, but the pics are not turning out very well.

After the museum, we went back to the city and the Altstadt.

I can't get enough of it.
 We went over to the big Cathedral.  I have been inside before, and sadly, it was with Brad's Dad who passed away a few months ago.  It was bittersweet to go inside, thinking of being there with him and Brad's step-mom.  Tomorrow is his birthday as well....

It's an OLD and gorgeous place!  Ok are you ready for of this church are from 200 - 300 AD.  Wrap your brain around that one....

Ursula, the Queen of Augsburg History, says these doors used to stand open in Roman times and carriages would ride right through the church! These are huge, by the way.

Knock knock...

Interesting sculpture...
So beautiful.
These pieces are from 200 AD when the church was built.  They may be replicas....I am not sure
Across the street are the government offices for the region of Swabia.  Beautiful building!

Next we walked back through the Altstadt to get to the mall to head home.

A bridge over a large part of the canal

This part of the canal was rushing by and goes right under the buildings and street
This is inside a small theater/restaurant.  It's a grate where you can see the water rushing by.

This one is just outside the Altstadt. 
This was a circus tent with lots of trucks and's a traveling Shakespeare play! So cool.  
We got back to the mall and went to our separate homes, and planned to meet back up for dinner later.  I laid down a bit to rest my aching feet.  When I got back, I got lucky and my same parking spot was open. Why is this good? Because it was one of a very few that do NOT have a pole next to them.  Narrow spot + pole = bad news.  So, YAY me!

Went to dinner at the Schlachthof.  This means slaughterhouse.  Not kidding.  I have eaten in 4 (former) slaughterhouses this trip!  Himmelgrün, Kälberhalle, Nachtstallung, and now this one.  It was good....a very American style menu.  I had a cheeseburger!!

Beef/ground beef....these are not so common here.  And you rarely see a burger on the menu.  I gave it a try.  It wasn't bad!  I liked it.  Certainly I have had many better burgers, but I give props to these Germans for this one!  It even had a Thousand Island type of sauce on it.  Ursula's husband Anton was at dinner as well.  It was also great to see him again! We three had a very fun evening catching up!  Ursula brought Anne's wedding album for me to look at...I kept getting teary-eyed!  Our baby has grown up!!  Lainie went to the wedding last summer, so she was in some pics.

I seriously am getting all teary again looking at this!
This "desk" is an old butcher table from the slaughterhouse.  Sorry, vegetarians.  It has many knife cuts still in it.  They did a great job getting the blood out, though.
By the way, there is no parking lot at this restaurant.  You just park on the street.  Ha, yeah right. Even if there was a spot open, me and parallel parking do not mix.  And in Germany? HA!  I had to park in the other restaurants' lot.  Next to poles....another 17 point turn to get in.

I almost forgot a picture of the 3 of us, so it's grainy and dark!

Such great people!
I drove home, so easy.  This is the same area we walked to our first 2 nights.  It's too cold and dark and I am too alone to have walked tonight.

So guess what? NO parking spots at the hotel now.  None.  Not even one by a pole.  I had to park next door at the car repair shop and go in to the hotel and ask the desk clerk where I can park.  Apparently, there is a parking garage under the hotel.  Who knew? He says "here is the key" and I assume it's to enter to the building once I am in the garage.  Maybe there is a locked door for safety.  I pull around to the back of the hotel and see the STEEEEEEP driveway down.  Hmmm. OK.  I drive down and turn the corner to go in and there is a big door.  Closed.  Hmmm.  OK.  I reverse up the super steep driveway, with a curve.  Let me tell you Americans something.  German cars beep.  A lot.  When your car is near anything.  Behind you, in front of you, even next to you!!  My car is beeping it's freaking beeper off.  But it doesn't tell you what you are close to, on which side.  Just beeps.  And I have to give it a LOT of gas to make it up the steep hill.  I finally get there, after backing up, inching forward to straighten out, backing up....did I mention the steep driveway also curves? Yeah. I did. You can't even see this door from the top.  So I am back at the top.  And I notice a small thing with a lock.  I stick the key in there and I can hear the big garage door opening.  A green light comes on in a minute and I drive back down the steeeeep driveway.  And turn the 180 degree turn at the bottom.  There are maybe 8 parking spots, and 6 have POLES.  There were 2 straight ahead, and I of course chose one of those.  They had no poles.  But let me tell you, People, there is NO WAY on God's green German earth that I can back that car out of there.  Forget those 17 point turns.  This would have to be a 439 point turn.  And even then, I am not sure.  I would also like to note that it is creepy down there.  CREEEEEPY.  I was scared out of my gourd.  There are also about 4 doors, and the one that leads to the hotel was the last one I saw.  But whew, I made it!  Good thing I am taking the tram tomorrow to meet Ursula again.  And hey Brad, come home soon....I have a surprise for you!  Bahahahaha!

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