Updated: Mar 10
We fought hard to get out of bed this morning. Told Theresa we’d be out and about by eight but were liars until nine. Between the hard wire frame and my brain’s inability to adjust to change, I don’t think I got to sleep until three or four. Being in the moment is hard for me; I wish that were different. Once dressed, we started our day with eggs, granola, and coffee at a cute café. While Germans do many things well, coffee is not one of them. I’ll die on that hill.
The roads were a bit of a hazard since they were still covered in ice, and no one seemed interested in either shoveling or salting. If you had a disability here, you’d be fucked. Everyone else seemed accustomed to it. We wandered around this iced-over park and watched this guy wakeboard on a run-off river despite the signs that told him not to – it was sick. While wandering, we stumbled across a small Christmas market. Was it too early for mulled wine? Yes, so I had a hot chocolate instead. I wish I had gotten the wine.
My disappointment was eased by a smoked salmon sandwich, which I could honestly eat every day for the rest of my life. At this point in the story, the shopping spree sequence starts. I imagine us visiting knick-knack stalls and drinking wine was scored to KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See.” When my feet started to hurt somewhere during the third chorus, which made me a grumpy traveling companion while waiting for Richie to explore a sheet music store. A good thing about being with people who know you well is that they realize when you are on the edge. Theresa kindly suggested we find a place to eat or drink.
We didn’t get very far. While strolling along at a glacial pace, my gaze was caught by a flash of gold (I’m basically a magpie). Through a tunnel of construction scaffolding, I saw some sort of altar, which was an opportunity not to be missed. Inside was the smallest, most beautiful chapel I’d ever seen. Someone had turned on a boombox to play operatic hymnals, which set the mood. A woman was also handing out these cute glass candle holders with a script that Theresa translated: “Give this candle to someone who lights your way.” The sculptures of life and death? Divine.
The way I cried. No matter how I feel about church now, I still think there are holy places so full of prayer, hope, and despair that it’s impossible not to feel it. In a church as old as that, the energy was thick, and it was truly awe-inspiring to be a part of it.
We did not wind up at a restaurant for a long while after that. We found our way to a farmer’s market that was closing up for the day to buy coffee and olives. I rested my feet as I could, enjoying the sight of dried peppers and flowers that were hung in many of the stalls. I thought how nice it would have been to rent an apartment for two weeks and shop for my groceries every morning.
Eventually, we were able to find a place to sit and enjoy some drinks and snacks. The rest was enough to get me through a couple more Christmas markets. We visited a pink market that was supposed to be this huge LGBTQ+ market, but I was honestly underwhelmed. Another thing America does right? Queer pride. Give me drag queens or give me death, honey.
Somewhere after eight or nine, our steps heavy with egg nog, we stumbled back to the hostel and parted ways. As soon as we were back up in our room, I took the longest, hottest bath possible. My apologies to the German people during the energy crisis, but my pain took precedence for the evening. My body is absolutely wrecked. These cobblestone streets were not made with Mary Jane’s in mind. It’s time for some new shoes.