Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Performance Art at the Museum

Rain today.

Took the bus to the center of town to get some tourist passes at the tourist info office.  The purchaser of said pass is entitled to free entry to all of the museums and can ride gratis on all of the public transportation around Bonn.  Sounds like a good deal and I bought three on the suggestion of the tourist people in the office.  I didn't do the math before purchase, but it turns out that the pass is just barely a deal and more of a hassle if you consider that the tourist office is out of the way from the place where most of the museums are.

Anyway, armed with the pass we went to the Konig Museum which is the natural history spot around here.  It was nice, but nobody was jumping up and down.  Saw some cool video of Inuits doing their thing and the requisite number of stuffed birds and animals.

From there we walked down to the river and passes a piece of the Berlin wall.  That may have been the coolest thing all day.  An artist funkified the thing and I will take the time at some point to translate what is on there.

Our last stop was the art museum.  There were some nice pieces there and we had a nice time talking about the works and making up titles for them.  There was hardly anyone else in the museum which might have made it a slow day for the gallery guards, but did they ever dog us there.  They weren't just present but followed you around, stared you down and were completely stone-faced when you met their eyes.  I felt like I was either in some strange performance art piece or in some Kafka book.  A couple of them seriously watched us by turning their heads around corners.  In an another room two guards watched us.  I waved at one.  Scowl.  I said hello in German.  Nod.  I finally asked if there was something wrong.  "Is everything ok?"  They said yes.  Strange.

In general, I would have to say that this country is one of the most oppressive feeling of any I have been.  It may not actually be true, but it feels dark and unhappy.  Indeed, the only smiles one sees are on billboards and advertisements on the subway.  So much for truth in advertising.

We have just thrown our cucumber away given the e. coli scare here.  Thank goodness our tomatoes are from the Netherlands.

More tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Warm Weather and Attitude

We slept in this morning owing to the one hour time difference and exhaustion.  I went over to the bakery across the street to pick up some bread and things for breakfast and was immediately met with attitude.  I said good morning to the woman behind the counter when we walked in and she immediately asked what we wanted.  I gestured to my watch and smiled saying we would need some time.  When we were ready I pointed and tried to pronounce the name of the thing we wanted and she got all huffy and said something feeling like, "I don't understand what you are telling me."  Could be, but a little help may be in order. Excuse me if your language thinks its cool to have words for everyday things that are in excess of 26 letters, but...   Yukky encounter.  The guy at the tourist information office was the same way.  This conversation was in English but he was certainly a sourpuss and at one point looked at me and said in a pouty and insulting way, "I just told you where that place was." Or something like that.

After breakfast, we walked into town, got lost a couple of times, but eventually made it.  We had lunch in the square, got ice cream and hit the church.  We got on the tram for the park, but baled on that when I realized everyone was hot and tired.  We got the bus and made it back to the institute.  Once here, we got a tour of the place and among the things we saw was Paolo's huge paper-polyhedra collection.  The figures are quite large and hang from the ceiling in his office.  Click here to see the polyhedra.

Bonn is cool, but it is not lighting it up.  Sort of like a cross between Osaka, Antwerp and Rotterdam.  We have plans tomorrow to go to some of the museums - they were closed today.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arrived In Bonn

Getting late here.

We arrived no problem this afternoon and did so having seen many things along the way.  Yesterday we stopped at a pretty nice National Trust property on the way to Hull and today we went to the "Three Land Point" where Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands all meet.  After that we stopped in Aachen and stopped at a church there that not only has Charlemagne's remains, but Jesus' loincloth is said to be there too.

The apartment here is nice and after a dinner of pizza down the street we are ready for bed.

I'll post photos tomorrow.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bonn Tomorrow

We leave for Bonn tomorrow and by all accounts we should be headed into sunshine.  The 79 degree temperatures that are forecast for Sunday (our arrival day) will be something that we have not experienced for nearly 10 months.  Sure, we had some nice days in April here, but despite sun and no wind, the temperatures were probably only in the mid-60's.

Our route is as follows -  Drive to Hull, which is straight east of us here and two hours away.  We just have to make it there by 7:30 when the ferry doors close.  The Barcelona/Man U game starts at 7:45, so I hope to be checked in way before 7:30.  From Hull, we have an all night ride and we will see how all of us do in the sleeper we have reserved.  Hopefully the sea is calm and we don't need to go about collecting all the sickness bags we can as we needed to do on the ferry to Dublin.  We arrive in Rotterdam at 9 am and then head for Bonn.  We may take a detour to Aachen which is a town near a border point where The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany come together.  At 250 meters or so, it is the highest point inn The Netherlands.  We went there a few years ago and it is an interesting spot.

I checked out a couple of websites about Bonn today and they are all in German.  Imagine that.  The language barrier may be tough.  We'll see.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Andrea's Birthday

It's Andrea's birthday today and she now enters into a three-month period within which she is numerically older than me.  Not sure if that's how you say that, but...

She is freshly back from a couple of days in Paris with a friend and she reports that summer is, indeed, happening on the continent.  When she got off of the plane in France, the friend that met here there wondered why she was wearing tights.  Andrea explained that the average high temperature for the past three weeks here has been 57 degrees.  Woah.  

After picking her up at the airport we went to a veggi restaurant in Manchester to open presents and eat black pudding.  Well, I wanted to eat the black pudding - no one else cared.  By definition, black pudding is made from blood, so this was, of course, not black pudding.  It wasn't very good.  At least it wasn't as good as real black pudding.  Not sure why vegetarian places insist on trying to mimic meat.  It is never as good as the real thing and it feels weird.  Can't really explain why it feels weird, it just does.  Hey, it you want to serve bacon, serve bacon.

We leave on Saturday for Germany.  Drive to Hull.  Ferry to Rotterdam.  Drive to Bonn.  I tried to get some books at the library today about Bonn and Germany.  No luck.  There are around 25 books on Prague, but only 2 on Germany.  Hope the tourist office people in Bonn speak English.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer is Over

We had a brilliant April.  Sunny.  Warm.  Dry.  During the nice weather and 3-hour drying times on the laundry line, folks kept telling us to enjoy it while we could as summer in the British Northwest comes in April and is gone by the middle of March.  We laughed.  We smiled.  We wondered why everyone (everyone!) said the same thing.  

It sort of reminded me of what we used to tell folks when we left Oregon and traveled out in the hinterlands.  We would agree with folks that Oregon was nice, but then we would complain about the weather.  Rain! Cold! Clouds!  Heaven knows that the last thing Oregon needed in the early to mid '90's was more people and we were just doing our part.  We know now that despite our best efforts, we failed and folks moved there anyway.  Oh well.

But back to summer in Cheshire.

Looks like "everyone" was right.  Summer is gone and we now have some fallish/springish thing.  The sun may shine, but it mostly doesn't, and even if it does the temperature doesn't seem to get above 60.  It's strange.  Really strange.  Note the winter jacket in the photo I took just last week.

We can still experience a 3-hour drying time on the laundry line, but not because of the sun.  It's the wind that does the drying, and as long as everything stays off of the ground, it dries.

Come on weather, my man-pris want out of the closet.