Always Wear Black Socks

"Mannheimer Strasse, Viernheim, Germany"
August 13, 2006

"Quinn Trying to Fit In"
August 13, 2006

"The Path We Walked Today"
August 13, 2006



August 12, 2006 0950 hours - Kantstrasse K4, Viernheim, Germany

Thanks George

It was bound to happen. I knew it would but, I wanted to keep it as far from me as possible. Last night we felt the "sting" of being outsiders. Of being Americans and of not understanding this culture.

We were visiting one of our favorite restuarants (so far), after meeting with the current renters of our house, and we had a "reality check" experience. Here's what happened:

It was about 8PM and we wanted to get something to eat. The Alteus Brauhaus was less than five minutes from the house and we decided to go for some of that great raspberry/vanilla ice cream and schnitzel. We walked in the resturant and we were greeted by the barmaid, "Abend", we replied, "Abend". It was so nice last night we wanted to sit outside. In Germany, like most European countries, people prefer outside to inside (weather permitting). We found a table and sat down. There were a lot of people sitting outside. Most of them were having drinks. Not too many were eating. My daughter worried that we were crashing a family reunion or something. I told her not to worry, it will be fine. 

The waitress came to the table and asked us what we wanted. In terrible German we said, "One Pils and two Spezis, please" I suppose that clued her into the fact that we were American (as if they couldn't tell from our dress and mannerisms already). She returned with our drinks and never said another word. We waited for 45 minutes and could never get her attention again. She served everyone else around us and we became invisble.
My American attitude wanted to tell her off, my "you're in another country" attitude wanted to humbly exit the place with myt tail tucked between my legs. We chose the latter. We had to go inside to pay our 7 Euros for the drinks. Again, she never came back to the table! The language barrier is terrible. If I would have known how to say, "Frau, Speiskarte bitte" life would have been much easier.. I think. I wonder if we were ignored because we didn't communicate well enough or that we were who we are? I think it's the latter but hope it's the previous.
It was both humilating and frustrating. If you've ever been in Europe, you know how long it takes to have dinner here. When you are hungry and tired, it gets complicated.


Photos & Beer

Less than a 10 minute walk from our hotel is the Rhine Neckar Zentrum. A huge mall-like area with everything fruit and meat stores to shoe stores. They had an exhibit going from the World Photo Press. It was amazing! How lucky am I to be living in a place where this is so common? I feel very blessed!
Some of the most moving images for me were these from a Dutch photographer, Martin Roemers. He did a story on soldiers and people from WWII in Europe (David's idea, a great one!). Beautiful, powerful images!

My new favorite beer. While in the Rhine Neckar Zentrum, we checked out a resturant called, "Le Buffet." We had an excellent meal and I found a dunkel hefe bier (dark) from Paulaner. Excellent!! (But can you find a bad beer in Germany??)


Long Words & Furry Houses

We are having fruit and ice cream tonight and I noticed this German word on the lid of the fruit. Although the English word for "preservitives" is quite long, the German word has a certain look about it that makes it appear like an alphabet:

Unbelieveably good ice cream! I was never really a fan of ice cream, German ice cream has made me change my mind.

A house next to us near KantStrasse.. you'll see these everywhere, I really like them!