The German word for walking is ‘spazieren’ and they’re really into it here. I know walking is a universal pastime, but Germans get all decked out in matching Jack Wolfskin outfits and use walking sticks to navigate the suburbs. It’s definitely on another level, let’s just put it that way.
In fact, on Monday I was waiting for my tram and a teenage girl and boy approached. They were reading an ‘Eppelheim Info’ sheet and the girl said (in German, obviously) “Look! There’s an organized walking group leaving from Cafe Creme tomorrow. Maybe we should check it out!”
I don’t know much, but for some reason I can’t imagine your typical teenager getting so hyped up to go on an organized neighborhood stroll. But, there you have it. (And I think it’s awesome!)
Since I’m on what was supposed to be a paid maternity leave this year, I do my own fair share of ‘spazieren.’ Every day Laken and I take at least one walk around the neighborhood. And, I’m always spying quirky things.
Like this, for example:
This is the display window at a bakery around the corner. At the start of yesterday’s walk, I stopped in to get a pretzel for Laken. As I was buckling her back into the stroller, I noticed this. Now, I don’t know about you–but my first thought was that they were sperm. (But, that could also be because I just wrote a post about fertility.)
Still–no joking–I thought I was looking at a display of bread sperm resting on rocks (eggs?)
Horrified and intrigued, I pulled out my camera and thought, “I have to show Todd!” And now I’ve decided I have to show all of you. I’m going to start sharing some of the pictures I take on my weekly strolls because, well, there’s a lot of quirk in my German mountain town. Feel free to respond with pictures from your own walks. It can be a thing we do on Fridays.
We’ll call it The Weekly Spazieren (though I’m not ready to commit to doing it weekly. Let’s just see what happens.) The only hard rule I’m giving myself is that I have to write this post in one sitting. No edits allowed.
So, back to the picture–what are those creatures? Todd pointed out they can’t be sperm because they have eyes and ears. Good point. He thinks they’re squirrels. I’m not seeing that, either, though. Don’t squirrels have puffier tails?
My friend K. thinks they’re mice. I agree with her, but who wants to eat breaded mice? Does this look appetizing in any way? I asked her this and she reminded me that most Germans think mice are incredibly cute. In fact, whereas Americans refer to their babies as ‘sweetie, pumpkin, baby doll, sugar puff’ etc., Germans like to call them ‘kleine Mause’ (or little mouse.)
Hmm. Anyway, it still didn’t strike me as the most attractive display.
So, as we continued our ‘spazieren’ through town, I decided to check out some other displays and assess their merit. Because, you know, I’m a total display expert now.
My first stop was a doll shop that I always walk by, but have never checked out up close.
The place is always empty, and it was immediately apparent why.
What IS this? I’ll have nightmares about this scene for the rest of my life. It’s hard to figure out what’s most disturbing? Probably the greenish head front and center. Yeah, let me just pick that one up as a Christmas present for someone.
And, notice the doll right next to it appears to have a human face, but is otherwise wooly–like a lamb.
If you’re trying to sell dolls, I’m not sure a severed head and baby/lamb composite is going to draw the buyers in? Again, despite my earlier claim, I know next to nothing about sales…but surely this isn’t the best set up? Here’s another view from the window:
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. It’s the doll in the checked white and blue shirt. There’s no way that’s something as harmless as a doll. That thing is laughing at us, and if we go in there it’s going to come alive like the demon it really is and suck our blood. (I like the sideways glance the doll to the right with the afro and flamenco dress is giving it. She’s posing pretty, but knows the deal.) And, how about the blank stare of the doll behind the demented dog? He has a story to tell, and it isn’t pretty.
So many levels of scary in this window display. Who’s going in there to shop? I dare you.
At least here we have a familiar face. Ken we know. Ken we like. But Ken’s wearing a dusty jacket and sitting in a wagon. He’s holding the reins to a horse with a steel collar that has chains dropping from it. Something about this seems cruel? Beastial? It could have something to do with Barbie sitting to his left looking like she just had her neck snapped.
I decided to leave the window for obvious reasons. Fear being one of them.
For several blocks, I didn’t see anything worth taking a picture of until I came across this building;
On one hand I think it’s interesting looking; it looks like the house got swallowed by a garden . It was taken in and ingested whole, like snakes do to mice. But, I’m also of the opinion that a little goes a long way. That’s just a whole lot of ivy going on there. (Is that ivy? I’m the opposite of a green thumb.)
The final display I checked out was at my bank.
It’s a little sign encouraging people to work with the bank on a pension fund. I get the metaphor. But, and maybe I’m alone in this, I think that’s the scariest squirrel I’ve ever seen. Its ears are just a too pointy to be domesticated. (Of course, I find squirrels terrifying to begin with. When I was a kid I was standing outside on my porch and literally watched one fall out of a tree and land on my neighbor.)
Traumatic incident aside, I’d just be hard pressed to be drawn into something–be it a store, a restaurant, a pension scheme, whatever–by a squirrel.
But maybe I’m alone in that.
So, that’s it for this week’s spazieren but in the meantime I’ll leave you with a toy my friend K. saw in a display window in Schwetzingen (Asparagus Capital of the World if you read my last post.)
If anyone’s looking for hours of fun, just send me a a check and I’ll buy it for you.