The Weekly Spazieren

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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:

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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.

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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:

20160519_111029I 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.

20160519_111104At 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;

20160519_171943On 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.

20160519_172510It’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.

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14 thoughts on “The Weekly Spazieren

  1. We used to go on planned walks here (alone, but with some literature, and places to check in to prove you did it). It was called volkssporting. That shit’s gotta be German, right?

    I met a family who took old baby doll heads and put them on gnarled branches that had the right amount of limb protrusions to serve as arms and legs. They were creepy and fascinating.

    That pointy eared squirrel looks like he’s surprised because he is being impaled through the stomach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! It’s called Volksmarching here! I’m so glad you mentioned that, because Todd and I were trying to remember that word the other day. Your description jogged my memory. Yeah, it’s the exact same thing–places to check in, etc. But, often the places to check in over here involve a beer stop. 🙂 WOW about the baby doll heads. That does sound creepy and fascinating! Definitely how I felt about the doll shop window. I’ve walked past it a million times and only looked in the window, closely, for the first time this week. And LOL about the squirrel impaled through the stomach! He does, indeed, look that way! I mean, come on Sparkasse–if you’re going to use a squirrel at least let it be one who isn’t in the middle of being impaled! :-)))

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  2. Yes I would agree with mice. And this walking business is exactly what I was hinting at in my other post about having garbage thrown at me for walking. Americans do not walk for pleasure and leisure. Except us, but for sure not enough. Part of that involves having so many kids and having to drag half of them along behind. Not very relaxing. If you are walking here, more than often it is for exercise and more often than that it is folks running. I am not anti-exercise, although my life may look otherwise. I just wish things like a walking group meeting at the local cafe was a THING. Simple pleasures. Thanks for this sweet peek into your life.

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    • You’re so sweet. 🙂 I can’t imagine walking with four kids. It’s hard enough with one, sometimes (i.e. like today, when she suddenly wanted OUT of her stroller when we were literally in the middle of a field forty minutes away from home…and she can’t walk yet.) So, with four…wow. I really do like the simple pleasure of walking, and it really did make me smile to hear those teenagers suggesting it. From their appearance, they looked intimidating (all attitude-y and like they might not be too friendly) but then they started talking about walking and were being 100% serious and into it. 🙂

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  3. Checked Shirt Doll looks like a washed-up country singer regretting all her life choices.

    I would buy all of those dolls if only to give them a proper cremation.

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    • Nicely put! 🙂 I’d love to see these dolls in their hey-day. I bet they were beauts in the 1960’s or whenever they were hatched. Poor babes!

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  4. The Romans ate dormice. Whole. They were considered a special treat. This is the only useful thing I ever learned in Latin class, although that might be stretching the definition of “useful”. In Never Cry Wolf Farley Mowat also says he ate nothing but mice for a while to prove wolves could go long stretches eating mice.
    Having said all that my first thought when I saw those things was possums and they’re a pretty unappetizing animal.
    I do kind of dig the doll shop though. It reminds me of the time the younger sister of a friend of mine bought a creepy doll. He called me because he was alone at home and the doll was giving him the creeps. Then while he was talking to me he walked into another room and THE DOLL HAD MOVED AND WAS IN THERE.
    Actually his sister had gotten two.
    Anyway the dolls in the shop bother me less than the “police and prisoner” set although I like it that the prisoner has escaped. He’s running through the toy store yelling “You’ll never get me, Schweinskopf! Hahahahaha!”

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    • I never replied to this?? So sorry! Anyway, your whole first paragraph made me feel pukey. See, I have an all-out phobia of mice and anything that remotely reminds me of mice (and there’s a LOT that falls into that category.) So, the idea of Romans or Mowat or wolves eating them is enough to bring on the stomach flu that is currently circulating in my house. 🙂 As for the doll, that is creepy!! Most dolls really are creepy if you stare at them long enough. Except Barbies. I was the biggest Barbie fan ever and my parents had to pretty much wean me from them when I got to an embarrassing-to-still-be-playing-with-Barbies age. But, as soon as Laken’s ready…I’ll stock up the collection!!! And I’m glad you caught that the prisoner escaped. Isn’t that hilarious? Ah, those Germans. Always mixing it up a bit. :-)))

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    • I’m glad we’re on the same page! Not exactly the bread product that’s going to bring people into the bakery! :-)) Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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  5. So I do remember reading the post quickly, just didn’t get a chance at the time to comment. Ya, definatelly mice and very creepy looking and WTH is up with the dolls. I wonder who was first to say this looks like a good idea for “our” bakery. I’ll mention again that I love your posts that start with “the German word for…” 🙂

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  6. This is so funny! Holy creepy dolls– it’s like Children of the Corn remake in a shop window. Germany has soooo many quirks. I’d walk into stores there and my first thought was always: yikes, why is that for sale?? What market are you targeting? Also Germans and their penchant for always dressing for walking (even when traveling in other countries) made me give them the motto: Hike Happens

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    • I love the way they get all dressed up to go for a walk! It cracks me up! Even today, Todd and I went for a bike ride and spotted lots of people walking/biking and they were all wearing head to toe Jack Wolfskin or whatever, and they all had walking sticks. Todd and I definitely didn’t fit in with our old shorts and T-shirts. 🙂 And stores definitely make me laugh, too. I swear…one day I was at this little market and saw bananas and a pair of men’s shoes on the same shelf. It wasn’t even a joke. :-)) I need to read further into your blog and see if you talk about what brought you to and away from Germany. Do you go in to that at all? I’m looking forward to reading more today. I just need my daughter to take a nap…she is really, really fighting it for some reason! 🙂

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      • Bananas and shoes? Of course! I don’t think I talk about Germany all that much anymore. Your blog just brings back all the cray cray awesomeness of Germania:) I’m in the Navy and I was stationed in Stuttgart for two years

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