We enjoyed another fairly quiet Osnabrueck day. Kai has a bit of a cold and wanted to just stay home and sleep in, but Mark and I walked downtown and back (about a 5-mile walk total, and mostly familiar sights for both of us. Our path downtown took us past the botanical gardens, where new plants fascinated us–a primrose species that has its blooms arranged on a sort of wheel with spokes, and fern leaves in the process of unrolling–and past a statue that we’d never noticed before, called “Liars.” Mark said it reminded him of American politics. We walked to the old town city center, where we’ve been many times, and peeked into the two churches that were at the center of town in medieval times, each with their own market square, but only two blocks from each other. The Cathedral (“Osnabruecker Dom”), founded in the 8th century looks like it’s always looked the way it does now, and some parts of it (like the door with its hand-wrought hinges that Mark photographed) are very old. But it was actually. built, rebuilt, and added onto many times, including after WWII, when it incurred substantial damage in one of the many bombing raids. Osnabrueck was pretty heavily bombed and 65% destroyed, which is hard to imagine now. The loss of life was relatively small (under 2,000 people), because of the ubiquitous air raid shelters–we learned today that they held up to 100,000 people and that some of them are still around, although hard to find.
Our way through downtown led us through the pedestrian shopping district, including a store with super-creepy child mannequins (we took a photo for the record), and past the other two churches beyond what would have been the earliest city walls, but within the post-medieval city limits, and then past the 18th-century palace that was the residence of the ruler of the region and is now part of the university, the courtyard full of bicycles, since the semester is still in session. We walked home through Katharinenstrasse, the “bike-only” street that my mother loves so much, and we actually took the side street that has her new apartment building on it before stopping for a coffee and a “Coke Zero.”
We got home a little before 1 pm, and I made leftover lunch since my mom was putzing around in her beautiful garden. Mark took a great pic of the kitchen (which I’ll miss when my mom moves) and of her back yard, which is one of my favorite places on earth. My mom and I went for a quick run to the Aldi (I brought back a supply of German candy for Kai to cheer him up, as well as some cake for the ritual of afternoon coffee), and Mark and I napped but set an alarm, after yesterday’s 2-hour nap that got us all groggy. After coffee, we tried for a walk, but there was a thunderstorm brewing, so we came back home and watched the storm from a dry spot (in Southern Germany, the rain storms caused major flooding and even some deaths, as we found out on the evening news). We had our usual bread-and-cold-cuts dinner, and then took our walk, with Kai in tow, through a park, past farms and fields of grain (not amber waves, but a very pale green), and past a playground where the kids used to play on previous visits. Everything is very lush and almost jungly after all the rain, and every walk we’ve taken has been a pleasure because of that. We came home around 9:30, when it was still light, and wrapped up the day with blogging.