Apart from waking up way too early, at 4:30 am (when the birds were starting to sing, since we are only less than 3 weeks away from midsummer and it gets light very early), we really didn’t feel very jet-lagged at all. We putzed around for a bit in the morning, after a lovely German breakfast for which we bought our own rolls at 7 am). Then we went off to purchase SIM cards for our phones at the Aldi, so we can have phone and data access while we are here. And even though that got a bit more complex than we thought necessary, we did get ourselves set up, and for cheap, too. Even with a few days of extra Switzerland data access, we spent under 30 euro each for four weeks of connectivity. We also went downtown to wander around a little and buy a few other necessities, and just to be on our feet for a bit. But it was a quiet day—we had a light lunch at a food court downtown, and later dinner with Imke, who had made a lovely soup and salad, and a fruit tiramisu that counts among my favorite desserts.
We also went for a second little walk with Imke as well, just down to the nearby university campus (formerly the residence of the regional ruler and therefore still called the „palace“ („Schloss“). There was a band playing brass instrument plus rap playing outside the student pub, and we sat and listened for a while. Then we went home through Imke‘s the neighborhood, which is full of gorgeous Art Deco and gilded age townhomes and generally so well kept up that a dilapidated house we discovered really stood out. It turned out it had an especially sad history—the Jewish family that had it built in Bauhaus style was deported and murdered by the Nazis, and the last scion of the „Aryans“ to whom it was „transferred“ stopped the upkeep about 15 years ago, rather than to sell it to the city, which has intentions to restore it. So now it has broken doors and windows, rotting furniture visible inside, and the front door actually has a note on it pointing out to the people who are covering it in graffiti and vandalizing it that they are adding insult to injury. That was very sad to see, but at least the pavement bears the ubiquitous „Stolpersteine“ or „stumbling blocks,“ bronze plaques the size of the surrounding cobblestones which the city has placed in front of the buildings to commemorate people who lived there and were deported, arrested, and murdered by the Nazis. I am always encouraged by the fact that German cities do a better job to make sure we don’t forget what happened to Jewish people, political dissidents, and the mentally disabled 80 years ago.
In the evening, we wrapped up the day by showinng Imke the video version of Big Fish, Kai‘s high school musical, which she watched with great enthusiasm. That way, we lasted until almost 11 pm, and truly felt like we had gotten over whatever jet lag there was.