We still didn’t sleep that well, so I was up for about 3 hours from 2 to 5 am, and then slept some more until about 9 am. But we decided not to nap at all today in order to get ourselves turned around. We’ll see how that goes.
We had a lavish and late German breakfast: fresh rolls, soft-boiled eggs, assorted cheeses, ham, honey, jam and also yogurt and fruit, and we sat for quite a long time—Mark withdrew from our German chatter, but then Imke’s yoga teacher stopped by to tell her personally that an event this afternoon was cancelled, and sat down with us for a cup of tea. We talked about (surprise!) yoga and mindful living/moving but also about moving house, since he and his significant other are about to move into a new apartment—like most Germans living in city, renting rather than buying is the norm, but they are moving from what he called a “Harry Potter apartment” to a “flat for grown-ups”—the difference being that their current places has more random steps, levels, and staircases than Hogwarts, including an attic bedroom and a roof terrace, and the new place is a newly renovated ground-floor apartment with a large garden. It was really interesting to get his perspective on living spaces, since he is closer to my age, and his situation reminded me that Imke and Dorothee, both single women in their 70s who own their apartments, are more of an exception than a rule. Since people renting their apartments are very well protected by law from being kicked out or getting their rent raised suddenly, renting in Germany is a very different thing from renting a place in the US. I never lived in a home my family owned while growing up, and my mom is the first person in my immediate family to own a home rather than renting it—she inherited a house from my stepdad when he died, and then “swapped” it for the condo she owns now about three years ago. But my dad never owned a house, and my sister and my two aunts all rent their places.
After we had finally cleared away the dishes from breakfast, Dorothee, Imke and the two of use went for a walk that led us through the botanical garden (which I love) and a neighborhood where a few new houses have sprung up since we were last here—both Mark and I remember the construction site being all cordoned off. The route Imke picked was lovely—through older neighborhoods with early 20th-century townhomes, beautiful mature trees, and roses blooming everywhere. We picked up some cake at a bakery while Imke was making coffee, and then, after the classic “Kaffeeklatsch,” we dropped Dorothee off at the bus station, since she was headed back home to Hanover that afternoon. Mark and I went on another little walk (the weather was gorgeous, and we know Northern Germany well enough to know that we have to take advantage of every bit of blue sky), and picked up some produce and some German vanilla sugar at the ALDI—our favorite German discount grocery store chain, and even cheaper here than in Lincoln, where there are two of them.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon just hanging out and doing some on-line things, and then I made a salad while Imke set the table for the classic evening bread and cheese. Yummy as usual. We decided to all go for another walk, including the park near the university’s main campus (a former residential palace from the 18th century, bright yellow and surrounded by flower beds) and the downtown. We finished up by having our first gelato (just two scoops each, not a big festive concoction; we’ll save that for later!) and returned home at about 8:30. The walking today added up to 5.8 miles or 14,000+ steps according to my Apple Health, so that wasn’t bad at all. And hopefully I’ll sleep a little better. Mark has had better luck but we both still need to catch up a little.