I love Sunday afternoons in Germany. I love how peaceful they are. There is nowhere to be, no errands to run. And I’m finally learning to enjoy them properly.
I took a nice walk around my neighborhood this afternoon. My neighborhood is beautiful. My neighborhood is so European. My neighborhood is the sort of thing I will miss terribly if I ever move back to the US. I’m not good about taking pictures when I’m out on walks, so I’ll just have to describe what I mean.
My walks all start with a quick run down four flights of stairs and out onto my little street. It’s a one-way street, not too busy, not too fancy. But still, each façade is a bit different: white, pale blue, peach, tan, decorative trim around windows and doors, a bay window here, a small balcony there. I can go up the street toward the center of the city or down the street, under the train tracks, and out toward the edge of town. Most of the time, I set out in one direction and circle back the other way.
This afternoon, I walked toward the nearby Gartenverein and past half a dozen families sitting or working in their gardens. Around the corner and down the street, I wandered through a neighborhood park, where I saw dozens of people sprawled out on the lawn with food and books and frisbees, while a few ducks and swans floated across the pond. Did I mention that we’re finally getting real summer weather here?
As I strolled out of the park, I was right back among the tall buildings and ornamental façades of the city. An old brick building with vines growing up the wall, next door to a modern building with full length windows exposing the spiral staircase inside. Glimpses through metalwork fences and archways into back gardens. Heavy wooden doors and flower boxes.
When I walk through my neighborhood, it feels like everything is mixed together. A bit of new and a bit of old, a bit of city and a bit of country, a bit of Europe and a bit of, well, Iowa. And for me, that’s the very best mix.