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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Iced cherry blossom 花冷え

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

2022年4月5日 Good Morning, Guten Morgen, おはようございます!

Welcome to the first post of April. This picture of a local lake could almost be a painting - but more of paintings later. Images of March still linger - like some sort of undeserved summer holiday. I mean, March is not normally so sunny, dry and warm.


 

Here we are outside the "Towers" in Langen...

A fresh bouquet of tulips at the entrance of my Werkstatt always helps......

But, alas, this week we have now been hit by a Wetterumschlag - a sharp change of weather. A sudden "Tenkou no henka" とつぜんの天候の変。Temperatures have plummeted and snow has arrived. A friend of mine sent me this picture from his breakfast table in Göttingen this morning........

Well, brrrrrr!!!! not much breakfast to be seen, understandably. And looking out of one of my windows it was all rather bleak.....

However, later on in the day it brightened up as I took a before-work-walk......

Weatherwise, other parts of the world seem to be doing better. I received this picture from Kanagawa today......the Sakura season has obviously opened in central Japan.....I love the way they illuminate the trees at night.....

and Broadway seems to be much milder......

But, hang on, I mentioned Frühstuck / Breakfast /朝ごはん.

Breakfast seems to have a great tradition in Germany. A brisk morning walk to the bakery followed by fresh rolls and coffee.

However, when I first moved to Deutschland, I found that one of the most daunting and intimidating experiences was going into a bakery パン屋. It seemed like a sort of temple of German culture. The bewildering array of bread on the shelves, some with seeds on top, some Vollkorn, some with Weizenmehl, some even with nuts. And then there were the rolls. You would see customers marching out of the shop with a crinkly brown paper bag, heading in all directions for their Frühstuck 朝ご飯. One could imagine a pot of coffee ready on the table at home and the Frankfurter Allgemeine, or the Bild Zeitung....depending.....

So there I am, walking into my local bakery this morning. After three decades here I know what is expected of me. There was one bustling lady serving behind the Theke (the counter) - she is the boss and you know it. And there are perhaps 3 of 4 customers waiting to be served. The atmosphere is not exactly tense, but it's not 4 o'clock in the afternoon in a cafe either. When it was my turn, I knew I must fire out my order like a command (something like "4 sesame, 3 normal und ein Croissant bitte...."). I geared myself up psychologically. I knew which bread I wanted, and its name was clearly printed on a label beneath it. Kurbiskernquarkbrot €4.10 . Now it was my turn. I fired off my order, only to be met by a questioning look. I tried again, articulating clearly "ein Kurbiskernquarkbrot, bitte!" "Aah" she said, "ein Kurbisquarkbrot!". I was in a good mood, so I pointed out that the label said differently. "oh, we don't follow those, she says, it's quicker just to say Kurbisquarkbrot..." Ach so. 🙄.

Here is a peep inside my crinkly brown paper bag. It is geschnitten, not am Stück..... (this is another vital question - do you want the loaf sliced or left in one piece?)

OK, I'll know in future. But as I left the shop something was nagging at me. Yes, the price. €4.10 -it must be a 1st April joke (I distinctly remember it costing €3.60 last month). But it wasn't. Thank you Mr. Putin.

Just in case you are wondering what the hell a Kurbiskernquarkbrot is, it is a loaf of bread with pumpkin seeds in it. And it is baked with quark. It is delicious. And worth the bakery challenge.

Don't get me wrong. Nobody is rude in the bakery. It is simply effective and efficient. Everybody gets their fresh bread with the minimum of fuss and hanging about. After all, the Früstuckstisch (the breakfast table) is waiting....

Time to put on that coffee......😂.


 

I seem to be using a lot of German words in this post. Being a native English speaker in Germany can present it's moments. Consider the notice at this restaurant (Breakfast again?). It says "You are wanted!" We employ permanent and part-time staff....Werkstudenten .......

Now any native English speaker would think "What am I wanted for? for robbery? indecent assault? unspecified crimes too horrible to mention?..." The message is simply too direct. It is a classic case of the English language being badly used. "we need...." would be rather more appropriate. I have been living here for years now hearing bad English. However, I suppose I myself have been inflicting bad German and indescribable Japanese on my friends for some time now......😂

 

Just as rapidly as we were plunged back to winter, the sun is suddenly back again. Time to go into town, stroll along the River Main and, yes, perhaps have some late breakfast.....😊.

But before "breakfast", a little culture. I'm not a great fan of Renoir, but the Städel Museum in Frankfurt has a pretty classic Renoir show on at the moment. And it is GREAT!

You know how it is when you go to an art exhibition. It can be quite hard work. You have to wade through realms of guff about the life, the influences, the development, the genre, the oevre etc. etc.....Ok, of course, this is important. But understanding is not everything. These paintings are stunningly beautiful and hit your senses. It's not in the detail. It's in the amazing vibrant colour and light shining from the canvas. I was really glad I had made the effort to go. Renoir - yes - ルノワール. You came to Yokohama too......you do get around......

When you step out of the Städel Art Gallery you are on the Main Ufer - the south bank of the river. Very inviting it was today, although chilly. Sunday morning is usually quite quiet.......

I said hello to some friends who asked to appear in my blog again.

Thank goodness that snow has gone. These apple blossoms seemed to have survived.....

And now comes this seductive sign......but "Folgen sie uns am Instagram" ?? No way. I need a coffee NOW, especially after all that art...

This charming little cafe is tucked behind the Liebieghaus Museum.


It's the sort of cafe where you can imagine someone at the piano in the corner singing Joe Hisaishi's "Toki ni wa" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpxXeNakyfY .

そうだね! 懐かし pure😊.


 

After some Cafe und Kuchen, my route took me to the nearby railway bridge to get a train home from the Hauptbahnhof (the main railway station).

I'm not a civil engineer, but apparently what we see today is a so-called steel truss bridge (Stahlfachwerk), which replaced the older bridge built by the Royal Prussian State Railways back in 1883. It's the sort of stuff which would have inspired an expressionist painter like Max Beckmann in the 1920's. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Beckmann On the northern bank of the Main there used to be an asylum for lepers called the Gutsleuthöfe, hence the old name for the bridge. It is now called the Main-Neckar-Brücke.

Apparently, because of its design, modern trains need to slow down to cross it. Which makes it easy for passers-by like me to take photos.....😄

Heavens, am I becoming a train-spotter or what?

View from the bridge....towards Westhafen....

I must say these flats near the Westhafen look pretty good......

But now back home. THE END.

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. この投稿を読んでいただきありがとうございます。 新しい投稿のお知らせを受け取りたい場合は、上部の購読フォームに記入してください。 ありがとう!Nigel.😊 do subscribe if you want new posts automatically in your inbox. Check your spam though!

Thank you: Additional photo credits to Nik (Göttingen), Emiさん (Kanagawa) and Yumiさん (New York). Additional tips from Mikiさん (Den Haag).







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