06 April, 2011

An excursion to Kassel

I know I can be difficult, but one thing that really irritates me is the assumption that Americans are unable to learn a foreign language. So for the first day I explained to everyone who asked how we'd learned German. Then I had "die Nase full." 

It was 1pm when we started out for Kassel, the next town on their list.  We hadn't eaten since 7:30am and I could see that Dick was in a trouble. I kept wondering when lunch would be. Finally when we arrived in Kassel, Dick suggested we stop for a coffee. "That'll be fine," Herr Gross said. "I had intended to do that at 4pm, but now will be good." So we did stop and had coffee with milk. That was good for Dick. I gave him part of mine to make sure he had enough and he poured a lot of sugar into his cup.
A misty day, but there's the castle.
 Our hosts wanted to show us a museum in the castle where the Kaiser of the area had lived. They forgot to tell us that we had to walk a mile from the car and a quarter of that straight uphill. I struggled and almost got there without help, but I had to swallow my dignity  and let Herr Gross help me the last 50 meters. I was not in a good mood.
 A view from the castle

Ursula and Herr Gross had reserved a person to explain the  paintings, which I thought was very nice. He wanted a painting of Ruebens and Rembrandt and the expert should show us the differences. Okay, so we agreed. While waiting the expert asked me where I was from and I said the USA.
"You speak good German, " she said. 
"Thank you," I said. 
"How long have you been in Germany?" she asked. "Two days," I said. 
And then Dick arrived and she went through the same thing with him. We are smiling. 
She hesitated for  a long time, then she said, "So you are Americans and you speak  good German. Where did you learn it?" 
"Oh," I answered, "it was a miracle!!! I woke up one morning, and I could speak German."
The rest of the time, she did explain the differences between the two painters, but she made sure we knew that the town had been 86% destroyed by us and the English during the second world war. She brought it up a number of times in different ways. I think she was looking for an argument. I decided not to comment. 
By now it was past 4 and we were on our way to downtown Kassel. They wanted us to see the Mall, the only succcessful one in Germany. It was nice, but not worth a photo. But we ran into these two aliens outside on the sidewalk. It was the highlight of my trip. 
No one knew why they were dressed like that. Maybe a part before Lent?
On the trip back to Hoexter, we went through Warburg, another ancient city. I missed it because I fell asleep and it was dark by that time anyway. 

At 6:30pm we finally stopped for a meal. By the time we returned to the hotel, I was exhausted, as was Dick. At least we got our exercise that day and we did see a lot of beautiful things. I wish I enjoyed sightseeing more than I do.

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