Tuesday, January 31, 2006

For those of you who haven't yet become regular readers of Velonews, note the most recent Eurofile on Jan Ullrich highlighting Eddy Merckx´s endorsement of our favorite German diesel engine to win this year's Tour. Several other prominent cycling experts, Armstrong included, have also predicted this predominately plump prospect to play on the podium in Paris. Merckx's reasoning, in short, is that Ullrich's entry in the Giro should help shed the baby fat that never really disappears until the third week of the Tour. For those not this familiar with cycling, Jan Ullrich is the Tour De France's version of the 1990s Buffalo Bills (except that he actually won the show in '97--something the Bills failed to do in their run of perennial second place showings).

Apparently, Ullrich can never really control himself at the buffet line in the off-season, which probably means he eats two apples a day instead of one. And since his bike is already as light as possible, it's up to Jan to flatten out the tummy rolls (sidenote: we here at Dotde sympathize with you, Jan, as German winters are mighty cold here without that extra padding. Plus many of our readers haven't tried the typical German cookie easily purchasable at any gas station, grocery, and department store that may be right on the route of your average 100km training ride). In addition, Ullrich is also plagued by numerous photos of his grimacing mug leading his Giant bicycle through the Alps, and we believe this to be the result of a media stain campaign.

Nonetheless, the combination of his entry in the Giro and his prospects for Tour success raises the hopes of the Cycling Division here at Dotde--huge fans of Jan Ullrich after several demystifying seasons following American Cycling Poster-Bully Lance Armstrong (the romance ended in 2004). Look for us on May and July alpine slopes mingling with cyclists as they slowly creep by, catching disposed water bottles and posting cyclist interviews via tent-top satellite.

Which is why we're using this post to advertise an opening for an Editorial Intern in our Cycling Division. Duties include transcription and interview editing, assistance in meal preparation, and light side-by-side cyclist streaking during mountain stages. Qualifications required are experience in tent-pitching, satellite maintenance, and German drinking song singing. Please use our comment box to write a short description of yourself and why we should choose you to travel along with our Cycling Division as they report from 2 of the 3 Grand Tours. We'll contact the most interesting and qualified individuals and conduct brief telephone interviews. Deadline to apply: 1 March 2006.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

There is, no doubt, any number of blogs written by expatriats and college kids studying abroad devoted to explaining the quirky mannerisms and cultural oddities (complete with pics) of their adopted countries. Here at dotde, however, we like to push the limits of such blogging by going where other bloggers fear to tread. Namely, the German bathroom.

To begin with, "bathroom" and "toilet" are not interchangeable in German the way they are in English. For example, you've just flown into München from JFK airport and naturally your first stop is the famous Hofbrauhaus. After a hearty German meal and three Maße, you waddle over to the nearest waiter and test out your German skills by asking "Entschuldigung, wo ist das Badezimmer?" ("excuse me, where is the bathroom?"). The waiter will most likely stare at you with mild amusement while you begin to do a little dance as the three Maße in your lower abdominal region make their presence known. After a few moments, though, he'll respond in perfect English "down the hall, first door on the left." In fact, he has politely ignored the fact that you've just asked where the bath room is, as though you feel a need to take a shower before returning to your table to order another round of beer.

So, lesson 1: Always ask for "die Toilette" or "das WC" (water closet).

Lesson 2: A tiny cave to youself.

I can't speak for men's bathrooms (perhaps J! might like to give you the details) but Germans have taken "water closet" literally. Stalls here are, in fact, tiny, tiled closets. No cheap metal partitions held together by dilapidated screws, no looking under the stall door to check and see if it is occupied, and no passing toilet paper under the partition. There are no partitions. There are just individual rooms and floor to ceiling doors. If you were accidentally locked in, they'd have to bring in a wrecking ball to get you out again.

Lesson 3: You use, you pay.

By "public restroom," I really mean "bathrooms that anyone can use if they have 50 Euro cents." Most toilets in Germany (and elsewhere in Europe) require that you pay to use them and the fee varies from 20 Euro cents to a whole Euro. Typically, pay toilets have an attendant on staff who cleans the restroom, keeps it stocked, etc. For example, the Hofbrauhaus in München has a woman who stands near the sinks and after you leave the stall, she darts in and spritzes the whole place with antiseptic cleaner. This is a bit unnerving, but after your third Maß you don't really notice anymore. You also don't notice that you've given her a 2 Euro coin instead of the 20 Euro cents you meant to, but this is a minor detail.

There are some exceptions to the pay restrooms--most restaurants do not require you to pay. And, of course, bathroom use at McDonald's is generally free (provided you have a receipt). Some bathrooms do not have an attendant but you still have to pay to get in. These restrooms will often have a turnstile at the door, as though you are entering an amusement park or high security bank.

Lesson 4: Big flush or little flush?

It used to be, in Europe, that public restrooms were a bit of a rarity. Well, public restrooms as we Americans are familiar with. Many women's bathrooms, for example, used the old "squat" method and basins were few and far between. This has changed and in most places in Europe toilets are very common (particularly places where tourists are likely to visit). In Germany, however, the toilet has progressed so far as to give you a number of choices, turning the restroom into a daily experience of self-determination. Instead of the outdated one-size-flush fits all, many German toilets come with two buttons, one large and one small. I leave it to your vivid imaginations to come up with the reason for this, but I will say that the buttons are typically tastefully designed. My university, for example, employs a triangular structure, with the small button at the tip of the triangle. The restrooms at the train station, however, go for more of a lopsided Venn diagram approach.

Lesson 5: Clean up after yourself.

Every single public restroom I've used in Germany comes equipped with a toilet brush. A WC with twelve separate toilet stalls will have twelve toilet brushes.

They aren't there for decoration.

Lesson 6: Smoking is not prohibited.

In fact, it is somewhat encouraged. That's right, for those of you who are serious chain smokers, who accidentally lit a cigarette before recognizing another, more urgent need, or who simply like to multi-task, then Germany is the place for you! Many bathroom stalls come specially equipped with an ashtray built into the wall, within easy reach.

Also, one final note. I have yet to see that ubiquitous bathroom sign, "All employees must wash their hands before returning to work." Either German employees have tidier habits than American workers or, more likely, they haven't yet been convinced that the sign makes it physically impossible for employees to leave the bathroom without washing their hands first.

Update: J!'s father thoughtfully brought the following picture to my attention, as evidence that J! should not be allowed, under any circumstances, to add his $.02 to any discussion concerning the use of WCs (or trees).

As a follow up to the James Frey post and comments, I thought I'd add this satire. It was written by Tim Carvell (a writer for The Daily Show) and appeared in the New York Times on Jan. 11, 2006. You can also read it at nytimes.com (you can access it for free by signing up).

A Million Little Corrections

IT is with great sorrow, and no small amount of embarrassment, that I must confess to some inadvertent errors, omissions and elisions in my best-selling memoir, “A Brief History of Tim.” In the wake of the recent revelations about the work of J T Leroy and James Frey, it seems inevitable that some of my small mistakes will come to light, and so I feel duty-bound to be upfront and honest with you. Plus, I hear that reporters have been sniffing around.

I feel that none of the slight liberties I took in writing my memoir really affect the overall work, but nonetheless, you should know a few things:

I am not, in fact, black.

Nor am I, to the best of my knowledge, a woman. Anything in my book that suggests otherwise is the result of a typographical error. That this error was compounded by my decision to pose for my author photo and bookstore appearances in drag and blackface is, I will acknowledge, unfortunate.

The portions of my book dealing with Depression-era Ireland are, I have been reliably informed, copied verbatim from Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes.” I can only conclude that I accidentally confused my manuscript with my notes for my memoir in which I copied large portions of other writers’ works, just to see how they were structured. In hindsight, the fact that I was born 40 years after the Depression should have been a tip-off.

My parents are both alive; any reference to my being orphaned at age 12 was meant to be strictly metaphorical.

Furthermore, my parents and their lawyers would like it known that neither they, nor any other member of my family, ever beat and/or had sex with me. I thought it was clear that those parts of the book were meant as a joke. (That’s what the emoticons were for.)

In writing a narrative, it is sometimes necessary to compress or combine certain incidents for dramatic effect. I did much the same thing in the chapter of my book dealing with my prison term, although in reverse: in the interest of dramatic clarity, I expanded my 1993 arrest for jaywalking into a seven-year stint in Sing Sing for manslaughter.

Okay, it wasn’t so much a jaywalking “arrest” as a ticket.

Fine, it was a stern warning. Happy now?

The death of my older brother, my ensuing severe depression and subsequent emotional breakthrough with the help of a caring psychotherapist did not happen to me, but rather to Timothy Hutton in the film “Ordinary People,” which I saw at a very impressionable age, and which I could have sworn happened to me.

Ditto for the part about accidentally hacking into Norad and being saved from causing a global thermonuclear war, with an assist from Dabney Coleman. That was “WarGames.”

Really, the fact that I could remember his name only as “Dabney Coleman” should have given me pause.

And, finally, since people are getting all “fact-checky” on me, I should just confess that my life did not, in fact, shatter into a million little pieces. I just went back and recounted. It was six pieces. Consider it a rounding error.

Friday, January 27, 2006

First Contact

Just when you thought the US Postal Service gave up on this fine citizen (afterall, he doesn't pay much for taxes, right?), two forwarded letters arrive today via Deutsche Post. I'm now completely in tune with my NWA Frequent Flyer Miles, and I know that I'm about miss my last chance to renew the New Yorker at such an incredible price.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Usually, I won't use this space as a place for random thoughts on current issues, but I thought this relevant to the writers here at Dotde as it may connect to travel writing in an interesting way.

Oprah, since when have we supposed memoir to be absolutely honest? And how come you look younger now than you did in 1986? You must lather it on to look good, right?

Nonetheless, you may catalogue your readings here at Dotde under the realm of "mostly" nonfiction. If you are able to penetrate the fabric of reality we at the office attempt to pull taut, at least don't cry at us on National TV. Not only do we produce 99% biographical work, but any embellishment is purely for your entertainment. Most embellishment, I might add, takes place in the comment box from those mysteriously anonymous quips.

And we mention this now because we fear concern of this type from our readers. If there's any need for concern or anger, let us here redirect you to humph and humph. These two links will satisfy your needs (for anger or entertainment, depending on your mood).

Yes, we are in Mainz. And yes, I'm taking another road trip to play ultimate near Munich this weekend. D will hold down the office, and hopefully we'll have more reports from Chocolate Mombach (not to be confused as Nagin's mini-practice-plan for New Orleans) while we close down January and reopen the second month of the year.

Just thought I'd add that I've posted a new link to Iosefina Sarrou's website. Iosefina and I lived together for a year in Davis--she's back in Athens, Greece, now, but she makes very unique jewelry that is unlike anything else I've seen. She very thoughtfully gave me some beautiful pieces that I love. Her stuff is worth taking a look at, even just to see what it is like.

As a side note, the quote on her website about the Firewalk refers to an event that happens twice a year at Davis where people gather together and walk on fire. She actually did this. She's not joking about loving fire.

Interested parties can find out more info about firewalking here.

When I lived in Venice, I used to go running in the early morning, when the cafes were just barely opening their doors and the street sweepers weren't even out yet. I did this for two reasons a.) the streets in Venice are so narrow that you can't really run at any other time of the day and b.) jogging in Italy (at least while I was there) was considered to be somewhat silly. And the Italians were right, of course. Having regained my senses, I now avoid running whenever possible, especially early in the morning. But, because of this little bout of mental incapcitation, I now associate Italy with the smell of baking bread and coffee. There's something a little bit odd about this, though--as though Italy smells a certain way.

I figured, upon moving to Germany, that I wouldn't have this problem in a second European country: I don't jog anymore and I avoid getting up at the time when bread is being baked. In this, however, I've been sadly mistaken.

I emerged from the apartment today and was greeted by a lovely, snow-covered morning. Imagine a picture postcard that reads "Winter in Germany" and you'll have an idea of what my neighborhood looked like. And, to top it off, the whole thing smelled exactly like hot chocolate and rum! Now, I grant you that I've never lived much in the snow, but for some reason, it made perfect sense to me that snow would smell like hot chocolate. If you have to shovel the stuff, it might as well smell tasty and delicious while you do it. I mused on this as I reduced the lovely stuff to slush on my way to the bus stop, and finally decided that there must be some kind of plant in the vicinity that, when snowed upon, releases (obviously) a pheremone that attracts winter insects and hot cocoa fans as unwitting vehicles to spread its spores.

It wasn't until about ten minutes later, passing on the bus through the "industrial section" of Mombach that I remembered the local Nestle factory.

Which just goes to show that if you have to live near a factory, at least be selective and choose one devoted to chocolate. It'll spice up your winter.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Shopping's a huge deal in the Rhein/Main metro area, with several different venues at your disposal. For instance, D and I debated for much of Saturday morning whether to go to Wiesbaden or Frankfurt for a daily shopping trip. After riding the bus into Mainz's inner city, we decided to stay in our fair locale. Perhaps not comparable to Frankfurt, but we have all the basics. And despite the chilly rain showers (we don't have malls here, you know), there were crowds around every corner. The post-Christmas sales were in full swing, and D brought home an orange bargain from H & M, a store that is apparently having their "Final Sale." So get down there quick, because, never again!

Perhaps more impressive are walks through the Altstadt on Sunday afternoons when all the stores are closed. Then you'll find hundreds of people roaming the streets and staring into dark shop windows, appraising what they could purchase if laws were let a bit loose. No wonder Mantelsonntag was such a big deal back in the Fall. But now, if you want jeans from Leo's or a new espresso machine from Saturn, you'll have to wait until Monday. Unless, of course, what you want is purchasable at your local petrol station around the corner from your house.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ten Could've Been Posts, already dated but in no specific order of appearance:

10) Arr!'s sadly gone and beer comsumption has dramatically shifted downwards since his departure. We still have yet to rake in on the Euros of bottle deposits left in the wake of his frequent trips to the local petrol station.

9) Didn't quite get a chance to review my wonderful trip back home to see my family. Events included two trips to Chef Wayne's Big Mamou, an family investigation into the atrocities occuring at the local butterfly conservatory, and Gleason's becoming a regular at a bar in Northampton. Oh, and the new exhibit (Amusement Park) being put up at Mass MOCA is absolutely worth seeing. It's been the feeling of a poem for a while, and walking through the work-in-progress pushed the movement even further. Anyway, it was so great to see everyone back home again, as always.

8) Reports from 234 HQ are that my sister's 2nd cat was subject to a freak bag accident the other day, invoking 24 hrs. of hissing and hiding from his beloved caretaker. We here at Dotde hope that all emotions back to partly sunny, partly scared. I should add, though, that my entire relationship with this cat is based on hissing and hiding.

7) FR Ultimate went 4-4 in our tournament last weekend. Most satisfying was that I was asked to go to Indoor Nationals with them, which has prompted more vigorous running on my part, along with my first trip to a Yoga class with D and a couple people from work.

6) My emotions for the local souperie here in Mainz rivals my original love for the soup schleppers at Souper Bowl in Amherst. Germany, however, seems to be a little behind in bread bowl technology. But the owner speaks great English (don't worry, Dad, I still order in German so as not to feign intimidation), and I'll be sure to make the suggestion if our conversations ever drift into area of liquid vessels.

5) Carson's Decreation and Bernstein's Shadowtime have been the most notable of two of the five books I've consumed recently.

4) The Dotde "Secret Santa" gift-giving activity displayed the exchange of several great gifts. What a laugh D! and I had when we realized we drew each other's name for the exchange (considering the amount of people in Dotde's editorial department!). I ended up with a beautiful new watch, and D came out sporting a super-cute bag.

3) Despite our presence in the 21st Century, international mail is quite lackluster. Many delays and several undelivered holiday gifts have left us wondering if Amerigo Vespucci had better postal service during his travels between continents. Of course, it could be that some NSA official's out there snacking on our German cookie treats while opening other letters are reading post cards. Which is to say that we DO appreciate the NSA here at Dotde as they do compose of our largest reading audience. Get our mail to its destination, guys, and we'll be sure to send a few logoed mouse pads your way.

2) My 2 week beard has disappeared. It was a little weak, me with one bald cheek. Plans are in the works to try again next winter.

1) Let's end on a decorative pattern:


Sunday, January 15, 2006

More pics from München and our Tobogganing Adventure. Note: the pizza box was inserted into the Ikea bag, to give it a bit more structure.

Arr! practices for the real thing.

The snow wasn't quite icy enough for tobogganing. And there wasn't quite enough of it.

This picture is making our mother nervous, I bet.

I actually slid about two whole feet before falling over.

In the foreground is what's left of Arr!'s Maß. This shot gives you a nice idea of the size of a Maß beer relative to Arr!'s face.

Arr!, enjoying all München has to offer. As a side note, München is full of these lions right now, all painted differently and often in different positions. It is part of a city-wide project called Münchner Löwenparade ("Munich Lion Parade"). Local businesses buy and decorate a lion to support the children's charity, "Children in Need." München is in Bavaria, a state in Germany that has long been associated with lions (lions are in several of the coats-of-arms and the Bavarian state is often represented as a lion), hence the choice of animal.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

It has been a while since J! and I posted on the blog, so I figured I’d give a quick and dirty version of the last three weeks.

Dec. 23-Dec. 31:

My family came out for a delightful visit and a nice, relaxing cruise up the Rhine River. The cruise included stops in Frankfurt am Main, Mainz, Köln, Düsseldorf, Nijmegen, and Amsterdam. Highlights of the cruise included:
- Xmas with the family
- food, three times a day, and hot tea any time you wanted it
- a home-hosted dinner with Hans and Cily Muyderman, from the lovely town of Nijmegen in The Netherlands. (I stole a great vegetarian casserole recipe from Hans, and if I can make it as well as he did I’ll post it some time).
- attempting to pronounce Nijmegen correctly (“no, no, it’s ‘aghhhh’ in the back of the throat!’”)
- a fabulous stained glass window in Stevenskerk (also in Nijmegen) by artist Mark Mulders
- visiting the Roman Praetorium in Köln, which has been restored and is actually underground and provides access to the old Roman sewer.
- an amateur choir made up mostly of Dutch men who were all about 60+ and looked as though they’d spent their whole lives at sea. Plus, their musical accompaniment was a man who played the accordion! So fun!
- the Commerzbank skyscraper in Frankfurt, which was designed by Sir Norman Foster. According to our guides, the skyscraper was designed specifically with Germans in mind. Germans, evidently, dislike artificial air conditioning, and so all the windows in the building can be opened. To cool the air, the Commerzbank has “wintergardens,” in which trees and plants create fresh oxygen. Some of the trees in the wintergardens were so large that they had to be flown in by helicopter to the top of the building and brought inside through the elevator shafts.

Still needs work:
- the Lorelei. Anyone who visits Germany will eventually hear the Lorelei heralded as a major tourist attraction. People (including your tourist guides) will give you a long spiel about a hair-brushing siren, tragically drowned sailors, and treacherous river waters. Don’t believe them! The Lorelei is actually a cliff. And what’s more, it looks so much like all the other cliffs in this particular area, that they’ve had to label it with a big sign that reads, “LORELEI.” That said, if you want to see some amazing castles, take a river cruise up the Rhine between Mainz and Köln. You can also see them by train (as Arrr! and I discovered, upon returning to Mainz from Amsterdam) but the boat ride gives you a better view.
- Amsterdam. I know, I know . . . but if you visited Amsterdam during a sleet storm, you’d probably agree with me on this one. At any rate, there was a distinct lack of tulips. If you want canals, I’d say go to Venice, but that’s my own personal biased opinion. However, I’m willing to give Amsterdam the benefit of the doubt and say that it is probably much nicer in the spring or summer. Or anytime without sleet.
- Baroque duets for piano and recorder. Really, this goes without saying, doesn’t it? This “entertainment” was provided by Grand Circle, and the lovely couple who performed for us really seemed to be enjoying themselves, which was actually quite fun to watch. But let me just point out that there is a reason why the recorder, as an instrument, went out of fashion about, oh, three centuries ago. At one point during the concert, the pair got away from the Baroque music for a bit and played a Brazilian carnival piece (transposed for recorder and piano). This was pretty much the only song I liked, but it prompted my father, startled by the sudden change in tempo, to wake up and proclaim (rather loudly), “What kind of Baroque is this?” There was much rude giggling about this from the family and various staff members.
- the Red Light District. More tasteful than Vegas . . . it’s essentially just like any other shopping district in town, with a lot of (seemed to me) young American guys who had just come straight form a nearby “coffeeshop.”

Jan. 6-9, 2006

For our last trip together before Arr!’s visit came to an end, we all valiantly tried to get Ryanair flights to some sunny, beachy location. Sadly, we struck out on Sardinia and anywhere in Spain or Portugal. DeutscheBahn, however, gave us a great deal on train tickets to München (where the average temperature was hovering somewhere around 1 degree Celsius). What München lacked in warm weather, though, it distinctly made up for in beer. Lots of it. As responsible tourists, we felt it our duty to sample as much of the local culture as possible, which translates to about 7 liters in three days. Not too bad, given that we didn’t even make it to the hostel’s own bar (open from “8 pm to ????”) and stuck mostly to breweries like Augustiner Keller and the Hofbrauhaus. I liked Augustiner Keller better—quieter, better beer (I thought) and noticeably fewer annoying Australian guys. Also, Augustiner Keller has a great salmon dish, for anyone planning on visiting.

Highlights in München:

- the Maß. This is Bavarian for “huge glass of beer that requires two hands to lift.” Actually, it is a liter of beer. Think of it as the original beer barbell—you can work your biceps while you drink!

- Meininger Hostel. A great hostel, on the whole—nice staff, a fusball table, The Daily Show on tv, and their heaters even worked (more than I can say for the hostel we stayed in at Venice, which had a power outage when we plugged in the space heater). Watch out for the showers, though.

- Füssen is an enchanting town outside of Münich, most famous for being near Castle Neuschwanstein. I don’t know what it is like in the summer, but in the winter, after a snow storm, it is beautiful.

Could’ve been better:

- Castle Neuschwanstein. Built by “mad” King Ludwig II (whose penchants for Wagner and swans proved a somewhat tragic combination), the castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany. It is supposedly the model for Disneyland’s castle and is thought by some people to be the most photographed building in the world. It is exceptionally beautiful, especially in the winter, but the tour is terrible. If you would like to see the castle, go—it is a great experience. If you actually want to learn anything about the castle, though, check out a book from your local library. The tours of both castles (you can also visit Hohenschwangau, which is just down the hill), last about 15 minutes each. Trust me, if you visit during the winter time, you’ll spend more time huddled by the heater in the gift shop than you will in the actual castle. On the plus side, if you visit Hohenschwangau, you can see some salt and a loaf of bread that was given to Prince Regent Luitpold by the Volga Germans. The bread, at this point, is 115 years old and in remarkably good shape. Evidently, it wasn’t very tasty bread, though, because hardly any of it was actually eaten.

- the distinct lack of easy-access tobogganing in Füssen. Since you have to walk up a huge hill to get to the castle, the least they could do is integrate with the nearby ski resort, and rent you a sled to get back down. Evidently they haven’t gotten this far, though, in tourist development in Füssen. They’re still fairly focused on the castles, I think. The boys and I were forced, instead, to remain unsatisfied with our attempts to sled down a hill near my apartment in Mainz using a pizza box and a plastic Ikea bag.

In other news, Arr! has, sadly, returned home to Phoenix. J! and I have been drinking a lot less since he left, and we miss him terribly. On the other hand, there’s a lot less sausage around the apartment now. I’m hoping that we can entice him back in the spring with promises of biergartens and trips to Sardinia.

Also, I got a cute new pair of shoes.

And, we can now watch German tv. Well, actually, we only get one channel, but I have high hopes. James Bond is on tonight: “Mein Name ist Bond. James Bond.” Pretty soon I’ll be fluent in anything relating to cooking shows and international surveillance.

Mermione and the Colonel, in beautiful Frankfurt am Main.

Papa and I have a chat in lovely Stevenskerk, Nijmegen

Mummy and me!

Oh no! Jesus accidentally left his wallet in Nijmegen!

A gargoyle in Köln with a bit of a nose drip.

One of Marc Mulders' very cool windows. It is hard to see here, but in the top window of the trefoil, there is a fish.

Notice the blue tag on my bag? It reads, "Lost! Need directions!" My brothers evilly conspired against me to place such tags on my bag, at least once a day. So, here we are enjoying a tour of Mainz (where I live!) while I look like schmuck tourist. There are entirely too many pictures like this one from our trip. They triumphed in Nijmegen, where I walked into a store, set off an alarm and the store clerk attempted to demagnetize my bag before I realized they'd struck again. She very politely asked, upon seeing the tag on my bag, if I were returning home that day.

The Praetorium in Köln. The different lights indicate different parts of the building. The yellow light, for example, shows outside walls. The blue lights indicate inner rooms. The part pictured above is only one small segment of the outer wall on the bottom floor of the Praetorium.

The cathedral in Köln.

The Lorelei! See what I mean?