Thursday, January 26, 2006

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.

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