Picturesque town dating back to Roman times; I don't know how old most of its present buildings are, but they are certainly old by American standards. The grey building is apparently City Hall.
Many buildings were so old that entire ecosystems had taken root on top of them, the original definition of “green roof”:
And a river runs through it all:
The old buildings had been cleverly adapted to modern lifestyle. Here’s the coolest cat door ever:
Traffic in town appeared to be evenly divided among cars, pedestrians, and bicycles. Drivers were FAR more courteous and attentive than they are in America, despite the relative lack of roadway regulation (no speed limits on most “freeways”, which scared the bejesus out of us Americans, and very few defined lanes, sidewalks, etc. in the city).
Parks were abundant, and ancient:
Some cultural references were much more recent, and somber:
Yet at the same time, with all that rich history, there were signs of neglect. Gang graffiti was everywhere, with Communism being a preferred expression, and people appeared to make no effort to oppose it. This stuff had been present for so long that vines were beginning to grow over it:
Speaking of vines, these were really pretty:
American influence was rarely seen, and usually limited to less-desirable contributions:
I came to know what illiterate people feel like in America, as I speak no German whatsoever. Signs, newspapers… it was all lost on me, a huge slice of life to which I was deaf, blind, and dumb. Here, a sign appears to indicate that you have a choice between going UP the stairs, or going UP the stairs:
I may not know any German, but wait – isn’t at least one of these a bad word? And do we have a theme going here?? Urine and schmuck??
As for the fashion side of modern culture, I sure hope that the style represented by these threads does not propagate to America, because this mannequin chick looks like she needs a serious diaper change:
And speaking of modern culture, why would anyone take a nice-looking late model car and stick this sign on it??
Great trip, but I’m glad to be back, as is the case with every trip I make!