Although Augsburg, DE was never my home, it is a familiar place to the point it evokes a strange feeling of comfort. That is — when I’m not getting trampled by large beast men. Of course, it certainly helps that a very dear friend, his lovely wife and his adorable new spawnling also reside there.
Nevertheless, my buddies wanted to give me a real touristy tour type tour of the place, and I think we all got to see parts of Augsburg we’d never seen.
First up, we broke into this gaudy piece of architectural magnificence — the Goldener Saal in Augsburg’s town hall. We stared up and around in awe of the detail and beauty created by ancient artists reaching us through oceans of time.
I especially liked these weird little carved dudes decorating the walls:
Looking out from the “golden room”, I spotted a rainbow spread across the town! But…but, I’m pretty sure we’re inside the pot of gold. What could possibly be over there?!
The next day, we went on an official, guided tour of Augsburg, and got to see the Goldener Saal again! Yea! This time we learned that the building was pretty much obliterated in WWII and this was a complete reconstruction. Talk about a buzzkill…at least there was the Fuggerei on the tour to look forward to!
I half believe my friends took me on the Fuggerei tour because in German, G’s sound a lot harder than English G’s — it’s almost like a “K”…and…well, think about it. My friends expected me to break into giggles everytime I heard the word “Fuggerei” or heard mention of the “Fuggers” – the family that runs the Fuggerei.
Ok, so maybe they were right.
The Fuggerie is a social housing project that dates back to the 1500’s and is probably the only successful one in existence…unless you count Cabrini-Green. Oh, I just made myself chuckle. Ha! I was pretty impressed that such a thing existed. Old man Fugger was a very rich dude and built some very nice, though plain residences for needy Catholics who vowed to pray daily and pay (something like) a buck a year. Here’s a pic of inside the complex (and other tour-takers, not Fuggerei-ers):
When we went inside one, I recall noting that it was much bigger than the last apartment I rented in Chicago. My friends thought it was tiny. PFFT.
There are a few factors I believe led to the success of this housing project:
1. There is limited space in these things, and if you are lucky and blessed enough to get in, you really, really don’t want to screw that up. People tend to live there until they die.
2. It’s gated and if you come stumbling home after 10 p.m., you need to pay a guard to let you in, or you’re out in the cold that night. That would serve as a pretty good deterrent for debauchery, too.
3. Back to point #1, there is limited space and so there are strictly abided selection criteria. You have to earn/win a space to get in.
I don’t think any U.S. housing projects had such stipulations attached to them…
We continued strolling through the city center and right before we were about to take in the lovely sun-shiney moment below, I was bowled-over by a gigantic German dude on a steep hill who would have literally knocked me over if not for my friend breaking my fall. And then gigantic beast man kept on walking without a word or hesitation… There’s nothing more interesting to that story — just wanted to mention that that kind of shit sometimes happens in Germany, because… comparative social weirdness. Oh look, the sun is out!
Our final stop on the tour brought us to this breathtaking statue which, when created hundreds of years earlier, mysteriously foretold the final game of the 2014 World Cup between Brazil and Germany.
Either that, or my brain was tired of listening to German and just made shit up. Really couldn’t say.
Later that day, I scored my own VICTORY. Much of this was brought home with me… NOM NOM NOM. I don’t know why I got so much milk, but it tastes Totally Different in Germany, omagerhd. So good.
And then another remnant of the World Cup victory, which I’m told is an absolute oddity in this anti-nationalistic country when it’s not a Cup year:
Later, we went out to dinner, and I embarrassed my gracious hosts with the Sauberer Saubär when I was confused about the word “Saubär“. It’s kind of like when you call someone a “dirty pig” or a “lazy dog”, but in a really cute way that you might admonish a child. It means “pig bear”. Trouble is, it sounds a lot like, “sauber” which is an adjective meaning clean. WTF? So I made the “clean dirty pig bear” because it’s just as ridiculous to my silly American ears.
The next day, my gracious hosts, presumably pissed about the “pig bear” thing at the nice restaurant, tried to finish me off. They thought they would take my fat American ass for a hike around the world and up and down mountains. OK, not quite. I survived, afterall! It was an absolutely picturesque trip to the Ammersee:
I could have sat and stared at this beautiful lake all day:
Unfortunately, my friends wanted to get to that killing-the-American part of their weekend. So, they took me half-way up this mountain thing — the castle circled shows the tippy top:
I couldn’t be agitated though, ’cause I was too busy trying to keep from giggling as they tried to push the all-terrain baby stroller up an Alpine mountain. 😀
It was sad to leave the next day, especially the part where I had to say goodbye to my new surrogate niece. She was Not Happy and “couldn’t even”. 🙁 So heartbreaking! At least I had one last beer garden at the airport to console myself with:
And also, the flight to Ireland was pretty entertaining, or at least the part where I tried to imagine the badass they needed to make this caution sign for:
There’s a sign. You know it happened at least once.
Hoping to see you all again soon, my Germany-residing darlings. I’m missing you already so very much!