It was just another regular day around here: easy-going wake-ups, breakfast, exercise, shopping, playground time, laundry and kitchen chores, and schooling. The weather is unmistakably autumn, too, with a chill that I am not quite equipped to handle. (I have to beat back my impulse to buy a big chunky sweater with the reminder that after we leave Europe in a couple of weeks, we’re not likely to experience temps lower than 70F until we reach southern Patagonia in March. I can buy a sweater then.)
In four days we move on to another city in another country. We will sleep in another set of beds, see and hear a different language that we don’t understand, and enjoy a whole new yet familiar cuisine. So today, I found myself savoring bits of the Konstanz experience that I’ve come to love and noticing new things, too, even on my 21st day here.
I acquired a taste for döner in Istanbul. It’s that marinated and pile of meat on a vertical rotisserie common in Turkey, Greece (where it’s called gyro), and beyond.) In Turkey, it’s served with fries and salad, or in pitas, or in tortilla wraps, or with a yummy sauce on top of bread or fries and called iskender. We at döner fairly often during our week in Istanbul, and when we would see a döner place in another European city we’d always smile. Imagine our surprise and delight at finding at least four döner places within easy walking distance of our apartment here! We’ve eaten döner in Konstanz at least as many times as we did in Istanbul. Good times.
Konstanz is beautiful and its historic areas are pretty ornate. It was a wealthy city in its heyday, so the buildings have a bit of swankiness to them. Mosaic tiles, which I associate with old-time fanciness, aren’t really a thing here like they are in Istanbul, Rome, Athens, and other places. Yet, I found one today. It was completely by accident, or serendipity, as I had walked past this particular building at least a handful of times before.
For the second time in about five days, I fiercely wanted to capture the smell of the air around me in a bottle or a social media post or something that would let me share with my friends and family back home the awesomeness of what I was experiencing. Oh my goodness, y’all, you need to smell this! The first time occurred in the rose gardens on Mainau Island. The second time happened today while walking the kids over to the playground in our neighborhood. The leaves have begun to fall from the trees, and the way they dry up and crunch to bits under foot and bicycle, well, it was so aromatic. I thought I was in the woods for a second. It was a gorgeous, comforting smell.
We are fortunate that there is convenient and free parking near our apartment. We are also fortunate because we haven’t had to drive anywhere for weeks. Konstanz is a super walkable city, and for the longer distances the buses run frequently and seem to get to most of the city. Bicycling is also huge here, and the sidewalks are just lined with parked bikes. However, if you have to drive and park in Konstanz, these signs will help you out. They point to the nearby parking lots and the LED displays show the number of free spots available, in real time. It’s cool to get that info at the entrance of the garage, but it’s way more awesome to get it on the street a turn or two or three before the garage. I like this idea.
We have a third floor walk-up apartment in a six-unit building. The landings between apartment levels are decorated by the residents in various styles and intensities. There are potted plants, travel photos, and even some gnomes. We see these guys on our way up each time, and they always look glad to welcome us home. Early in our stay, one of the kids said, “We should name them!” I offered, “How about Laurel and Hardy?” I got an “Um, okay.” These guys…