Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm just a Grave Landscaper and a Semi-Floral Janitor.

It doesn't matter where you go in the world, there is always work to be done...even for travelers.  This is now my third day here in Alzenau and I couldn't be happier to visit this little town for the 4th time.  In the past, I would make it my duty to walk around Alzenau and enjoy it's very pristine character and jovial essence which vibrates so profoundly.

In fact, it is so easy to walk around the town with a camera, taking photo after photo, drinking endless cups of coffee while chatting with the locals or spend hours staring at a computer surfing the web.

No. Not this time around.

While traveling, why not try something different?  As much as I love to travel/write and take photos, this too can get boring.  Moreover, when the weather calls for poring rain, one is left stranded to figure out how to melt the time.

What to do?

Silke and her mother own and operate a small yet highly respectable Floral Shop called Blumen Roll.  Their shop is located directly below their apartment building and I am very grateful to share their space for the duration of my visit.  Although, it became rather clear that my friends do not have a whole lot of time to invest in me, since the pair are very busy with their business; and unfortunately for me "boredom" slapped my face.

To rid of my boredem I offered my friends my muscles to take some of the weight off of their shoulders.  Dora, could not have been happier.  Yesterday, she had me load a few bags of soil into her truck and the three of us drove out to the local cemetery to do a little landscaping.  Upon arrival she had me bring out the bags and help fill a tomb with some fresh soil, while she planted some new plants into the flower bed.  For my efforts Dora complimented me for my hard work by saying.  "Stark mann!" (strong man).  I could only blush and that's when I realized that for 20 minutes of my life, I was a Grave Landscaper.

Once we completed the task Silke, Dora and I drove off to visit one of Germany's oldest cities called Seligenstat.  What makes this city so vibrant are the colourful timber-frame buildings which were built in the 1700's.  Every building is uniquely and intricately constructed and seemly, by way to help home owners decipher between which building was which.

despite her wavy facade, she won't snap!

What also makes this town unique is the little ferry called Mainfahre (Main Ferry) which could be the world's smallest active ferry.  The mini ferry connects between the states of Bavaria and Hesse and crosses the Main river.  The ferry is open to cars and  pedestrians and according to my friend Heidi, a one way trip is roughly 80c.

Spirit of Seligenstat

We concluded our day at Seligenstat and headed to Hanau, to visit a palace by the name of Philppsruhe Palace of Hanau.  Immeadiately after arrival, the heavens drenched us with pouring rain and Silke and I managed to take only a few shots of this magnificent structure.
Philppsruhe Palace

Our day ended when the 3 of us met up with Heidi at an Italian restaurant.  To my joy, I manage to speak to some of the employees in Italian and I even ordered in that language.  We ate some really fine, thin personal pizzas and chatted for the next two hours.

After dinner, I spoke with Heidi for about an hour or so to get caught up.  Sadly, the next day she left for a small vacation which meant that I won't be seeing here for quite sometime.  It was really great to see her again.

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of rain against my window.  Which evidently meant that photography was simply out of the question.  Instead, I once again offered my services to all 7 employees at Blumen Roll.  Dora, didn't hesitate and she put me to work by helping her move a few heavy items around the store.  She then suggested for me to go with her to make some deliveries and help pick-up 80 plants.  I happily obliged and took the trip with her.

Hours later, I was free to walk the town and take more photos of this picturesque city.  The rain had sub-sided and I took my time to find houses which are painted with some interesting colours.  Here is a sample of those vibrant houses.

It was nearing 5pm and I decided to walk back to Blumen.  Immediately, boredom took over  and rather than chat with Silke, I made myself available for some more grunt work.  What I didn't mention earlier is that Silke had been translating everything to me whenever Dora gave me a command.  This time, Silke had me deal with Dora directly since she figured I would understand her mother.


Adjacent to their workshop is a garage and Dora beckoned for me to follow her into it.  She handed me some clippers and I waited for her to give me the details.

This is what I think she said to me.

Dora: "Cut here, here and here.  Put this over here and put the rest of this into this satchel."

Me: "Huhhhhh?...Yeah...ok...sure!" I responded with blatant uncertainty with my eyes and jaw wide open.

Actually, it was rather easy to understand her. All she wanted me to do was cut the branches from the stems and then put the waste into a bag.  Though it's funny that one can learn simple directions just by reading simple hand gestures.

Minutes, later I had made a mess of the branches and I asked Dora for a broom by making a sweeping gesture.

Dora "Ah...besen." (broom)

I took the besen and I practically swept the entire garage and then moved into workshop to give that once-over.  

I figured, why stop now.  Nothing wrong with being a Semi-Floral Janitor for a day...except I am disappointed that I wasn't given an apron.  HA!

When the work day ended, Dora took us out for some dinner at a restaurant close to home.  I ate some sausages with some sauerkraut (which was brilliant!) and quenched my thirst with some beer and schnapps!

I am having a wonderful time here.

Tomorrow a soccer match and then the Wine Festival!

have a heart.

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