Pasta & pizza @ Augsburg

Where shall we have our dinner tonight? Mum and I pondered as we alighted from the tram. It was around half six and we were rather hungry. I remembered Albert the Hotelier gave us a flyer of his beer garden, ‘Do visit my place later!’ as we were checking in. Shall we go there?

The eatery was about five minutes’ walk from the hotel and it was on top of the hill. We found two mobile canteens in the corner, one was serving drinks and another one was for food. We were a bit taken aback by the sight of the place because we were expecting a building and a terrace. Instead, it was like a picnic area with wooden benches under the trees.

Eww, I don’t fancy it, I shook my head as we studied their menu. They were more like bar foods – burgers, chips, hot dogs, etc. Mum wasn’t keen on them either.

‘Shall we go back to the city centre and have dinner there?’ Since we had more than enough tram tickets to use up, it was silly not to.

There were many restaurants around Rathausplatz, and we decided to eat at Aposto, an Italian restaurant.

Mum was very happy to put her hands around a beer mug…

She opted for a pizza with ham, rocket, mozzarella with tomato sauce.

I fancied pasta…

Linguine with goat’s cheese, Italian ham, red onion and cherry tomato.

The meal was a welcome change from sausage and potato. Even though I did like German food, I missed something lighter time to time.

The square seemed to be a crowd magnet, we noticed it as we headed to a tram stop.

Apart from the people enjoying al fresco dining under the parasols provided by the restaurants and bars, the square was dotted with groups, sitting cross-legged and sipping beers…

Most of them looked like students. They seemed to be enjoying a mellow summer evening with their friends.

Let’s go back and have some rest because we are visiting a highlight of our road trip, Füssen…

Apparently, poor mum didn’t sleep very well that night. She recounted to me next morning that she tried to open a bathroom window after I fell asleep. Unfortunately, the window had a very fancy hi-tech hinge which allowed the window to open in multiple angles, and mum, who didn’t know how it worked, thought she broke the window! She was worried all night how she was going to explain about the incident to the hotel…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Tram ride @ Augsburg

Finally, we were there, at Moritzplatz, to embark on our very first tram journey but we still had a problem.

‘What we gonna do with this carnet business? It just looks like a tape with stripes!’  Unlike the carnet of Paris Metro system, this carnet of nine did not come in separate tickets. I wish if I took a picture of it before giving it to mum as a souvenir so you can see what I mean. It resembled a short piece of tape measure with dotted stripes. And those lines subdivided the tape into nine sections.

Mum and I looked into the train from the platform to find out how those boarding passengers paid their fare. Unfortunately, none of them were paying with the carnet.

Please, please anyone, help us!

I looked around and found a woman in 20s. Oh, wunderbar! ‘Sprechen sie Englisch?’ She replied yes and solved the mystery for us. She showed us how to fold the carnet along the dotted line and to feed each folded part into the slot on the machine on the tram.

We thanked the woman and waited for a tram. How about that building in front of us, mum?’

It was very fetching…

The building looked like patchwork on a boho handbag!

Then, we were on a tram heading towards north…

Unlike my mum, who used a tram in Vienna a few years ago, I hadn’t been on one for many many years. My last ride was at Amsterdam and I was on my way to see the Night Watch by Rembrandt at Rijksmuseum.

Here is another video clip I captured during the tram journey…

 

I hope you enjoy the streetscape of Augsburg!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Maximilianstaße, Augsburg

So, Augsburg was founded by Emperor Augustus. It was where the name came from! I chirped to mum while I googled about the statue in Rathausplatz.

From our bench, we could see people sitting on the rims of the fountain and enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. We wondered how scorching hot the square could be when the sun was high during the summer.

It will be very very hot…

The cloud above the square was remnants of the rain we experienced earlier that day.

While we were driving from Rothenburg to the city, we were met with a torrential downpour on A7. The beating of the rain drops was so ferocious that my dusty VW looked like if it went through a car wash once the rain was over. I must say that it was rather a hairy drive because the spray of the water produced by the lorries’ wheels blinded us momentarily every time we passed by them. When the downpour came down its hardest, the only thing we could see through the window screen was tail lamps of the cars in front of us in the shape of very blurry red dots.

‘Shall we get some fruits at a supermarket?’ We walked down Maximilianstraße. The thoroughfare looked like a major high street of Augsburg and both sides of it were lined with large stores.

Let’s try here, we spotted a supermarket. Mum was very curious about German groceries, especially tinned vegetables. In Japan, the people used much less tinned foods for everyday cooking, therefore, she was fascinated by the wide variety of them lining the shelves in Germany. After inspecting every single aisle, mum’s curiosity was satisfied and we left the shop with a box of strawberries, a few flat peaches and a bag of dried apple slices.

Then, I spotted a pharmacy. ‘Can I check if they stock the sunscreen I am after?’

I had been looking for a particular sunscreen by La Roche-Posay, called UVIDEA XL Ultra-light Mist SPF50. I asked about it at every chemist in France but couldn’t find it. And I was wondering if I had any luck in Germany. The pharmacy was large and did stock La Roche-Posay. However, they didn’t have the specific one I was looking for and I had to leave empty-handed. Oh, c’estla vie!

We continued our stroll down Maximilianstraße and arrived at a junction with Moritzplatz…

A multiple tramway tracks merged and forked at the junction…

Drum roll, please! We will ride a tram in my next blog entry (at last)…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Following tramway @ Augsburg

After dumping our luggage in our room, we left the hotel to explore Augsburg. ‘How are we gonna get to the city centre?’ By taxi? By bus? We hadn’t seen any of them so far. It would have been mightily handy if we could hail a London black cab right now, we lamented…

Then, we saw tramway tracks on Frauentor straße. ‘Mum, there are trams!’

And here it came…

 

Maybe we can go to the city centre by tram!

We saw a tram stop ahead and passengers getting on. How can we get on it like them? Where can we buy tickets? Apart from a shelter and a map of the tram system, there was no ticketing machine…

And there was nobody around to answer our questions.

We learnt by then that most of  the middle-aged Germans we met on the road weren’t keen on speaking English unless they were working in tourist-friendly environments such as hotels or souvenir shops. On the contrary, most of the young Germans (like 20s to 30s), they spoke fluently and was very helpful. ‘Let’s ask her!’ We spotted a young German woman, who looked like a university student, walking towards us.

”Sprechen sie Englisch, bitte?’

She answered yes and told us where to find a ticketing machine. ‘There is a machine on Karolinenstraße.’ Oh, danke!

Even though I was worried about mum’s knee, there was no option except going on foot. We saw the trams going by but could not get on. How frustrating!

Then, we found it. Yay!

We bought a carnet of eleven tickets. Even though we wouldn’t need that many tickets but it would save us from the hassle of having to buy a ticket for each journey, I thought.

Then, we continued on Karolinenstraße and arrived at Rathausplatz…

The square which spread in front of the town hall was vast.

One thing really struck me was, the place was devoid of streetscape paraphernalia, such as raised pedestrian walkways, road markings, street plantation and street lamps which I would normally expect at any similar place in the U.K.

Even the trams, they had no platform to arrive to except a simple signpost. And their tracks were seamlessly embedded into the road surface…

People seemed to be not too concerned about coming and going of the trams…

 

 

Pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trams all existed in harmony…

Why can our London do the same? Let’s have a tram system in Central London too and breathe cleaner air!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Lost in translation @ Augsburg

Ok, Augsburg did defy our expectation. We were vaguely imagining the place to be crammed with medieval buildings, cobbled streets, gothic churches and so on. Instead, we found the city kind of modern and rather ordinary.

Sure, we shouldn’t have expected every town and city on Romantic Road to be “picture on a biscuit box” perfect, all pretty and picturesque. However, our first impression of the city was…, grey!

A distance between Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Augsburg, was about 186km (116mls) and Google map suggested the journey would take 1 hour 44 minutes. Don’t you agree that satnav always underestimates journey time? In fact, the route using A7 and A8 and then to the city centre using R2 took us almost 4 hours!

When we arrived at our hotel in Augsburg, it was almost 3:30 pm. Bizarrely, I was met by no one at the reception except a workman with a paint brush gesturing me to call a number on the wall, ‘Chef! Chef!’ You mean am I to call your boss??? I picked up the phone and dialled the number. A man’s voice answered and I explained that we were hotel guests and wanted to check in. The man on the line assured me that we would be with us shortly and also show me where to park our car. Sure enough, a middle-aged man arrived after 5 minutes and introduced himself as Albert. He owned the hotel and a beer garden nearby. He explained that he was away from the reception because the beer garden needed his attention before opening that evening.

The room we were to stay over night wasn’t that great. It was clean and the bathroom seemed to be redecorated recently, however, the bed was a bit saggy and the closet was full of tired-looking wire laundry hangers (the one you get from a dry-cleaner!) and shop hangers instead of proper wooden ones you would normally expect in hotel closets. Oh dear…

‘I don’t like English breakfast!’ I thought that was what Albert said when I went to the reception the second time for a password for their Wi-Fi. I was like ‘??? You don’t like English breakfast??’ First of all, I hadn’t come across anyone ever who didn’t like English-style fry up. And why is he telling me this? Is it because I live in London?? It was Albert’s turn to be startled, ‘Oh, I like English breakfast. I used to live in Britain!’

Then, it dawned on me. ‘Do you mean “Brexit”?’ ‘Yes, Brexit!’ His English with a heavy German accent made “Brexit” sounded like “breakfast”. Hahaha.

I told him that I was as gutted as him about the UK leaving Europe. We both agreed Brexit and Donald Trump were complete disasters…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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