Saturday, January 21, 2012

When in Rome (or Germany in this case)

Sitting here sipping a bottle of Becks in a cafe near my hotel this evening here in Bavaria.  Started writing with a coffee drink they call a “White Mac.”  I call it coffee crack, my second one today. #justyum.
THE White Mac
This morning started nice. Indeed, quite.  That is if sleeping in until 11am on a snowy Saturday morning in Germany sounds good.  It did to me.  I was up pretty late last night hitting a few bars here in Weiden, so relinquishing myself to the blissfulness of the cozy hotel bed was, well, blissful.  As I lay ensconced in my prone position under the comforter I thought about the day ahead, and how I should create my Saturday story.  I thrive to create my Saturday stories on the fly, finding the best things usually come in unexpected doses. 

I’ve been making a habit of reading from Meditations From The Mat every morning, and today was no exception.  Today’s reading was about Satya - Commitment to truth.  The reading started with this quote from Almost Famous.  “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is the truth that we share with one another when we are being uncool.”  That, my people, is simply wonderful. 
The reading goes on to say “...moments when we come out of hiding and allow ourselves to simply be truthful with another human being.”   I simply adore the things in these pages and look forward to peeling back a piece of the onion each day; more than in these pages, in myself.

Goodies for coffee
Time for something to eat, and I knew just the thing(s).  A White Mac, first of the day, at the Beanery Cafe next to my hotel.  This is no ordinary cup of coffee, no sir.  The White Mac is a beautiful thing!  Then it was time to grab some Breze mit Kasse (pretzels with melted cheese).  They are so dang good, and hit the spot before I headed off to the Thermenwelt for my swim. 

Bread Heaven
The snow/rain mix was coming down for most of the day which meant I wasn’t going to venture out too far, but that’s quite okay with me; plenty to do, see, and experience right here in Weiden. 

Swimming laps in German pools is not like it is back in the states.  Of course not, that would be disappointing.  The hardest thing to get used to is the way the Germans pretty much ignore something I value called “lane integrity”.  They obviously draw a quite distinct and separate line between driving and swimming habits.  Superb and attentive drivers fall victim to zig-zagitis in the pool.  Anyway, it’s all good.  I finished my nearly hour long swim and decided to take myself up on a little of that truthfulness, unabashed and fresh, a new experience. 

Life, dive in!
I lived in Germany for several years and never visited one of the saunas they are so famous for.  Figured no better time than now, as there is one in the facility where I have been getting in some laps. Let’s put it this way, a towel is about the most bit of 'clothing' people wear in the saunas here, and that’s (optionally) for brief periods while going from section to section.  Personally, I'm not a creature of public nakedness, so it was a bit outside my comfort zone. After experiencing this, I can say it’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  First stop, a 70 degree Celsius (158F) sauna room infused with Eucalyptus!  It was amazing!  After sweating quite a bit I headed to the next room, a 100C room that wasn’t as invigorating.  Then I discovered an indoor/outdoor pool... I seriously think they put ice cubes in the water because it was super cold.  I can now say I have done a January polar bear swim naked in Germany as snow was falling.  It really took my breath away, literally.  For a minute there, as I was hyperventilating in the North Atlantic ocean temperature water (expecting to strike an iceberg any moment) I thought my lungs were going to up and quit on me.  So, that’s that, I’ve done the sauna thing.  It was okay, but at the end of it I don’t see the big draw. 

Otherwise known as "Sex Soundtrack"
Next on the agenda was finding a new iPhone case.  Mine went, as they say here, “kaput”   I remembered a store I used to go to all the time called Media Markt.  Great place for electronics, not much different than a Best Buy.  There is one not far from where I’m staying so I decided to head over and find a new case.  One of the coolest things in Media Markt is being able to listen to CD’s in the store at the listening stations. I used to spend hours checking out new stuff in the days before I was as much into downloading digital versions as I am now.  Find a CD that catches your interest, any CD, and simply take it to the counter and they will rip off the plastic for you and you can then check it out.  Pretty cool, perhaps Best Buy should take some tips from them.  I’ve always loved the compilation CD’s they put out in Germany, and Europe in general.  I found a handful of interesting titles to sample ~ Titles like Minimal House Classics, Public Chill, Late Night Sessions, Pure House, and a couple others.  In general I simply take note of tracks/artists I like and go back to my computer and find YouTube or MP3 versions.  Anyway, it brought back some good memories as I stood there listening to music and not having a worry in the world. 
Walkabout in Weiden Stadtmitte

Back to the hotel and I decided to set out on foot.  All bundled up for the rain and cold weather I head out and take in the city in the evening as things start to slow down.  Such a crispness in the air that went beyond the chilly weather.  I think it’s just that my senses have been fully invigorated today, and quite a bit overall lately.  The subtlety of life is enormously beautiful.  The best part yet, it keeps going.

From Rome, with love.
Coolest Mailbox ever!