Sitting here, listening to the soundtrack of my early formative years – vintage Van Halen, The Full Bug. Dave is going through his harmonica solo and I trying to find an entry into this blog post….hmm, well, mission accomplished.
So I figured, that I needed to share a few really good things with you. When I was waiting for my connecting train in Karlsruhe last weekend, I saw this bronze sculpture in underneath the tracks. It depicts an “old tymey” train compartment scene. There is a mother with her two children passing out snacks to them. A man who apparently tries his hardest not to be disturbed by the kids and the couple next to him. Then there is another man watching the landscape go by. I can very much relate to that, I find it fascinating to watch the landscape go by. Depending on where you gaze it is all a blur or you can make out scenes that are out of sight quickly. Finally, there is the couple may be they have made out before their compartment was occupied by the fellow travelers or may be they’d like to make out. Sure, may be there is no making out on their minds at all and they just stare ate each others eyes, that’s possible, too. Eitherway, I love how the artist captured the light-heartedness of young love…and I love riding trains in Europe, especially when they are on time and running properly.
I figured you might enjoy the art at display in German train stations. But, what did I actually do this last weekend at my parents house?
Friday, I arrived pretty late so I just took it easy, talked to my parents and played on my dad’s guitar. On Saturday, I had a brilliant idea. I called my friend Ralph and asked him to go prowling through bike stores like we used to back in the day when we couldn’t afford the really hot stuff. It turns out that although we both earn money, we still can’t afford the really hot stuff….but we still like to browse and dream about them.
A few years ago, Ralph switched careers and is running now a gourmet import and whole sale business. His basement is like Disneyland to me (if he only had exotic bikes in there as well). Him and his wife import different coffees , chocolates, pasta, salsas from primarily Italy and sell them to small stores. And these stores are what gave today’s blog entry its title – I know, it’s been a long time coming.
These little stores appear to have sprung up all over the place in Germany. They are rather expensive, but since their overall concept is to provide full sensual satisfaction, they have steady traffic all day. The picture below shows a cafe in Speyer, the old medieval town near Mannheim. The cafe is within walking distance to the Dome in the old town. These small cafe stores blend the best of good old-fashioned corner stores with the best of an Italian Caffe bar and add in knowledgeable, friendly customer service.Despite the tighter economic times in Germany, these places seem to flourish. They don’t offer a menu or much to eat, but you can always get a cafe, team or hit chocolate based beverage that’s freshly made from ingredients customers can buy at the store. In terms of engaging all the senses, there is on one hand the way the goods are displayed, but there is also as you can easily imagine the smell of fresh coffee, tea, chocolate and sometimes spices, too. Finally there are the sounds, that wooden floor boards make when walked upon. There is the quiet creaking, the rhythm of the music playing in the background and the chatter of people in the store talking to each, placing orders and other or choosing goods. When you enter a place like this there is an immediate transformation taking place, you unwind, you relax and anticipate subconsciously the reward that your are about to dispense to yourself for the next 20-60 minutes. And I think, that this is the reason why people pay 5 bucks for an extra dark Cocoa or a Latte Macchiato (means stained milk, Starbuck’s, eat your heart out).
Hm, I think this is it for today. Two entries in a single day, not bad.
Yours Markus \m/
P.S.: By the time I had finished this entry, my iPod had advanced way past Van Halen and I am now on Yello’s The Race.