Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Taking My Ease in Lennep

My goal for Monday was to just relax. I had a late breakfast and went up to my room to write postcards to almost everyone. When I left my room at noon, I expected to check out some shops and then grab a bite to eat. A stroll around town and I found that I was encountering something I hadn´t yet in the larger cities I had been in -- every shop was closed between noon and 3PM. So I made my way to a place on the market place called "Bei Josef".

Instead of finding food, I found a group of men gathered around one table talking it up. I took a seat at this table and they asked who I was. When I asked them to speak a little more slowly, they assumed I was from Holland. I introduced myself and ordered a Schlösser Alt. I haven´t had a Schlösser Alt in 20 years when I was in Hameln and it was as good as I remember.
Pretty soon another older man came in and asked who I was. When I introduced myself as from California, he switched to English and started to tell me about his trip to the US -- Los Angeles, Utah, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (he saw Sigfried and Roy) and San Francisco. He really, really wanted to practice his English and I figured it would give me a chance to get in some local good graces.

And how. Pretty soon we reintroduced ourselves. Paul then introduced me to his best friend Hans-Conrad and I met Karola, the red-faced, red-haired, stout barmaid and her husband Uwe. It was Hans-Conrad´s birthday and he was buying rounds for everyone. That included me after a bit. Then Josef himself came in and I was introduced again. Luckily, Josef was hip on the idea that I wanted to practice *my* German and was willing to speak only German to me. Another round on Hans-Conrad and a further round on Josef and it was a good way to spend an windy Fall afternoon. This is what I had hoped to find at least a little of while I was here.

As Paul and Hans-Conrad packed up in a taxi, I made my way to some shops. In the bookstore, I found several books on the town of Lennep and the area including one written for young teens (just a little above my readign abiliy in German so it will be good practice). Then I dropped into what I thought was a toy store, but it turned out to be a second hand shop. Better still, they had a pair of jeans in my size.

Cheap jeans have been a small but important goal since I arrived in Germany. I didn´t bring any as I figured they would take too long to dry and weigh to much traveling. However, everyone in Germany is wearing jeans and I have been feelign like a sore thumb. Particularly in my black slacks which seems to draw assumptions that I am orthodox Jewish including at least one sing-song cat-call of "Juden! Juden" by some stupid little boys. Anyway, they are classic overdone European style jeans for a mere 2,50€! So I´ll see how many stares I draw wearing them in Köln.

How could it be better? Discovering the local Aldi for cheap ready to eat meals (did I mention these are like a German Trader Joe´s) and finding a Döner place open on Sunday. I´ll do a whole post about Döner-Kabap sometime.

7 comments:

  1. Scott, your trip just sounds better and better... what a great day! I can't wait to hear all of the stories in person next year. :)

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  2. Sounds like you have worked out the kinks from Italy... Rome is a bit harsh as a transition from the states. Sorry you missed Rottenberg on this visit, but it is off the beaten path for sure. Down near Bavaria, somewhere outside of Salzburg, near Sound of Music territory are the Heilbrun Water Works, this is crazy, man.

    Want a great place for R & R? Try the Chimsee Yacht club (near one of Ludwig's castles, in the same valley) if you are anywhere near those parts.

    Abby

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  3. My wife and I are traveling to Schwäbisch Hall this week. Thanks for the review.

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  4. Hi,
    I grew up in Remscheid-Lennep, live in Trinidad at the moment, lived in the U.S.A., too, also know California. Why did you go to Lennep? I love it because it's my hometown, you've got everything you need and you can do everything on foot, big cities like Cologne, Wuppertal or Düsseldorf close by but surrounded by a lovely countryside. When my travelling years are over, I will definitely go back although we have a house somewhere else Germany. Did you notice that Lennep is the birth town of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, the inventor ot the X-rays?

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  5. Hi Sunshine! It's great to hear from someone from Lennep.

    I discovered Lennep by accident. I wanted to stay near Colonge and wound up at a Rasthof just north of Colonge. In my room, I found a directory of hotels and businesses in Lennep and I decided to look around. I liked it so much that I stayed the week and drove into Colonge and other towns in the area.

    It is exactly as you say, it's close to larger cities, but surrounded by countryside.

    While I was in lennep, I learned that it was the birth town of Röntgen, but the museum devoted to him was closed for renovations. That5 just means I will have to go back someday.

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  6. Hi,
    thanks for answering my comment. If you ever go again, you must visit the H2O where you can have fun trying several indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, or FKK! Have you been to the shopping area in Remscheid, Alleestraße and Allee-Center? I'm going to Germany on Sunday and will also go to Lennep, unfortunately on the sad occasion of emptying my parents' apartment. My mother died last year and my father just had his second leg amputated so he will have to spend the rest of his life in a home nearby. So, if you ever go again, contact me, so I can give you some more tips on what to do and what to see in that area. mkberger@web.de

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  7. Loved your blog on Lennep! My great grandparents were from Lennep. They emigrated to the States. My great grandmother Emma Handwerker-Wilmes was always homesick for Lennep.
    It is not easy to find information about Lennep so I really enjoyed your thoughts.
    Thank you.

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