Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Trying to fall in love again, despite yet another horrid bathroom

Today we got up early and got on the bus to Erfurt. This is another one of my favorite cities and one I have been to many times. When we arrived we did a city tour, which was nice, but I didn't see or learn anything new. After this was lunch. Yummy. Fried sheep cheese squares (like mozzarella sticks but so much better) served over risotto with salad and warm apple strudel for dessert.

After this we did a tour of the Augustinian monastery where Luther was.  I was super excited to go here because last year we saw part, but not all, and the part we saw was largely under renovation. We got the full tour and our guides was fantastic. One of the best I've ever had here. We sang a bit in the little chapel where Luther would have had morning devotions. Goosebumps. We got to see Luther's cell

Of course, my imagination went wild and I started to fantasize about what life we like back then. I know it was hard and not all fun, but it seems so awesome. 

We saw the wonderful church and the original altar from the 13th century that Luther would have performed masses at.

Are those not the most gorgeous windows EVER? I mean, I love my church's windows but these are the real deal. 

Also, look at the side window. Bottom. See the rose? Luther remembered this when he was making his Luther seal. How awesome is that? 

By this point, I had turned into a complete nerd and feeling all happy. THIS is how I should feel in Germany. THIS is why I love it here. I've been missing this desperately. Nice to have glimpses and little reminders on this challenging trip of why I love to come and the country I fell in love with in 2009. 

We walked back to the hotel (more on this in a moment) and then walked around town a bit. The layout of this city quickly came back to me and I was pleased with how well I could get myself, around without getting lost. I found a Rewe and went in. I walked out with this:

Super cheap, and the Schorle and Bitter Lemon are a liter each. Score!!!! I will not make any public confessions of how much I consumed this evening. 

It was about at this point in the evening when I received some most excellent news, which I cannot yet share. Stay tuned and I will share tomorrow, if all goes according to plan. :)

Ok, about this hotel. The Radisson. Tallest building here (or second tallest, I can't really remember.) it is nice enough, with free Internet, standard Europe beds (love) and all that. However.... The "bathroom"? Not so much. I have had bad bathroom experiences in Scandinavia but never Germany. Until this trip, when all the bathrooms are bad and seem to get worse with each one. Our bathroom with the windows at the last hotel. Actually looks kinda good now. You see, this bathroom doesn't have a door either. It doesn't have windows, but it may as well. The toilet and shower sit next to each other, and there is a door that can close either way. So you can have a door to the toilet or a door to the shower. Great, you think, you can manage a little privacy after all. Oh, dear reader, if only it were that easy. 

Here is the door closed on the toilet half 

Yes, that is CLEAR GLASS on most of the door and frosted glass on the center (yippee!). 

Here is the door closed the other way, onto the shower half. 

What in earth were they thinking? Maybe if you had the room to yourself it would work but even with a spouse or a good friend I think this would be strange. I'm rooming with someone I hardly know. We have worked up a system to have the room to ourselves when showering, and I have been making excellent use of the lobby bathroom. The other thing about this shower? 

Like every other barroom this I trip, it's a mystery how to get water to come out of the shower head. Every shower is different and every set of buttons is different. Super crazy. Then there is the small deal off what to do when done in the shower. Since there is no room for clothes or towels in that little shower with the door that doubles as the toilet-door, one must exit the shower to the tiny sink area (with no door, hence the necessary plan of taking turns in the room to shower). This isn't bad enough but here's what you get when you step out 

The tile just ends and the carpet begins. Don't get the carpet wet! And the full-length mirror in the hall? This not only allows anyone in the room to see what you are doing in the bathroom, but means you step out of the shower and there you are. Not exactly my ideal way of beginning a day. The hotels on this trip have been pretty bad, in terms of bathroom facilities. I'm hoping and praying that our hotel in Hamburg has a nice bathroom with a door. Even the hostels I've stayed at with camp-style multi-stall showers offered more privacy than these hotel rooms. Oh, and I forgot to mention that in the little shower room there is a little alcove in the wall with shampoo and lotion and q-tips, as well as a vase with flowers and a fancy Kleenex box, you know, in case you like to blow your nose in the shower with a soaking wet Kleenex. Way to go, Radisson hotel to think of our every need. 

Oh, and one last thing about this hotel. They love the world. They even left a note to tell us that they are trying to cut back on energy because they love the world. Never mind if you, the guest, loves the world or loves light, because here is what you get:

One little light over each bed, and one tiny light in the bathroom. (This is the only time the glass door comes in handy for allowing a little bit of light to spill into the shower so you don't mistake the lotion for the shampoo. This also allows a bit of light to spill into the toilet room so that you can locate the toilet paper. How kind of them to provide a glass door for this purpose.) Seriously, when the sun set, we were in the dark with those tiny bluish-energy-saving reading lamps. Ridiculous. 

But, as I am determined to make the most of this most peculiar trip, I found the silver lining(s).

1) My roommate pointed out that they were kind enough to give us two q-tips, so there is one for each of us. Also, those q-tips, unlike the previous hotel, has cotton on both ends. "Oh, good" she said "that way you can clean BOTH ears." Glad to know the Radisson hotel likes clean ears. And clean shoes, because we got complementary shoe polish and brushes and in the lobby toilet there is a free shoe-shine machine. Clean ears AND clean shoes? Wow, did we hit the jackpot. 

2) Scroll back up and look at my Schorle and Bitter Lemon and Ritter sport. All for less than three euro!

3) The lack of light has caused me to realize just how important light is, and made me reflect on all the epiphany light theme, etc.  so, there is that. 

Until tomorrow....

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