Right now I am sitting in a coffee shop. Actually it’s a bakery. Those are the equivalent of coffee shops in the states. This is one of two days I will spend in Stralsund by myself.
My mom is going to the Hansedome today. She will be watching the competition. She also has a couple of lessons with her coach. So I wondered around the city taking pictures (which I will post later) and crossed the Baltic to a nearby island. My feet are sore, but I prefer this to the typical tourist thing. I feel like I get a better feel for the place if I try to inconspicuously wander (without seeming too creepy).
Stralsund is used to tourists in the same way my town is used to tourists. It is for local tourism. All the signs in the city pointing out various historical points of interest are in German. The feel of the town also reminds me of Franklin. They have been careful here to build to certain standards so that the newer buildings have the same basic look as the old city. There have also been more opportunities for confusing conversations. Not as many people here speak English, or if they do, they are less inclined to speak it. I am fine with that.
This morning, I saw four men in orange walking toward me. They were going to work. I saw later that the backs of their jackets said, “Siemens.” I thought I would ask before I started photographing them. So I shouted, “Bitte! Kann Ich Ihre Photo machen?” They kind of looked at each other and mumbled some things. So I asked again, and as they walked past me, one grizzled looking man said, “Fur zu?” Which I took meant something like, “What for?” I replied to their backs, “Um…Bild?” Which means, “Picture,” probably “painting,” but I meant to say, “Kuntz” or “art.” At that point, they were 10 yards away. So I guess the answer to my question was, “No.” Next time I’m not going to ask. I prefer candid shots anyway.
My mom and I walked around a little last night. She was particularly taking with St. Mary’s Church. We only viewed the outside. Today I am going to see if it is open. The tourist info says I should be able to get in until 4. After that, I am going to crash in the room and nap for a bit. I have the Team USA dinner tonight, starting at 7. There will be unlimited beer.