If I’m Lost in the Clouds, How Come I Found Some Other Sides to Germany?

When you travel to a foreign land, do you notice the differences, even the small ones?  The things that most people pay no mind to are things that often captivate me.  It’s frustrating to tell people about off the beat things I notice or the seemingly ordinary things going on that I’ll pay close attention to, while the majority blows it off worrying about other matters, not realizing that it’s the little things that often make a trip memorable.

Just A Police Car?

Small, but cool sounding sirens!

Small, but cool sounding sirens!

This is a German police car in Nuremberg, though I saw many that looked like this in other cities I visited.  Compared to the police cars in my city, these are very small.

A policeman in my city of Cheyenne, Wyoming saw this picture and told me he didn’t think he could deal with driving around in such a small car.

The sirens of these police cars sound like the ones in Paris to a degree, but they are more twangy.  I like those sirens, and wish my city’s police cars would get those.  Such sirens don’t take themselves so seriously or seem as melodramatic, but they still make their point.

If I Can Make It To The Border

So close to the Czech Republic, but so far away.

So close to the Czech Republic, but so far away.

I had some free time in Seiffen, Germany, famous for wooden Christmas toys and decorations which I wrote about at this BootsnAll.com article about getting into the Christmas spirit in Germany. I was told that the town was close to the Czech border, fancying my curiosity about how far I could get to that border before I had to turn back.

I got to the outskirts of town, and turned back, but not before seeing this sign with a red mark through Seiffen, meaning that you’re no longer in the town.  I’ve never seen that before in America to designate leaving a town.

As for Deutschiensiedel, this town is a little over a half mile away from Seiffen, and even closer to the Czech border.  There are times I wish I could do whatever I want to whenever I want to, but I had a bus to get back to.

A Radio Surprise

Going down the highway, listening to American and British tunes on German radio
Going down the highway, listening to American and British tunes on German radio

I took this picture from the back of the bus transporting me through Saxony and Thuringia.   This picture may not seem like such a big deal to most people, but for me, it’s one of my favorite because one of my treasured German occurrences happened to me around the time of this shot.

I was surfing various FM stations on my Grundig transistor radio I got for one of my birthdays (with earbuds so as not to distract others) when suddenly, one of my favorite songs came on the air that I’ve not heard in ages on any American radio station:  The tug-at-your-heartstrings theme song of the 1970s-80s television program The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams called Maybe, written and sung by Thom Pace.

What a perfect song to hear while pondering the beautiful fall foliage of Germany as I discuss later and that you can see off the highway!  As I surfed FM stations, I realized just how much Germans like listening to classic American and British pop rock.  I heard way more songs in English than I did in German, and songs that one doesn’t often get to hear on American stations anymore.

Wyoming Foliage Symbol

Wyoming bucking horse in German autumn foliage?

Wyoming bucking horse in German autumn foliage?

Riding through the hilly regions of Saxony and Thuringia in late October 2009, I noticed just how beautiful the autumn colors are, as stunning as I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.

I took this picture from the bus I was in because I thought it stood out as an interesting blotch among the green.

When I developed this picture, I was amazed to see that this blotch actually looks like a bucking horse, which is the symbol of my home state of Wyoming.

The Ruins Cry Out

Herzog Gardens "cry" to be restored.

Herzog Gardens “cry” to be restored.

A few blocks from one of Dresden’s most publicized and lavish-looking attractions called The Zwinger lies the Der Herzogin Garten (Herzog Gardens).  Can you believe that such a place was once home to some 4,300 species of plantlife in the 19th century, and helped make Dresden notable for horticulture?

But in February of 1945, Herzog Gardens and its orangerie building (along with much of the city), was destroyed by Allied bombing raids.  Now trees, shrubs, weeds, grass, and transients (via their garbage left) have overrun this once pristine area.  Dresden has been greatly rebuilt since the war, but some places, like this, still cry out as they remain fallen through the cracks, hoping for rejuvenation.  Listen closely if you ever act upon the gumption to visit such ruins.

I don’t think anyone, including me, takes the time and effort to organize a trip around the above moments.  But these kinds of moments result in between the “highlights” of a trip.  It’s fun to notice little things, even though others may think I’m in lost in my own world.  For this state of being helps me find aspects of a country that others just blow off, creating my own unique lasting memories.

Check out the best source for Germany Tourism Information.

Roy A. Barnes is a frequent contributor to BootsnAll.com and writes from southeastern Wyoming.  He attended the German National Tourist Office’s “The Making of Christmas” press trip in October 2009, in which he got to experience the following things discussed in the article, basically on his own free time.  He freely wrote and photographed these impressions.

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