Jesus, it is hard to do the lie-in thing when all around you sound like they’re fleeing the two-minute warning already. And this is my only day for it!
I gave in and was in the shower before eight. Bah.
And when I got out of the shower, I looked in the mirror. Which was hard not to do because it is the full length of the (very short) room. And l was shocked to see that last night had been so awesome that I had woken up beautiful. With no makeup on or anything! There were alabaster and electrum lights on my skin, my complexion was radiant…
It has since worn off, of course, but it just goes to show, just about anything can bring on a miracle if you love it hard enough. (Or, maybe I just do look like that when I get out the shower, only it’s too piggin’ cold to be prancing about in front of a mirror. But I doubt it.)
There was a Proper beautiful woman at brekkie, however – long white hair, high cheekbones, god it would rock to look like her at her age! I gave her a smile in honour of her superior looks; she clocked the demolition job I’d done on the free continental nosh and replied with a smirk that smacked greatly of moral superiority. Oh, sod off, and take your designer frock with you. Though I hope your single grapefruit segment leaps onto it first.
Thus was normal programming resumed.
And how! Today, it was peeing it down. So I took the tram into town, flushed with triumph from my success yesterday, and was whisked straight past my stop and it took me an hour to get back to the city centre. Dammit! Right, I had hoped to find a shop selling a cheap swimsuit, so I could have a crack at the local mineral baths – three hours of sitting around in a steaming great swimming pool with my head in the rain sounded ideal. On the other hand, look what happened last time I tried to go to a spa abroad. So maybe that was for the best that it didn’t happen. Instead, let’s try the Natural History museum; apparently, they have a splendid display on evolution, and I get money off it without having to frogmarch someone else with me.
Couldn’t find that, either. Nope. Well, come to think of it, everything was probably labelled in German anyway, and those grapes? Almost certainly sour. So I headed back to town, after some more pissing about in the rain, and at the tram stop I was hit up for (I assume) ciggies by a bunch of kids (I assume) dogging school. Oh eek, they will chase me down the road with menaces for being Forrin!
True to form for round here, they were polite and smiley. I’m beginning to be a bit scared by Stuttgart.
But back in town I became aware that the morning was ticking on and I had so far failed to do everything (though still being alive was a plus). The hell? Did we not celebrate the deities of wisdom, knowledge and Not Getting Lost this morning, it being a Wednesday and all? Oh we didn’t, oops.
Right, screw it. To the Art Museum, and let’s hope they have something several centuries old, for no matter how I try, I just cannot Get modern art.
Well, if they did, I couldn’t find it. I did, however, find a bunch of cakes decomposing under big plastic cloches, a bunch of vast white canvasses with cracks in, and ‘the largest collection of Otto Dix in Europe’ (who?) Dammit, I know I’m a Philistine, with probably-unhealthy ideas about Suffering For One’s Art, but none of this stuff seemed to take much… effort. Any effort at all, even. Except for Otto Dix, who gets major props for being the only exhibiter (apart from the local kids) who actually, like, sat down and Painted anything.
I quite liked his stuff, actually – it’s a lot like how mine turns out. When I turn some out. Dammit, I need a Muse! A big, lean, blond one with a riding crop; I’d be famous and bruised in no time. Also, he could make sure I eat. Although I have yet to work out what he’d live off. I’m not really certain what I’m gonna live off right now!
The best thing about the art museum was the view from the top, over the old city. Heh.
Right, I know. Since I know sod-all about Art, I’m gonna sit in the museum and have a cocktail, in a terribly snobby manner out of all proportion to my outfit (why yes, this morning’s encounter did rankle somewhat out of all proportion too), and just act like I do. I think it’s de rigeur. Besides, nobody back home lets you drink cocktails in the same building as designer mouldy cake, probably in case the cake gets sticky fingerprints on.
NINE QUID for a cocktail? Yes, this is definitely the place for rich people who know nothing about art to pose about in! Being a mere prole who knows nothing about art, however, I shall cut down the poncing to a cheap glass of red.
A hundred millilitres of red, turns out – much less cheap than I assumed! Wow, that could technically make it through customs, if I put it in a zip-lock! (Or, into an Exhibition!)
Or, it coulda done if the barman hadn’t looked at me hard and then given me a double-measure, gratis. You know, this is becoming the norm for this trip (and I’m still haemorrhaging money). Do I look half-starved or something?
Right, you know what, I’m feeling lucky. Well, I’m not; but it’s peeing down and I want to do something Indoors. Back to the Natural History Museum!
And this time, a rainy walk across a very pretty park later, I found it! Woo!
Everything was labelled in German; although on the plus side, there was a Lot of labelling, with diagrams of cells and everything. I have no idea how much detail it went into, but compare and contrast to the Kelvingrove, which definitely tends towards the ‘less is more’. Or possibly, the, ‘don’t tell the punters any Facts, it scares them off’. Ah, my country, right or wrong. And usually the latter.
And just as I was being all snobby, I got the fright of my life when mooching about the back of the exhibition and suddenly all these shutters came whining down over the windows and emergency exit. Hmm. Can I smell burning? Yes. RUN!
Well, I never found out what that was about, but apparently the building was not on fire. Or it was, and nobody got out but me. I decided I’d walk back to town, my luck with everything being what it is today, and it was a very awesome walk indeed, cos you can go the whole way through the park, alongside little landscaped streams and ponds and massive weeping willows, rosegardens and adventure playgrounds and a constant stream of wobbly cyclists with their hands anywhere but the handlebars. And dozens of work crews; I was terribly impressed by the amount of effort this place takes to maintain, just for people to take joy in it.
And every single young couple in the city, jogging, despite the rain. I wonder, do they take up jogging first, or what?
Hmm, that makes it sound like it was a terrible walk, full of more sour grapes, but it wasn’t. This is what travel is to me – being free to be myself and not worry what anyone else makes of it, even just for an hour’s stroll, somewhere nobody knows where I am. And even I don’t know exactly where I am, or what’s gonna be around the next corner, and I will probably never come this way again. So it was very precious; but looking at cakes decomposing wasn’t, go figure.
And here, is a big sign saying BIERGARTEN, right in a public park, too, but I think it is Off Season for it is shut (like everywhere else with a big sign, saying, BIERGARTEN). But here, is the Planetarium! Which is not open for another hour.
And here, right across from the Planetarium, is an honest to god Den Of Iniquity. Lo, a Bar! A proper Bar, selling me a big stein of beer and it has a smoking room, with a bunch of smiling old men playing cards for money in it. Woo! True, it looks more clean-cut than any bar in Glasgow (that I could afford to drink in), but still! It plays rock music and everything! Oh, it plays Stuttgart FM. Well, it kicks the shit out of Clyde FM.
I… wrote my postcards in there. Luddite.
Perhaps, with hindsight, it was not good to chug a stein of beer before going to sit in a dark room for 75 minutes with No Toilet Breaks. However, it’s been a while since I was in a Planetarium, I had forgotten the drill.
I had also forgotten that, guess what, everything’s gonna be in German!
Fortunately, I am a dyed-in-the-wool snob who already knows everything about basic astronomy, which meant I could follow the spiel. Go figure. I even think some of it stayed in my brain. So alas, I learned nothing new about the stars, but I can confirm that Castor, Pollux, Aldebaran and Sirius are all the same in German, and the Great Bear is called Die Vagen. Possibly, der Vagen, or das Vagen. Nope, it’s gone.
I was impressed by the number of Youths who had come in, apparently of their own free will, to learn about the night sky. Come to think of it, rather a lot had gone into the art museum of their own free will too. What the hell is with this city? I mean, I probably woulda, at that age, if we’d had anything like it, but I woulda had the grace to be embarrassed about it. This shower were openly learning stuff, and seemed to be enjoying it.
When we left, it was peeing down with a vengeance. There was much screaming and running about. I marched back to the den of iniquity, nursed a stein until the sun came out and I judged rush-hour safely over (I was wrong) and went forth with my last remaining cash to find dinner. At LIDL. Because for some reason, two croissants and a bottle of bubbly (which cost less than the croissants) was all I could afford.
And I spent my last evening in this city, which I will probably never return to because I would have to remortgage… in my hotel room with the bubbly, reading and singing along to Stuttgart FM and hoping like hell these walls were thick. Screw it, the rain was back on, I have to be up and out early tomorrow and I am not spending the day travelling in wet denim!
And it is a good thing I enjoyed that holiday, for methinks it will be my last one for quite a while!