During this time of year, there is almost always a chance of rain in this part of Germany. Of course on the day when I excepted my fate and was about to attack the weeds, the heavens opened. Seriously, there was a steady downpour all day. With weather like that, there was only one thing to do . . . go shopping.
Actually I took the train into Bremen to scope out the hotel and restaurant situation for the upcoming Expat Bloggers Meet-up. The German stayed home with the Dude and I enjoyed a morning to myself.
Even though it was raining when I got to the train station, I bounced around looking for cafes and spots to chat and then headed into the city. Things were pretty quite. Never daunted by rain, the flower market was full and many old ladies walked their tiny dogs (why do old ladies have such small dogs??) while buying roses. Yes, I even took a minute to smell the roses.
Unfortunately not everyone was happy on this not so sunny Saturday morning. The woman at the tourist office was down right surly.
Claire: I am organizing a meeting for about 20 English speakers in September. I need to locate hotels rooms.
Bored Tourist Worker: Yeah, here's a pamphlet. If you call this number they can help you out.
Claire: Um . . . Okay. How about brochures and things in English? I want to put together a little welcome package.
Bored Tourist Worker: We've got this. (She pulls out a prospect.)
Claire: Sure, I'll take some of those. And how about that brochure on the Rathaus. That looks good.
Bored Tourist Worker: Yeah, I don't have any of those in English.
Fed-up Claire raises an eyebrow.
Bored Tourist Worker: (Sighing) Well, I could order some.
Fed-up Claire: Yes, why don't you do that.
Seriously, Bremen is having financial problems and they really need to boost tourism to increase cash flow. If I were a tourist, I would never want to go to that place again!
I continued my walk around the city and found a lot of cute restaurants. I got a large latte to go from Starbucks and headed towards the riverfront. It was difficult juggling my umbrella, purse, guide book and coffee, but I did not care. On the riverfront I spotted them . . . Schalke fans. Lots of them. Drunk. And singing stupid songs. CRAP! It was at that moment that I remembered that Werder Bremen's first home game was that day and that they were playing Schalke.
Around 12:45 I headed back to the train station. I had the information I needed and I, as well as my brand new brown loafers, had had enough of the rain. My mouth hung open as I looked across the street at the train station. There were dozens of police cars lined up and many more cops. Some of them had microphones in their ear and some had riot gear on. As I approached the doors, a swarm of Schalke fans came out. Police lined both sides of the path as if trying to funnel the fans towards the correct street car. I stood to the side, but it did not matter. A drunk Schalke fan spilled his beer in front of me and splashed my new shoes.
Normally I stop for another coffee before getting on the train, but I was so disgusted I went directly to my platform. As I sat down, I was exhausted but overall happy. I also learned a valuable lesson. Check the soccer schedule before heading into town.
PS If I offended any Schalke fans with this post . . . too bad. You spilled beer on my shoes.