Yesterday was certainly an interesting day! In addition to having a special, ladies-only (only the wives who are here with their husbands were invited) class to learn how to use the washing machine and dryer (the ladies-only instruction I have to chalk up to being a cultural thing; that being said, their machines are somewhat more complicated than our’s, but then again, our’s is a circa-1970 Lady Kenmore (the sexist laundry-thing isn’t new to me, but it is following me around the world, much to my chagrin, and I can’t believe I don’t have a picture of the Lady Kenmore on my computer)), I also had my first introduction to one of the local gyms. My gym experience was the clearest indication of something I’d sensed early on: German folk don’t mess around when it comes to cleanliness! The gym didn’t even smell like a gym! My friend (that I went to the gym with) had hoped to go to one of their group classes, although she had her cultural training reinforced with the general wisdom that Germans are also very serious about their punctuality: Don’t expect to show up at 9:35 for a 9:30 class; they won’t let you in! Otherwise, it was very much like most of my American gym experiences.
After all of that, and some more shopping (which is a whole other post, which may even happen today), we had a chance to go out and about. I will be the first to admit that engineer-speak is about as foreign to me as the German language, but I’m very happy to imagine all of Mike’s work (ok… the secret is out of the bag: Mike is involved in the writing of the blog about as intimately as I’ll ever work on an automobile) as taking place amidst shiny, very high-tech machinery, almost Mad Men-esque in its glamour. Check out his office:
I know, right? A little luster lost. I kid, of course (but so does he, about his office). The company Mike works for has a parent company, and “Big Papa” has a no-building expansion rule going on these days, but the Germans are very good at finding solutions, so they got a temporary building, aka 3 story double wide, for the Americans and voila, instant additional office space for the Germans!
I was able to squeeze in one other picture of Mike’s workplace before he became concerned that I may be mistaken for a corporate spy (another occupation with a certain j’en sais quoi about it):
Following all of this stimulating sightseeing, we adventured into Obernburg, near to Mike’s work. Its been around since the time of the Romans (circa 80-85; it didn’t get elevated to “town” status until the 1300s). We found buildings there dating back to the 1400s! The town itself is surrounded by a wall (dating back to the 1000s, with entry into the town made through the city gates! Yes, folks, this is like driving into a fairy tale in some ways!