Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Leben auf dem Felsen

[ Life on the rocks ]

After the wedding, I was expecting to just head back home with the family, but they were very excited to show me the heart of Saarbrücken, a place that I had yet to see. Since Adriane had to work, and Klara stayed behind with a friend, it was just me, Angelika, Stefan and Eva. A few turns later, and a brief discussion encompassing French food and wine to sushi, we were at the start of a very bustling pedestrian center.

It was prime time for the evening and my first image of full terraces and outdoor, umbrella covered cafés and restaurants made me excited. We simply walked up and down the streets, some places full of life, some areas closed since they are either day shops or for lunchtime, but the best way to describe the area for Americans is what outdoor malls like The Village or Partridge Creek in Michigan only try to emulate, and even then they just don’t capture the same charm. The city center is a huge outdoor mall, complete with fountains and a city square, salons and shops to cafés.

Saarbrücken, I came to learn, actaully has some misconceptions when it comes to the origin of its name around Germany. I was told that many Germans would easily claim that it is derived from the bridges [die Brücken] that cross the river Saar that grandly parts the city, however this isn't the case. Stefan told me that the later half of the name comes from the old word in German for the rocks, on which the first churches and buildings of the area were erected. The city is very hilly and, I would assume very rocky, so I think this is a very neat fact for me to know about my new hometown.

As for other basic facts about Saarbrücken, it is part of the Bundesland [ the rough equivelant to a state in the US] of Saarland, and this area is unique in accordance to Germany as well. Saarland has been an official land of France twice throughout history, and it shows in the culture of the area. The people here are said to have a French influenced accent and vocabulary, and from what I learned from Stefan and Angelika early on, good food, drink and company is a lifestyle - " We love to celebrate life here in Saarbrücken". I think I can get used to this!

After the city center, we cruised to the river Saar and along the river are many umbrellas and stands creating places to enjoy Bier und Wurst along the riverside. The wall on the other side of the river, part of the highway, is actually completely covered in Grafitti art, but it is quite unique and beautiful. In fact, I actually saw a new mural being created on the spot. I think it would be great to come back another day and really take a close look at what these designs show and say.

From these sites, Stefan recapped "Well, now you have seen a biergarten in Germany, how about a Beer? Let's have you able to say you went to two countries in one day - lets go to France."

If you just blinked and tilted you head to the side, it is too late, I was was already crossing borders!

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