No Christmas in Germany (14 Décembre)

December 14, 2017
Colmar, France

In the morning Dawn had a headache and I went out looking for aspirin and bottled water or coffee, but found none (it was before 8 and only the Tabacs were open, all they had were magazines and lighters). Rain on the cusp of snow and only kids out going to school, clumping around the canals. We’d gone out for lunch but split a bottle of wine and then the rest of the afternoon just walked through the markets, got some cheese and baguette, more wine for the apartment later. One of the cheeses was orange and soft inside, but when I bit into it it made me gag and I had to put it away. Dawn and I watched one of the X-Men films in bed, then she asked if I remembered seeing the first one, but I couldn’t. We’ve been together long enough there’s lots I don’t remember now, I said. The neighbors had the TV going and it sounded like it was right by our bed: the muffled sound of French dialogue, our neighbors narrating over it. After a while we got used to it.

It seems the gendarme are making a show of force with their rifles to help people feel safe in the Christmas markets here. They all look stern but terribly young and hard to get along with. Dawn joked, we can pretend we’re German trying to speak French and not have to let on we’re American. The town is not far from the German border, the Rhine river, and with the half-timbered homes it looks German, even some of the street names say Weg, for “way.”

The drive took a few hours and we had no problems getting here. When we crossed over the Rhine and the freeway signs changed to French there was a combination of filtered sun and rain/snow squalls coming over the mountains to the west, farmlands, roundabouts, small towns.

I told Dawn about the time I’d gone to Liverpool to see Loren play at an electronic music festival but afterwards he had other plans or something (was trying to get laid) and I spent the night in my apartment wondering what I was doing there, and where I was. And we felt a bit like that last night in bed, listening to the French TV next door.

Categories: Memoir, travel

Tags: , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. As advertised (faux-German French).
    “We’ve been together long enough there’s lots I don’t remember now, I said.” I can relate there, glad it’s not just me. Deb and I have been married 27 years today. Together for 30 this past fall.
    Something very green in those canals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve only seen one X-Men flick — Logan. Looks like we won’t have to see any more of the X-Men flicks, though, since it feels like this one (no spoilers) just about wrapped it all up. Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I heard that one is real violent and stark-like. I like the other ones a lot. We’re going to watch another one tonight and open a bottle of Blanq du Blanq. I think I spelled it wrong but you get the ideas. Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.


  3. Hard to believe we’re to live with rifles in the Christmas markets.
    I shouldn’t admit to it, but I have a fear of French films, just one notch below large hairy spiders. “Tout le dialogue interminable, tout le temps” OK, Amélie, La Femme Nikita, etc sure there’s good stuff, but these are viewers who gave the Legion of Honor to Jerry Lewis, and to have a second layer of dialog over top of it, sounds like purgatory.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If I split a bottle of wine with you for lunch you’d be walking the markets alone because I’d be passed out cold. I could never adapt to a European lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My wife and I had that experience once in Ireland, that “what are we doing here” thing. We were so ready to go home that I woke her up in shock in the middle of the night when I realized we’d gotten our days mixed up and weren’t flying out in the morning after all, but the next morning. The look on her face was the same as the feeling in my head when I told her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, we had that “what are we doing here” thought the first night but then by the next day, it was like “we could stay here forever.” Funny, right…? You can’t stay anywhere forever though, and nor should you. Kind of defeats the idea of travel, the benefit of it? We’re going back to Colmar today, drove through the Black Forest yesterday to close the loop from the Stuttgart area. Gosh, these German drivers are testy! Sad to think I really have lost my east coast driving edge, I’m truly “pacific Northwest” now, and there’s a certain passivity in the pacific part. Or a certain middle age. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the photo. Like a tentative smile holding back tears.


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