Monday, December 1, 2008

Today we got the camera fixed. John took it into the photohaus and explained that he thought he needed a battery. The clerk tried to shoot, couldn't, then removed the lens. After cleaning the lens contacts with a swipe of his hand, the camera was fine. German technology meets Japanese camera. We took the proverbial "bull by the horns" and attempted to buy a train pass. We went what we thought was the easiest route: we asked the Train Reservation Agent, who sent us to what we had been avoiding- the automated ticket machines. A young man who spoke limited English, was stationed by the machines in the office, and with a few punches, outlined our trip to Oldenberg (it was his home), printed off a day pass, and an additional information agenda for returning home. So with pass (good for up to 5 people for unlimited travel for a day) in hand, we asked him if he wanted to go with us....He said he wished he could. We headed for Gate 4. We had a brief wait of 5 minutes and then the train loaded. It was a double-decker, and we headed to the top. We traveled for about 30 minutes, with stops in Hude and Delmenhorst.

When we arrived in Oldenberg, we just followed the crowd to the main part of the station. Hans had said, "look for the spires, and then head in that direction." We didn't see any spires, but we'd picked up a map. When you read something in English, it makes sense, but when you read a map in a foreign tongue, it's really easy to get confused between Bahnhofsstraube and Bahnhofsplatz when you're working from memory. But John has an innate sense of direction. He took the lead, and we ended up in another Christmas Markt in Oldenburg City Center.

It was delightful. There were a few different displays from the Bremen Markt. I, however, was the one to discover another Ratskeller. "Rat" means "of the local people", so the Ratskeller was in the Rathaus, in the bottom of the City Hall's building.

We had lunch there. We looked at the menus and knew we were going to have "a little explore." We "discerned" what we were going to have, and the waiter brought us, along with apologies for not being sooner, an English menu. We commented on being glad of it, for what we had selected was not what we thought.

We wandered through the Oldenburg Market and noted similarities...the eierspunsch, the jewelry, the nutcrackers, the puppets, but they had some additional displays not found in the Bremen Markt: a nativity, pony rides and a display of whistles.

We visited the inside of their church, but was only allowed to see a small portion of it, as it was undergoing a major restoration project. A lady saw me snapping pictures of the spire, and said to me, "You speak English? You go inside church. It's....uh....vunderbah!!" She was right. It was gorgeous. But very modern looking compared to the others I've seen in Bremen.

We snapped as many photos as we could. John was humming the "dueling banjos" theme as we shot...he with the D50, and me with the Coolpix.
The D50 has a much better lens but the Coolpix fit in my pocket. So we have double the pictures, and double the pleasure of downloading them, reliving the day.

At the end of Oldenburg City Center was a building that had been turned into an advent calendar. It was called "the Schlosskalendar." The windows were numbered as an advent calendar, and because today is December 1st, Window #1 was open to reveal a picture.

We returned on the 1500 train, Gate 4, and enjoyed the ride home. I like riding trains. They're
much easier on the spine than taxis.

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