Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Travel Chippings

Red Baron likes to travel. During my professional life I presented papers at conferences and worked on committees in many places. I hated to check in for an event at the last minute and rather preferred to arrive a day earlier. This gave me time to explore the surroundings of my place of work. I was reminded of my traveling experience by one remark and one photo in yesterday's Badische Zeitung.

During the Whitsun weekend the Schwarzwaldverein (Black Forest Society) celebrated its 150th anniversary in Freiburg. Baden-Württemberg's Ministerpräsident (governor) Winfried Kretschmann was not only the keynote speaker, but he is a well-known hiking guide too. Referring to the blaze of the Schwarzwaldverein he claimed that our chancellor must be its most prominent supporter whenever she forms the famous rhombus with her hands.

That was just a joke but another of Kretschmann's phrases alerted me: Nur wo du zu Fuß warst, bist du auch wirklich gewesen (Only where you were walking, you have really been). Exploring by walking around was my way of getting the feeling for a place. I still remember a day in New York when I walked, mostly along Broadway, from the tip of Manhattan to Central Park.

As a frequent traveler I kept and still keep a critical eye on myself and my fellow countrymen. It is not easy to behave properly in a foreign country but it is easy to recognize Germans from a distance. In summer most of them wear sandals and white socks.

Remember my blog about the Franciscans that used to walk barefoot (Barfüßermönche) in the past? I was shocked finding them wearing sandals although with black socks: Their prior had told them so that they won't catch cold. Red Baron wears sandals from the end of May to the middle of October ... barefooted.

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