advice, coronavirus, German culture, Germany, laws, news

Word of advice… don’t call a German cop a “fascist”…

It’s another cold, grey, drizzly weekend in Germany. Christmas will arrive next weekend. I suppose I should be more into the spirit of celebrating the season, but I just can’t seem to find my mojo. I don’t really like going out in yucky weather even when there isn’t a pandemic. The spiking COVID numbers aren’t inspiring me to get out there and mingle with the masses.

But not everyone feels the way I do. My German friend, Susanne, shared with me some news out of Reutlingen. It seems there was a riot/protest there last night, consisting of Nazi sympathizers and COVID deniers, most of whom weren’t masked and ignored the rules against congregating. Things got pretty out of hand in some places, so the Stuttgart police showed up to maintain order.

Germans are usually pretty tolerant of peaceful protests and strikes. They’re usually scheduled ahead of time and announced, so people can choose not to be involved… or, if they’re into it, they can participate or observe. I believe one has to get a permit to protest legally. I have no idea if this group followed the rules. The protests I’ve seen are usually pretty chill… afterwards, everybody breaks up and has a beer or something. But every once in awhile, people do get their hackles up. Such was the case last night.

This video was shared on Facebook by Matthias Kipfer in the public group, 99,99 % (Filder) vs. R.E.S.T.. I’m not sure where this particular incident involving the man screaming about fascists took place. It might not have happened in Reutlingen, although I can see by the photos and videos in the group, there was plenty of action there last night. I see the guy screaming about fascists was originally posted on Twitter by Stadtrand Aktion. As you can see, the cops weren’t amused. This guy was promptly arrested. I suspect he will get a nice big fine, as outlined in the trusty 2022 Bussgeldkatalog. Edited to add: Susanne thinks the fascist cop incident might have happened in Berlin, since the cop has a B on his uniform.

More than once, I have written about how insulting people is illegal in Germany. It’s especially true that insulting the cops is a big no no. All I can think is that this guy took complete leave of his senses, forgot to whom he was speaking, and lost total control of himself. I know how that feels. It happened to me a time or two when I was a teenager. This fellow looks to be well beyond the teen years.

I think it’s funny that there’s a catalog of fines people can consult to find out about laws and fines. I especially get a kick out of the section on the fines for insulting people in traffic. When they are translated into English, they are both hilarious and nonsensical. Below is the list of fines as of 2022.

Some of these insults seem to have lost a little in their translations.

In all seriousness, these protests were pretty bad. Apparently, some people were using children as human shields against the water cannons cops tried to use to disperse the agitated crowds. I was impressed by how the cops managed to keep their cool. German police officers don’t seem to be as violent as American police officers often are. But then, they probably pay better and offer more training.

My German still sucks, but I do find myself picking up words and understanding more, especially when my friend shares interesting German articles with me that include juicy tidbits about current events. If I have gained anything from the past seven years, besides a massive beer gut, it’s a rudimentary understanding of basic German. My Armenian is still better, though. That isn’t saying much.

The above photo basically translates to “People who think vaccinations change their DNA should consider it an opportunity.” Who says Germans aren’t sharp witted? Not I!

In other news… I hope the new blog design is welcomed by the few regular readers who have been keeping up with me during these COVID times. I decided to play around with it a few days ago, and when I went to change it back to the theme I was using, I discovered that the “wandering” theme was retired. So now I have a new but similar theme, and a new color scheme. I think it’s easier to read.

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Greece

Welcome to Athens… now get lost!

After our cab dropped us off and we dropped our bags, Bill and I wandered around Athens for a few hours.  Our hotel happened to be very close to the Acropolis.  Even better, it was close to the Acropolis metro station, which turned out to be a very lucky thing.  We started walking into the shopping district near our hotel and bumped into a few SeaDream folks who were no doubt killing time in Athens.

We stopped for lunch at a nice looking restaurant.  When we sat down, the outside area was practically deserted.  We had our pick of tables.  I ordered souvlaki again, because I can’t get enough of it as well as some water and Mythos beer.  We were waiting for our food and listening to cheesy Greek pop when suddenly an enormous swarm of people descended on the cafe like locusts.

It turned out another huge cruise ship was in town and these folks were part of a large tour group led there by a guide.  They all had little numbers stuck to their chests, identifying them as Costa cruisers.

I also noticed a small group sitting two tables away.  An older lady was with them; we’d seen her in the port.  I think she was a tour guide.  So obviously, I have a knack for picking restaurants where tour guides frequent.

When our food arrived, I noticed the vegetables that came with mine had mushrooms in it.  I passed the veggies to Bill and watched with amusement as the hardworking waitstaff handled the sudden crowd.

Bill just before the big crowd hit…

 

I would have expected to see a tampon machine or a condom dispenser in the restaurant’s bathroom… but this place was selling Flashdent, which is supposed to be used on your teeth.

After lunch, Bill and I wandered around some more and somehow got way off the beaten path.  It was hot outside and I needed a WC.  I looked around, but didn’t see the Acropolis anywhere.  Suddenly, I was very nervous.  I have a really good sense of direction and rarely get lost, but I was feeling a little lost in Athens on that first afternoon.

Rugs!

We were starting to get lost at this point…

We finally passed Syntagma and I spotted a metro station.  I suggested to Bill that we go inside and find the Acropolis station.  It turned out we were only two stops away, though we did have to change trains after the first stop.  I was very impressed by Athens’ metro.  It only has two lines, but it was very clean and easy to figure out, unlike the metros I’ve used in Milan and Paris.

Once we got off at the Acropolis station, we easily found the hotel and went up to our room, which was a comfortable standard room.  I immediately took a great shower.  Seriously, the best thing about our hotel room in Greece was the shower, which heated up quickly and had excellent water pressure.  I was in a much better mood after freshening up.

 

The bed.

 
 

Got to love a disinfected toilet.


Nice view? 

After resting for awhile, we ventured back out in the Athens sunshine and eventually stopped for dinner at an outdoor cafe, where there was a trio of musicians entertaining everyone with jazz.

Bill was looking for a good dinner, but I was craving orange juice…  This place had it freshly squeezed!  I bet that’s heavenly in the dead of summer.

Once the musicians moved on, a bunch of motorcyclists drove past with black balloons tied to their bikes.  We found out they were protesting something.

The waiter asked where we were from.  I said, “America.”  He gave me a funny look that said, “No kidding…”  We clarified for him, even though in a couple of months, we won’t be North Carolinians anymore.  I enjoyed a very nice fish dish…

I think it’s hard to go hungry in Athens.

Hadrian’s Arch…

I was wearing shorts, so I didn’t feel right about entering the holy place…

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