Cobblestones and Rain

During my student days in Heidelberg, Germany, I recall taking public transportation to and from my student dormitory. This usually involved a combination of busses and trolleys. Walking was a big part of my student life there as well. Dressing for university classes also included wearing a stylish wardrobe including spiked high heels which I can no longer wear, even though they are back in style. These days, I enjoy my Birkenstock sandals in many colors. Young people generally ignore the advice of their parents and dress in the latest fashion even though often very impractical.

Allow me to tell the story about cobblestone pavements in Germany and the weather. It is not the norm to use asphalt pavement in Germany but rather cobblestones and cement. When workers needed to make underground repairs, they just picked up individual stones, repaired underground and simply replaced stones with some new sand around them. This was an efficient method. Anyone who has ever traveled to Europe knows that it is most uncomfortable, however, to walk on cobblestones unless wearing appropriate footwear. That is why I initially fell in love with my Birkenstock sandals which were insulated with cork and were user-friendly. My spiked high heels disappeared after my student days. I also no longer carry an umbrella, preferring hooded coats.

Did you lose something?

With a wardrobe of coiffed hair,
stylish pencil skirt, spiked high heels
too tall for the cobblestones, raincoat, and
umbrella, the young university

student hurried to lecture class.
One bus trip and two trolley changes
later, her journey was the same
most days – except on this one.

Today as she opened her umbrella
with the push of one button, the
winds whipped it inside out as she
attempted to hold it over her head.

As she balanced her leather book
bag under her arm, she tried
to fix the umbrella as she rushed
to catch the oncoming trolley.

Suddenly her foot was stuck in the
trolley tracks. Losing one shoe,
she attempted to hobble onward.
Observing her woes, the conductor

slowed the trolley to a stop while
the embarrassed student yanked the shoe
out and put it back on. She boarded red-faced
with her dripping umbrella inside-out and useless.

Daring not to look at the passengers,
and engrossed in thought, she
resolved to henceforth use the raincoat hood,
and leave the umbrella at home.





Photo credits this time go to Arno Bode, my friend in Germany.  The cobblestones and trolley photos bring back fond memories!

This entry was posted in Birkenstock sandals, cobblestones, Europe, public transportation, travel, Heidelberg, umbrella and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Cobblestones and Rain

  1. Arno Bode,cologne,Germany says:

    Liebe Mary Ann
    Dein Beitrag hat mich begeistert,aber auch ein klein wenig zum Schmunzeln angeregt.Dein Bericht über Deine Erfahrungen mit Natursteinen,sprich Pflastersteinen ist mitten aus dem Leben und hat heute noch volle Gültigkeit.Plastersteine sind nicht der “Cat Walk” für High Heels.In Deutschland,beziehungsweise an vielen Stellen in Europa läßt sich Naturstein als gestalterische Maßnahme bei historischen Gebäuden und Plätzen überzeugend verwenden.Inzwischen hat man auch hier den Asphalt und glattere Platten für Straßen und Gehwege entdeckt.Kopfsteinpflaster genügt nicht mehr heutigen Verkehrsansprüchen.Über gestalterische Verwendung kann man unterschiedliche Auffassungen haben.
    Woher resultiert Deine Begeisterung zu deutschem “way of life”? Die Begeisterung für deutsches
    Kulturgut und Lebensweise.Hast Du Dich schon vor Deiner Studienzeit mit Deutschland befasst,oder sind das Entwicklungen die sich erst später eingestellt haben?
    Liebe mary Ann, das Foto,das mich in Deinem Bericht am meisten begeistet ist Dein Foto als glückliche junge Mutter mit Deinen Kindern und Deinen strahlenden Augen.

    Meine Neugierde,was noch alles in Deinem Bilder und Erfahrungs-Schatzkasten ist riesengroß.

    Alle Guten Wünsche und alles Liebe,Dein Arno

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your thoughtful and enlightening comment. While it is difficult to walk on cobblestones, and I am glad they are still there, it rather saddens me to think that they have given way to asphalt and smooth cement. Nostalgic? My freshman year of college at the University of Colorado in Boulder is where my German journey commenced. Beginning classes in those days were 5 credit hour classes with 2 hours in the language lab daily. After 2 1/2 years there, I traveled to and studied at the University of Heidelberg.(Ruprecht-karls-Universität Heidelberg). and since that time and afterwards my teaching career of 48 years began. It is/was a fantastic journey. My family met your father in Colorado when he was there in the late 50s. What a grand life! Your comment is much appreciated.


  2. Arno Bode,cologne,Germany says:

    Liebe Mary Ann,wieder mal meine Bewunderung zu deiner authentischen Berichterstattung zu deinen Lebenserfahrungen.

    Ein wünderschönes Foto auf dem Du als glückliche Mutter mit deinen Kindern zu sehen bist.Bewundernswert!!!

    Liebe Grüße
    Dein Arno

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Arno. In that photo with my two young children, we were walking outside the village of Schweindorf near Neresheim where I taught during my first Fulbright year in Germany as a teacher. In this photo they were 3 and 6. Our son celebrated his 7th birthday Germany-style and was gifted his guinea pig, Mike, who returned to the US with us to live to be almost 9. Enjoy your weekend, Mary Ann


  3. Annika Perry says:

    Ah…cobblestones…I love them and detest them equally! So romantic, enthused with a bygone era, the clatter of transport upon them, but tricky to walk on. Grr….The variance in colours and sheen is a visual delight. A lovely post, Mary Ann and I thoroughly enjoyed your poem and its tale – how sweet to be rescued! Warmest wishes to you and have a peaceful Sunday. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Emily says:

    Great post! I love the story and the pictures. Really goes together well and I can visualize everything that happened. Thank you for sharing:)

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I think the cobblestones look much nicer, but I take your point about them being harder to walk on. It’s such a shame that no one has yet invented hover shoes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Visually pleasing as they may appear, believe me, it is hard on the body to walk on cobblestones. Birkenstock uses cork technology in shoes/sandals as do other manufacturers in Europe. I, therefore, can walk on cobblestones all day with Birkenstock sandals and have no aches and pains. As a young university student, however, it was stylish to wear high heels as uncomfortable as they were. I felt every step on the cobblestones.

      Liked by 1 person

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