On our final day in Germany, our plan was to spend the afternoon at a fair in Stuttgart. That meant I had the morning free. My sore throat had kept me awake most of the night, so I very much contemplated staying in bed instead of going out birding. But I reminded myself that it was very likely my last ever opportunity to bird in Germany, so I got up. I spent about three hours in the woods near the base and saw three new species, bringing my total for Germany up to 41.
I felt worse and worse as the day went on. Every time I swallowed, I was in severe pain.
We caught a train near Böblingen and rode it for about half an hour. I thought it was interesting how there were no inside divisions between the cars.
We were at the fair for two or three hours. We grabbed pork on a stick for lunch. The rolls were covered with sunflower seeds and tasted like it. We ate while enjoying the stylings of a keyboard player. I don’t know what it was about the guy, but I thought he was fun. You can see him on the video.
We also had chocolate-covered strawberries on a stick, which were very tasty. We went on two rides—a Ferris wheel and a haunted house roller coaster that my wife fixated on for some reason. (The entirety of the roller coaster ride can be seen on the video.)
Scenes from the Ferris wheel.
The roller coaster.
We caught the train back to Böblingen. I was so groggy by this time that I fell half-asleep and we almost missed our stop. My daughter had been sitting several seats away and was walking off the train when she looked back and saw us sitting there paying no attention. She yelled, and we managed to stir ourselves and get off in time.
I took a short nap before we went to a local brauhaus for a light supper. I didn’t sleep much this night either, mostly because of my throat. This wasn’t the best way to prepare for jet lag.
One last thing about Germany. I’ve mentioned a couple things they could learn from us, like ice in their drinks and free bathrooms. But it’s not all one-sided. One thing we could learn from them is the way they merge in construction zones when traffic goes down to a single lane. Instead of everyone immediately pulling into one lane and getting angry at anyone who passed or trying to prevent it from happening, in Germany traffic stays in both lanes until the merge is actually reached and then cars from take turns zippering in. There are even signs explaining this. Literally translated, it says, “Please thread.”